Category Archives: Middle East Nuclear

Tale of Two Hostile Cities: Trump’s Losing Game of Poker with Pyongyang and Tehran……….

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Kim Jong Un has launched another ballistic missile. He is completely ignoring the hand-wringing and the tepid warnings from Washington. North Korea, a small poor country ruled by one nasty family, has several nuclear warheads, and is probably on its way to develop a delivery system that can threaten the American West Coast. Yet North Korea does not seem impressed with Donald Trump’s vague entreaties. Nor do Trump’s threats seem designed to truly impress.


Switch to the Middle East, to my Persian Gulf clogged with American and other Western warships from faraway places. The Iranian regime has signed a deal with world powers (including UN, IAEA, EU) that curtails its nuclear program and restricts it to peaceful purposes. Even their leading theocrat, Ali Khamenei, has approved it while grumbling about the ‘evils of dealing with Washington’. Now the Iranians still develop missiles that are aimed at deterring any attack on their cities by Western powers or their expensively-armed tribal royal customers. Not a breach of the nuclear deal if they are not warhead-capable. An insurance against the vast foreign imported arsenals surrounding their country.

Yet the invective in Washington is focused on Iran while Pyongyang is almost beseeched to (please) behave. Daily threats hinting at, nay threatening of, another war in the Persian Gulf region are now almost part of the National Anthem in Washington. (The current Congress may add a new stanza to the StarSpangled Banner, it’s not that far-fetched). Administration officials, paid think tanks, and senators compete with each other in this ongoing warmongering. The major media are as cooperative in this new drumbeat of a new war of choice as they were for Iraq in 2002/2003. As if they can’t learn from the past, some arrogant fools in the USA are even talking, again, of regime change in Tehran as a gift from Washington.

There are several reasons for this dichotomy, what someone (not me) once called the Iran Derangement Syndrome in Washington. Two of the reasons are obvious: the omnipotent and generous Israeli right-wing lobby and the inflow of Gulf royal money for expensive weapons/toys. Plus the history since the end of the last world war.

But perhaps the most important and crucial reason is also well known to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un: he already has his defense in the form of nuclear weapons as well as deadly conventional artillery aimed at South Korea. As I explained recently here in this post on the Thinking of Kim Un.
So he just deals with Donald Trump as other world leaders should: he knows his background, and he ignores his warnings, his bluff, just as any mediocre Poker player would.

Recent reports in US media now indicate Trump may try to provoke the Iranians into abandoning the nuclear deal. Oddly he is supposed to do that by himself breaking the nuclear deal first thus pushing the Iranians into reacting, the new logic of the regime in Berlin Washington. The blustering New York Poker player trying to bluff masters of their own game of chess.

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Iran Nuclear Deal: Who Speaks for the Arabs?………

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No other group of Middle East countries have ever sought so tenaciously to keep a foreign blockade against one of their neighboring countries in modern times. With the exception of about three absolute Arab regimes along the Persian Gulf who fought tooth and nail to keep the Western Blockade against Iran.
President Obama is reported this week to have arranged telephone calls with the king of Saudi Arabia and the crown prince of Abu Dhabi (effective ruler of the UAE). The goal is to explain to these potentates the nuclear deal with Iran. American media claim that Mr. Obama seeks to explain the Iran nuclear deal “to the Arabs“. Except that the Saudi king rules over only about 17 million citizens, the Abu Dhabi (UAE) potentate rules over only about one million citizens. These two potentates may speak for their own citizens only (maybe). They don’t represent 250-300 million Arabs extending from the Persian Gulf to the Atlas Mountains. Most of these other non-Gulf Arabs don’t oppose this deal. There are also many people along the shores of Gulf, from Oman through Dubai, Bahrain, Qatif and other places who don’t oppose it. The rulers of Saudi Arabia, and much of their “inland” Wahhabi peoples, plus the rulers of Bahrain and their local allies, and many in Qatar (only the tiny minority who are citizens) are probably among the strongest opponents of the deal and support continuation of the Western Blockade.

As are Salafis along the Gulf and across other Arab regions, including the likes of ISIS (DAESH) and Al-Nusra and many of their leading Abu’s. They join the Israelis and their strong American lobby in pushing for a continuation of the blockade as the second choice if an American war is not on the table. The nuclear program has never been the real issue for these bedfellows: it is more about the expansion of Iranian political influence across the region.
Most Arabs in the Eastern Mediterranean support the deal and the lifting of the Western blockade, or are at least indifferent. Most in North Africa, from Egypt to the farthest western Arab country of Morocco also hold the same position. But then there is hardly any Iranian political influence across North Africa.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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Breaking News: OBama, Britain, and Canadian Likud Insist on a Nuclear-Armed Middle East………

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“Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, thanked the US secretary of state, John Kerry, for blocking an Egyptian-led drive on a possible Middle East nuclear arms ban at a United Nations conference, an Israeli official said on Saturday. It was a rare message of thanks from Netanyahu, who has repeatedly accused President Barack Obama of undermining Israel’s security by attempting to reach a nuclear deal with Iran. A month-long review conference on the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) ended in failure on Friday, over disagreements on the issue of a Middle East atomic weapons ban. Washington blamed the failure on Egypt, which in turn blamed the US, British and Canadian delegations………….”

So the Obama administration got together with the right-wing British government and the Likudnik Canadian petro-regime to block an attempt to ban nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

So what was all the fuss and threats and economic blockade against Iran about then? I had though they were about stemming the expansion of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. Apparently not.
And why would Benyamin netanyahu thank these three amigos for blocking that? And how do you spell hypocrisy in various languages of white folks?

    

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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Phony Arab Fear of the Iran Nuclear Deal: Catharsis and Kumbaya at Camp David………

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“The Obama administration is scrambling for reassurances it can present this month at a Camp David summit meeting to persuade Arab allies that the United States has their backs, despite a pending nuclear deal with Iran. Officials at the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department have been meeting to discuss everything from joint training missions for American and Arab militaries to additional weapons sales to a loose defense pact that could signal that the United States would back those allies if they come under attack from Iran. Over mahi-mahi at the Pentagon two weeks ago, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter polled a select group of Middle East experts for advice on how the administration could placate Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, all of which fear the nuclear deal, according to several attendees………………..”

First (of all): it is not an “Arab” fear of the nuclear deal. Ask most Arabs from Baghdad through Amman to Algiers and Tetouan, ask 250 million of them and they will not express any fear of this deal. Arabs have lived with a nuclear and aggressive Israel for decades without expressing any fear of it either.

Second: a part of the small minority of all Arab who live on the Persian-American Gulf express disapproval of the nuclear deal (not counting the majority of the population who are South Asian expat laborers). Many of them don’t know its details and look at it from a sectarian view and in some cases whatever their government propaganda tell them.

Third: the rulers of the GCC Gulf states are not afraid of the “nuclear” deal either. They are worried about expanding Iranian influence in Iraq and Syria and Lebanon, and potentially in Yemen. A legitimate worry. Only about three of them (only about three regimes) are also afraid of lifting the Western blockade from the Iranian people which will strengthen their economy.

Fourth: These three (or four) regimes are pretending to be afraid of a nuclear deal only as a bargaining chip: the same position as Benyamin Netanyahu takes. The last time Iran attacked a neighbor was almost three hundred years ago. When was the last time Iran was attacked by a neighbor? In 1980, by Baathist Iraq with active help from others in the neighborhood. The Baathists used WMD in that war.

Fifth: the mullahs don’t directly attack a neighbor, unlike Baathist Iraq (attacked Iran and Kuwait), unlike Saudi Arabia (attacked Yemen at least three times: 1930s, 2009, 2015 and attacked Kuwait once in 1920). Even so, the Persian-American Gulf is clogged with powerful Western navies that can deter any conventional attack.

Sixth: Even if we ‘buy’ the claims about Iran’s nuclear program. When was the last time a country used nuclear weapons in ts own neighborhood? Is there a regime so stupid as to contemplate doing that, across its border? Are there regimes audacious enough to use it as an excuse to keep an economic blockade on a neighbor?

No doubt Mr. Obama knows all this, or he should know it when he sits down with his guests. Which also makes one wonder: why not also invite Netanyahu to Camp David, since he claims the same worries and concerns? Then Mr. Obama can have his catharsis with both. It should be fun: Likudniks and antisemitic Wahhabis singing Kumbaya at the camp. 

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

The Final Word on the Lausanne Nuclear Deal……..

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“But at the end of the day, Iran is a scientifically-advanced country with good cash-flow and, if it is willing to pay the price, it can develop a nuclear weapon. Absent some program of national-scale lobotomization, there is nothing the international community can do about this. The negotiators have implicitly admitted this by focusing on limiting Iran’s breakout time to one year rather than on denying the capability altogether. But nobody can explain why one year is a magical period of time, versus, say, six months or five years. This is because there is no reason………… But it is more a symbol of the fight over Iran policy than the core of the issue. At heart, this is a fight over what to do about Iran’s challenge to U.S. leadership in the Middle East and the threat that Iranian geopolitical ambitions pose to U.S. allies, particularly Israel and Saudi Arabia…………”

Verstehen sie?

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

The Nuclear Rumble in Lausanne: Will There Be a Deal?……….

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E= M*C2 ……… “a” nuclear physics theory

“Iran will insist that all sanctions against it are lifted as a condition for a nuclear deal, the foreign minister said on Wednesday, showing no sign of compromise on a major sticking point in its talks with world powers set to resume this week. “This is the position that the government has insisted on from the start,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying. The United Nations, United States and European Union have imposed a wide array of sanctions on Iran…………”

The noise, cacophony, about the nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 world powers is focused on the actions of the Iranian side. How many centrifuges, how many plants, what degree of uranium enrichment, how intrusive the inspections, etc. The public focus is on one side, as far as Western opinion, analysis, and punditry is concerned.
But it takes (at least) two to tango. Not much public talk goes on about the other side of the equation. The other partner in the tango is ignored.The elephant the media and the pundits here in America rarely if ever mention. That would be the Western blockade (called sanctions in the West). The pull and push between these two sides of the equation, nuclear enrichment vs. the blockade, goes on furiously inside the talks (just as Netanyahu and his agents inside the talks).
We hear so much about different formulae for permissible enrichment, one side of the equation, the E side. But we hear almost nothing about the other side of the famous and often misunderstood equation, M*C2, how to lift the blockade (the equivalent of M in this case since C is fixed). The enrichment can be monitored, it can be turned off and cut back relatively quickly. The blockade will become an American political issue, as is everything else in this country these days in this era of American political civil war.

The good news is, whatever the outcome of these talks, deal or no deal, some of the major powers will know that a big chunk of the blame falls on the Israeli lobby in America and the Saudi-Qatari money lobby in France. They will most likely start ignoring parts of the blockade that are not sanctioned by the United Nations. Unfortunately, that may also mean the Iranians will be off the hook, and the suspicions will mount….

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Nuclear Prince: Saudi Ambassador to Israel and AIPAC……..

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“‘If Iran has ability to enrich uranium… we’ll want the same,’ former head of Saudi intelligence says, warning a nuclear deal with Iran could spur nuclear proliferation in Gulf. Any terms that world powers grant Iran under a nuclear deal will be sought by Saudi Arabia and other countries, risking wider proliferation of atomic technology, a senior Saudi prince warned on Monday in a BBC interview. “I’ve always said whatever comes out of these talks, we will want the same,” said Prince Turki al-Faisal, who has previously served as head of Saudi intelligence and Riyadh’s ambassador to Washington and London but is no longer a government official……………”

Sounds fair enough: everybody has the right to peaceful (and safe) nuclear energy. As long as they stick to Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) rules to ensure peaceful use, as the Iranians claim they are doing. The problem is: the Saudis need to close a few of their ubiquitous Shari’a colleges and expand the sciences. Re-educate all these Wahhabi clerics-in-the-making to become scientists. That takes time, maybe a generation or two before they are nuclear-ready. Or they can take the usual easy way: offer many millions and buy a few foreign scientists.

Prince Turki al-Faisal al Saud has become the de facto Saudi ambassador to Israel, and to AIPAC. Saying and doing things the other, more official princes can’t say or do publicly, especially about the ‘nuclear’ issue. A ‘good cop, bad cop‘ number for the Wahhabi faithful. So, maybe he will also one day ask for the “same thing” that Israel is believed to have (although Israel has never signed the NPT). Like about 100+ reported nuclear warheads, ready to go. Just to protect the Islamic Holy Sites from who knows what……..

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                         Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Iran, the West, and the Myths of the Crippling Blockade and a Political War……..

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It is now required by law. Every time any media outlet or expert in the United States mentions the Western blockade against Iran, they must add “crippling”. There are no more just “sanctions”, there are only “crippling sanctions“.
No doubt the blockade is hurting Iran, negatively affecting the living standards of the average Iranian. That is why they voted for a reformist during the last election. Too bad there are no effective sanctions against that other power, the only real nuclear power in the Middle East. Then maybe we’ll discover that they also have a reformist strain and vote their whining demagogue out of office. 

Back to Iran. The sanctions are truly hurting Iran. They are not ‘crippling’, not by any measure. That is a myth used in the West and parroted by the media. A crippled country does not grow more powerful and does not extend its regional sphere of influence, and does not allow its people to travel and does not multiply its centrifuges several fold. Not after 35 years of “crippling” sanctions. A ‘crippled’ country does not defy the world powers and withstand serious sustained economic warfare from some of its neighbors.

So forget the ‘crippling sanctions’. Now it has to be either an agreement or a policy of simple containment (forget about this political war that is allegedly still on the table)……….

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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Nuclear Iran: Israeli-Western Narrative and the Khamenei Narrative……..

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“Such a compromise would fall well short of the maximalist demands of Iranian hardliners, including the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who continue to believe that Iran should have a nuclear-weapons option, if not the bomb itself. It would also provoke outrage among sceptical members of America’s Congress and Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, who insist that Iran’s record of cheating means it should have no enrichment programme at all. But that is the nature of compromises; neither side will get all it seeks……………”

The Economist narrative seems to have been taken straight from the mouth of Benyamin Netanyahu. Yet how do they presume to know the mind of Khamenei? To know what Khamenei thinks? They seem to quote him without actually quoting him: a neat journalistic trick (we bloggers also use it). Let us see what Khamenei has said publicly on Twitter (and let’s assume that he means it):
@khamenei_ir:
“Iran considers the use of WMDs as an unforgivable sin. Nuclear energy for all and nukes for none”
“We consider the use of WMDs as Haraam; we believe that it is everyone’s duty to secure humanity against this great evil.”  4/17/2010
“Islamic Republic of Iran considers the use of nuclear, chemical and similar weapons as a great and unforgivable sin.” 8/30/12
“Iranian nation is a victim of the use of CWs. That is why Iran is ready to counter WMDs by all its means. ” 

All sides in this argument dissemble (lie) about the nuclear issue. We know for certain that Mr. Netanyahu dissembles (okay, lies) regularly, almost everybody knows that. For twenty years he has been predicting an Iranian breakthrough to “the bomb” within ‘six months or a year’. He has slowed down now, for he used to do his predictions almost every two weeks. The West also dissembles in its claim that its focus is solely on the Iranian nuclear program. We know that is not true: there are regional strategic factors involved that have pushed the economic blockade, especially for the U.S. administrations. And not just the Israeli position or the pressures for war from some Arab princes and potentates (check Wikileaks cables).

As for Iranian officials, some of them would like to have “the bomb” and to have an excuse to clamp down even more on dissent and to block potential Western cultural influences. Toward that target they would be happy to scuttle the talks. As would many politicians in the United States and most if not all of the political and media elites in Israel.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Israeli Lobby in the Washington Knesset Works to Derail Nuclear Talks……


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“In a letter obtained by Foreign Policy, Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a member of the Armed Services Committee, demand that any deal allow international inspectors to probe Iranian facilities for “at least 20 years.” It also says the inspections “must be intrusive,” with the International Atomic Energy Agency gaining “access to any and all facilities, persons or documentation” necessary to determine Iran’s compliance with the deal……… The letter, which is addressed to the president, went out to members of the Senate Banking Committee, Foreign Relations Committee, and Armed Services Committee on Friday, July 11. It has the support of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the powerful pro-Israel lobbying group, an AIPAC official confirmed……………”

Nothing new here, just something worth revisiting briefly. We all know that an unregistered all powerful omnipotent lobby for a foreign government now shapes Obama Administration and U.S. Congressional foreign policy about anything that has to do with Iran, Lebanon, and Palestinian-Israeli issues. AIPAC has a virtual veto over U.S. policy on these issues: its tools are truly bi-partisan.

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com