Category Archives: JCPOA

Trump Redux? Can Biden and Europe Push Iran Toward the North Korean Nuclear Model?

Shuwaikh-school1 Image

KuwaitCox2 Hiking

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal claimed “confidential” IAEA report says that Iran has started producing Uranium metal. The material can be used to form the core of nuclear weapons. Report said that Iran claimed it is producing it for research purposes…

Two days earlier, Ali Khamenei drew what seemed like a line in the sand. “Americans and Europeans have no right to set any conditions as they violated their JCPOA commitments” Iran’s Leader said the country will only retrace its nuclear countermeasures once the United States lifts its sanctions.

Before that, many reports that Biden is being advised to unilaterally remove “some” financial sanctions on Iran. Possibly indirect ones through European allies. Then what? Will the Ayatollah bite? His statements seem to indicate that he will not. And if they refused an old Trump offer, as Zarif says, why should they accept a new Trump offer?

So, some Iranian officials think Biden is being tempted by his advisers to take advantage of the effects (meaning successes?) of the Trump pressures. Effectively continuing the failed policy of “Maximum Pressure”, as he waits for the Iranians to buckle. They don’t seem ready to buckle yet. So how is this different from the Trump approach? Which is a punishment by starvation approach that was encouraged by three of Trump’s despotic Persian Gulf pals.

So, we may have the usual schoolyard standoff: Who hit or cussed the other first? Which one preceded (that one is obvious)?

Israeli PM Netanyahu has been predicting since the 1990s that Iran is a few weeks away from making a nuclear bomb. He hasn’t been saying so lately, which in itself is an ominous silence. Some European signatories, who have spent four years urging Trump to go back to the nuclear deal, now prefer pushing Biden to adopt Trump’s policy. Predictably, the Trump policy as urged on my some Arab potentates and Netanyahu has brought Iran closer to a bomb capability than ever before. If the Iranians see that the Western powers are united in reneging on the JCPOA, they will likely have two options:

(1) buckle down to the same pressures that Trump applied, or (2) be tempted to go for the next viable alternative. The fear now is, or should be, that Biden is pushing them toward an alternative. The Iranians, if the hardliners win the presidency next summer, may contemplate the extremist and dangerous North Korean path. The latter may be used as a casus belli, pushing Biden (and the Israelis) to war. So, back to a more destructive war than the regional wars that everybody claims they want to avoid. 

That would be terrible for the Persian Gulf region and the wider Middle East region.

 

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

A New American-Iranian Strategic Algebra Equation? All Options Are Not On The Table………

Shuwaikh-school1 Me1 (2)Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2 Hiking

“Iran’s supreme leader said Monday there would be neither war nor negotiations with the United States, and that the country’s problems were the result of government mismanagement more than renewed sanctions. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s comments add to the pressure on President Hassan Rouhani following a collapse in the currency and widespread protests over high prices and corruption. They also appeared to rule out any hope of fresh talks with Washington, which US President Donald Trump had proposed after walking out of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal and reimposing sanctions. “Beside sanctions, they are talking about war and negotiations… let me say a few words to the people: THERE WILL BE NO WAR, NOR WILL WE NEGOTIATE WITH THE U.S.,” Khamenei said via his official Twitter account in English…….”

“Khamenei.ir
@khamenei_ir
Aug 13
Recently, U.S. officials have been talking blatantly about us. Beside sanctions, they are talking about war and negotiations. In this regard, let me say a few words to the people: THERE WILL BE NO WAR, NOR WILL WE NEGOTIATE WITH THE U.S….”

So, then: All Options Are Not On the Table, the Iranians are saying…..

A favorite American Middle East policy statement over the past decade or two has been the obvious threat that: “all options are on the table.

Meaning: you, an uncooperative foreign (always Middle Eastern) nation, do what we say OR we have other options to use against you. You agree with us or you get: war, regime change, missiles. That has been the jingoistic policy under George W Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump.

Now Trump has in effect declared and is waging an economic war of choice against a country that has never attacked the United States. Mainly at the behest of a couple of other influential foreign regimes and the domestic lobbyists of these foreign regimes (rich tail wagging greedy dog).

Yet Ali Khemenai now claims to have unilaterally changed the American policy toward his country, he has unilaterally taken the big “STICK” out of the equation, just as the Trump administration has unilaterally taken the international “CARROT” out of the Nuclear Deal equation by re-imposing and tightening an economic blockade of Iran.

Thus Khamenei has resorted to, nay adopted, another American foreign policy jargon: exceptionalism. Iranian foreign policy exceptionalism now facing American foreign policy exceptionalism.

No fuzzy Math there. You reduce one variable on one side of an algebraic equation, the other side must reduce a variable from the other side of the equation. To maintain the mathematical equilibrium and accuracy.


So: ALL OPTIONS ARE NOT ON THE TABLE
Or so the Iranians think, and hope……

Or so the Arab oil potentates and absolute princes (and the Likudniks) fear…….

One of them can be wrong….

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Nuclear Question: How to Spell Filibuster in the Korean of Pyongyang…….

Shuwaikh-school1 Me1 (2)Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2 Hiking

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted today (Sunday): Landed in Finland for Helsinki 2018 where POTUS & Prez Putin are set to discuss US/Russian relations. POTUS meeting is in the interest of US national security. It’s critical that the leaders of the US & Russia engage on important matters between our two countries…. On July 16, working level meetings between US and DPRK officials are scheduled to begin to coordinate next steps, including the transfer of American service members’ remains already collected in the DPRK……

My two cents on this? How do you say FILIBUSTER in the Korean nuclear dialect of Pyongyang?
I hope I am wrong on this but I doubted it very much….

 

Korean Nuclear Diplomacy: Flim Flam La La Land Approach and Roosting JCPOA Chickens……
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Korean Nuclear Diplomacy: Flim Flam La La Land Approach and Roosting JCPOA Chickens……

Shuwaikh-school1 Me1 (2)Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2 Hiking

North Korea: we reject gangster-like unilateral denuclearization demands..

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: talks on denuclearization of North Korea going well…..

Donald Trump (tweeting): I have confidence that Kim Jong Un will honor the contract we signed, and even more importantly, our “handshake”. We “agreed” to the denuclearization of North Korea. China, on the other hand, may be exerting negative pressure on a deal….

Yours Truly: but you did not honor the previous Nuclear Deal that the USA and Europe and the UN Security Council agreed to with Iran. You reneged on an international agreement signed on by the UN and Europe (and the USA). Why should Kim Jong Un trust you now? You will not be able to separate the two cases. Iran Deal chickens coming home to roost, Donald.

Yours Truly: this is “Flim Flam La La Land Nuclear Diplomacy

Cheers

M. Haider Ghuloum

Iran Nuclear Deal: Is Europe Going Back to its Historic ‘Plan B’ of Appeasing a Bully?……..

Shuwaikh-school1 Me1 (2)Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2 Hiking text

“It looks as though Britain, France, and Germany have decided to appease President Donald Trump to discourage him from withdrawing the United States from the July 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA). “After meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May… and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said they had agreed to set up a working group of experts on fixing flaws in the landmark 2015 agreement that President Trump has warned he will walk away from this spring unless adjustments are made to his liking.” (PBS)….. “France’s foreign minister said on Sunday he would visit Iran on March 5 to discuss its ballistic missile program and the nuclear deal agreed with world powers in 2015.” (Reuters)…. “Germany is lobbying among European allies to agree new sanctions against Iran …………”

So, there are some early signs of fissure. Weak signs so far, but ominous. Are the Europeans, sans Russia, going back on their own commitment to the nuclear deal (JCPOA)? Are they going to unwittingly nickle and dime it to death by chipping away at its credibility? Are they going to yield, gradually, to the new loud-mouth bully in the White House?
Are they falling back on their perennial Plan B  when facing pressure from bullies? Are they going back to their own old pattern of appeasement of bullies who threaten war?

Appeasement eventually leads to what it was hoped to prevent, just as it did in Europe decades ago. The war the Europeans have tried to avoid.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

After JCPOA and UNESCO: Will the USA and Israel Join the Arab League?…….

Shuwaikh-school1 Me1 (2)Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2 Hiking

President Donald Trump has taken the USA out of a whole bunch of international institutions, agreements, and deals. From the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) to the Paris Climate Accord, to the United Nation’s UNESCO organization (Mr. Trump and Israel both withdrew this week).

He is on the verge of breaking and violating the JCPOA (the international community’s nuclear deal with Iran). He is also threatening the NAFTA deal with Canada and Mexico. Early in his term he threatened US ties with NATO, the bedrock of the Western Alliance since after the last world war.

For most of the rest of the world Mr. Trump is not the usual credible American president. He has very little credibility. He is not liked (to put it politely) anywhere in the world, with the exception of Israel and some Arab royal palaces (and maybe in Manila). Predictably Netanyahu made a short speech welcoming Trump’s non-withdrawal from JCPOA, while the controlled Saudi media cheered on.

So here is a suggestion: why not declare the United States, and Israel, as members of the Arab League. They can start as observer-members. It is all an incredible fantastic circus anyway……….

Cheers
M Haider Ghuloum

Donald Trump’s Obama Complex: Creating Fake News, Domestic and Global Chaos, New Muslim Wars……

Shuwaikh-school1 Me1 (2)Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2 Hiking

Media reports and official statements (General John Kelly) indicate that Kim Jong Un (Trump’s Rocket Man of North Korea) is close to developing a re-entry system for his long-range nuclear delivery missiles.

Donald Trump is studiously avoiding action on this serious potential threat to the West Coast of the United States. He will continue to fight Kim sporadically with words and tweets while he focuses on what he thinks is an easier target, the country that is not seeking nuclear weapons, more significantly the country that has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, renounced nuclear weapons and does not have them. Iran.

Trump is making daily noises about destroying the international JCPOA deal that keeps Iran from going nuclear. If later today, as widely expected, he declares Iran non-compliant, nobody anywhere in the world will believe him. Not even his own cabinet members and top Pentagon generals. Not even his reprehensible foreign cheerleaders: mainly his co-serial-liar Netanyahu and the usual couple of absolute Arab kings who are urging him to go to war (in exchange for billions of dollars). No doubt he himself does not believe what he says about it. It could be even worse if he actually believed his own ‘facts’. The Iranians are already milking Trump’s noise and threats for all their worth, and it is working in Europe and Asia and in Turkey and several Arab countries.

For Trump this is not so much about Iran or nuclear weapons, not even about Fox News warmongering. It is part of a pattern now: it is all about Barack Obama, about undoing everything that ‘uppity’ black president did while in the White Office.
It is about the birther Trump’s obsession with his Obama Complex.
It might eventually lead to the second time since 2003 that the USA goes to a messy war of choice in the Middle East, based on a self-created lie.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Policy as a Game of Egos: Trump Promises to Unleash a Storm Somewhere……..

Shuwaikh-school1 Me1 (2)Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2 Hiking


“While taking photos alongside military leaders and their spouses before a Thursday night dinner at the White House, President Donald Trump cryptically stated reporters were seeing “the calm before the storm.”

Who could president Trump mean by this threat? Who is he warning? And what calm is he talking about in this tumultuous year of 2017?
Could he mean the dictator he calls Little Rocket Man, the belligerent pudgy Cute Leader Kim Jong Un of North Korea?
Could he (egged on by the Israeli right-wing and well-paying Saudi princes) mean his main anti-ISIS allies the mullahs of Iran?

Could he be preparing America and the world for yet another endless Muslim war of choice, based on fake analysis and manufactured evidence?


Could he mean Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, for allegedly calling him a F—ing Moron and then refusing to publicly deny saying it when given the chance?
Could he mean Secretary of Defense General Mad Dog Mattis for dismissing his threats to “pull out” of the international Iran Nuclear Deal?
Could he mean Carmen Yulin Cruz the mayor of San Juan (Puerto Rico)?

Could he mean the kneeling NFL players whom he called “sons of bitches” last week?
Could he mean the newest Caribbean storm Nate now moving toward the Gulf coast?


Or could this be just another transparent Art of the Deal bluff? Is he just bluffing in general, hoping one or two targets will bite? But this is not a game of egos. His credibility and that of the country are on the line: this big boy has cried wolf too many times this year……

Cheers

M. Haider Ghuloum

 

Epithets at the UN: Rogue Nations vs. Rogue Politicians…..

Shuwaikh-school1 Me1 (2)Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2 Hiking

President Trump called Iran a “rogue nation” in his speech to the UN General assembly on Tuesday. This is an American political staple, an epithet US politicians often use for nations that they have disputes with, especially Iran. It implies a high degree of outlaw behavior. Of course most regimes/government commit some outlaw behavior abroad, if they can get away with it. It is all in the eye of the beholder.
Today, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani returned the favor: he called Mr. Trump a “rogue newcomer to world politics“. He also called him ignorant and hateful, unfit to be at the United Nations. He also returned the favor to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by calling him the leader of a “rogue and racist regime”.


So, now we have a duel of rogue regimes, apparently. But if every government calls its opponents “rogue” regimes, then that means the whole world is composed of rogue regimes….. assuming all have the same degree of credibility….
Nicht war?

Cheers
M Haider Ghuloum

Trump Facing the Ghosts of Iraq and Colin Powell: Seeking Another Slam Dunk in the Persian Gulf from Pompeo…….

Shuwaikh-school1 Me1 (2)Sharqeya-Baneen-15

KuwaitCox2 Hiking


“US intelligence officials are under pressure from the White House to produce a justification to declare Iran in violation of a 2015 nuclear agreement, in an echo of the politicisation of intelligence that led up to the Iraq invasion, according to former officials and analysts. The collapse of the 2015 deal between Tehran, the US and five other countries – by which Iran has significantly curbed its nuclear programme in return for sanctions relief – would trigger a new crisis over nuclear proliferation at a time when the US is in a tense standoff with North Korea. Intelligence analysts, chastened by the experience of the 2003 Iraq war, launched by the Bush administration on the basis of phoney evidence of weapons of mass destruction, are said to be resisting the pressure to come up with evidence of Iranian violations……….”
The Guardian

I had thought nobody would want to be another Colin Powell, an honorable military general who was essentially tricked by the Neocons into lying to the United Nations Security Council about Iraq’s WMD before the 2003 war.

But I may have been wrong: UN Ambassador Nikki Haley seems willing to go to any length to make a phony point about Iran’s nuclear program, to satisfy the boss. But then she was a South Carolina politician until just six months ago, which means she is used to anything goes. But unfortunately for the stubborn Neocons and warmongers Haley does not have the trust and credibility of a Colin Powell, a respected general tested by the fires of war. She is becoming more and more a female Trump.

There is another missing tool for the Neocon warmongers who yearn for another military brawl in the Persian Gulf. Nobody is willing to provide the “Slam Dunk” seal of approval Donald Trump will need to create another North Korean-style problem on the Persian Gulf. CIA Director Mike Pompeo has been eerily and professional correctly silent on this issue. Unlike the CIA heads of the past 25 years who eagerly sought TV cameras and microphones.

My guess is that the US Intelligence professionals are not willing to be used as unprofessional tools of the politicians anymore. Not even as tools of of a loud-mouthed leader, not even the loudest American mouth of the past hundred plus years.


Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum