Category Archives: Nuclear

A Season of Hurricanes: Role of Western Duplicity in Unleashing the Kim Jong Un Crisis…….

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What a  week it was…
First came Hurricane Harvey and its terrible human and economic effects…..
Then we were reminded of Hurricane Kim Jong Un and his missiles
Not to mention Hurricane Trump and his incomplete gaggle of cabinet members and assistants. The Trump Administration leaders have all apparently read The Art of the Deal“, and they seek to apply it to international relations. Adapting a New York real-estate businessman’s experiences as gospel for how to deal with Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Europe and others is an act of folly. And the most eager adopter of this hustler’s Art of the Deal is the UN ambassador, Nikki Haley.  A very dangerous development, which neither Defense Secretary Mattis (not necessarily a moderate) nor Secretary of State Tillerson may be able to offset. Haley seems to speak for Trump (probably also to Trump), in his language, when she tries to bluff the rest of the world. It will not work.

Which brings us back to North Korea. The Trump administration has been urging North Korea to “come to the table”, but the goal is obvious:  Give up your nuclear weapons and you will find us reasonable, if not downright friendly.
And don’t mind the wink, wink. Don’t mind what is happening to the Iranians now with tightened sanctions and daily threats of war….

Except that Kim Jong Un, detestable dangerous dictator that he may be, is not that stupid. He knows what happened to Saddam Hussein (Iraq) and Muammar Gaddafi (Libya) when they gave up their WMDs under Western urging. He sees and hears and reads the daily threats of war and new sanctions by Donald Trump and the spineless US Congress (both parties) against Iran AFTER she accepted a deal to reduce her nuclear program under JCPOA. Kim may be unpalatable, but he is not stupid. Here is what I posted here last July 6. Read it:

In the beginning…..
Donald Trump ignored North Korea and its petulant young dictator. Mr. Trump has been focusing on his “other” foreign policy issues. In fact up to recently he has been taking a long victory lap celebrating his own alleged self-styled loot of billions of Saudi oil money during his coronation by desperate Arab and Muslim princes and potentates in Riyadh last May. All he had to do was tell them that he does not care about human rights and that Iran exports terrorism (but apparently not the nice Wahhabi type of terrorism of ISIS and Al Qaeda and AQAP and Nusra).

Trump has also been focusing on the Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA), since before the election. Trump of course does not know much about it, that it is a good deal for all sides according to international consensus (with the exception of the ruling princes of Saudi Arabia, the Empire of Bahrain, Israel, and the paid-for US Congress). Apparently the one draw-back of the Iran deal for Trump, the Republican Party, (and hawkish Democrats) is that it is a signature achievement of President Barack Obama. So Mr. Trump had promised to revisit the deal, perhaps to “withdraw” the USA from it. His first National Security Chief Mike Flynn, a Turkish agent and possibly a Russian agent as well, threatened more serious action against Iran. Before Trump was forced to fire him.

Among the Iranians themselves there are many who are also disappointed by how the nuclear deal has turned out. And by the ratcheted up threats from Washington and the nearly monthly new sanctions being voted by the US Knesset Congress and Senate. They also remember what happened in Iraq and Libya.

Back to Kim Jong Un: he could not be denied his share of American attention for long. He is that kind of dictator. Not long after Trump was inaugurated Kim started tossing around warhead-capable medium-range and long-range missiles. He or his henchmen also murdered a young American student-captive in Pyongyang.
And one more thing that can be unforgivable from my point of view: he gave Dennis Rodman another opportunity to be seen on network news.

Kim Jong Un also certainly well remembers what happened to Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi.  Apparently Saddam had given up his WMD, but Iraq was invaded and he was overthrown anyway.

Libyan dictator Gaddafi gave up his WMD and paid billions in “compensation” to Western citizens and corporations. He was attacked and overthrown by NATO. He and one of his sons were allowed to be tortured and killed by some rebels. Now Libya is a failed and divided state.

Kim must have started thinking:

  • Gaddafi (of Libya) gave up WMD. He also gave up billions of dollars to Western countries and to victims of the Pan Am airliner bombing over Lockerbie in 1988. But what did he get? His new friends in NATO overthrew him then got him killed as soon as they got a chance. He and one of his sons were tortured and murdered by possibly the same people who later murdered four American diplomats in Benghazi. His country is now a failed state beset by Islamic Fundamentalists of the Wahhabi sect and by tribal infighting.
  • Iran heeded world power demands and reduced its nuclear program- and according to IAEA and world intelligence services it is abiding by the JCPOA Nuclear Deal. And Iran now is being seriously threatened by Donald Trump who is also hopelessly trying to form a futile alliance of hapless Arab and Muslim despots and potentates against it. These are mostly the countries whose citizens have actually committed terrorism in the Middle East and in the West. And both houses of the US Congress keep piling up sanctions against Iran, Kim knows….

If I were Kim, I would possibly perhaps per chance think that it is not just the WMD and nuclear stuff that the West, and the US government, has a beef with. Maybe it goes beyond that. If Iraq and Libya were attacked after they gave up their WMD, and if Iran is being threatened after it reduced its nuclear capability……
You get the drift: Kim will think that as soon as he gives up his nuclear and missile program, he might as well give up the ghost….

And it is hard to blame him for thinking along these lines, if you think about it (or you can start reading this post from the beginning)……..  “

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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

Five Dollar Bill: Forget Canadian Spock, USA to Replace Abe with Bibi…….

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“Since Friday, the world has been grieving the passing of Leonard Nimoy, with many touching tributes to the man best known for his role as Spock on “Star Trek” hitting the Internet over the weekend. Perhaps one of our favorites so far is happening in Canada, where Trekkies are “Spocking Fives” by putting images of Nimoy on the country’s $5 bill…………

SpockCanada
New Canadian

AbeLincoln –> NetanyahuLooney3                                                                                                      Proposed US change
NetanyahuLooney2
New face of GOP

My very own special incredible Congressional source is reporting that this Canadian move has inspired the U.S. Congress. If the Canucks can honor Mr. Spock (Nimoy) on the $5 bill, why not the US? So, she reports that a bi-partisan group of representatives and senators are getting ready to propose a similar U.S. move.  No, it has nothing to do with Spock.

Fresh from their verbal oral interaction with Benyamin Netanyahu last week, still in the grips of the afterglow, the law-makers will propose that the USA replace Abe Lincoln with Benyamin Netanyahu on the $5 bill. With the cost of living and ‘entertainment’ now so high in Washington, they claim, Abe Lincoln can’t buy you as much as he used to.

Americans will have the joy of carrying Bibi in their wallets, and even giving him back to the tune of $5-6 billion every year. Besides, it is a New Republican Party now, it needs a new symbolic and final break with its distant shameful and inconvenient past……….
Cheers

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

The Bibi Political Circus Hits Washington: Netanyahu’s Nuclear Looney Tunes………..

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A polarizing figure, a celebrity, and a supremely opportunistic politician. Now he brings his circus into enemy territory: Washington DC. It has been a circus,a diplomatic and political and media circus these past few weeks. Of the kind that only a celebrity (in America) like Netanyahu could deliberately provoke and organize. Besides Israeli politics he also seeks to deliberately embarrass and disrespect the black man he probably detests the most: Barack Obama. He would never do that to a white president. He also knows the nuclear negotiations have their own logic, be they successful or not.

Folks at the White House consider him a ‘chickenshit’.

Many Democrats, be they Jewish or gentile, see him as either a chickenshit or just a political hustler following his only path to keeping his job. Most of them would not dare say so publicly. Some of them have already decided to throw Obama under the bus and attend the Netanyahu political rally.

Most Republicans see him as the man who will lead the Jewish people to a belated conversion to the old Jewish sect of Jesus Christ. At the time of the Rapture.

A couple of star-struck extreme American neoconservative groupies even have a form of man-crush on him. They have taken to comparing him to Churchill, evoking Munich and the Holocaust and all that.

Will he use his staple of Looney Tunes Road Runner WileCoyote cartoons again to illustrate the nuclear issue? It should be interesting when the the bull is spread and let us see how much of it sticks to the ceiling of the Capitol.

Cheers

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

Iran Nuclear Talks: Netanyahu May Win Again…….

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2012: “Following his speech to the United Nations General Assembly this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Friday that he is “pretty satisfied” with his trip to the U.S. to instigate World War III. “All in all, I think I accomplished my goal of pushing humanity toward the brink of complete and utter annihilation,” said Netanyahu, adding that his implicit calls for international military action against Iran, which would ultimately escalate the conflict to an Armageddon-level of death and destruction…………” 

2014: “Asserting the Middle Eastern nation’s right to a safe, peaceful energy program, members of the Iranian diplomatic team attempted to seek more favorable terms of a deal with the P5+1 global powers while openly assembling a nuclear weapon in the negotiating room, sources confirmed Monday. “Iran will not agree to any international accord without a total and immediate lifting of Western sanctions,” said Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to representatives from China, Russia, and the United States while inserting a U-238 tamper sphere into a thermonuclear weapon on the floor of Coburg Palace………….”

Benyamin Netanyahu is determined to come to Washington soon, an unwelcome guest at the White House. In the past Netanyahu had relished every occasion to kick Obama in the shin (someone else’s term). Now he has become more ambitious, he has been emboldened by the U.S. Congress and other Likudnik Americans to aim higher, literally and figuratively. He is seeking to inflict more pain on the president in his own capital. Congress is helping Netanyahu kick Mr. Obama (still President Obama) again, straight in the testicles. If you grew up playing soccer, you know that no kick is more painful than that.
The powerful war party in Washington may win its battle and the nuclear talks may end without “success”, unless Obama stands firm. Already the Iranian supreme leader Khamenei seems to expect this victory for the Israeli right-wing (and left-wing actually). He has talked almost in sync with some Americans: Khamenei said this week that it makes no sense to extend the nuclear talks beyond the current deadline.
Back to the beginning. Some Iranians, and most Arabs especially outside the Persian Gulf region, have always suspected that the harsh unilateral Western blockade pushed by the Israeli lobby and voted dutifully by a pliant Congress was about more than the nuclear program. That there was a broader and more ambitious Israeli and other regional agenda behind it. The way some hawkish campaign-fund-hungry senators of both parties speak almost openly about it, those Iranians are probably right. It has evolved into something more broad that is hard to dismantle, with a full bureaucracy in Washington that naturally seeks to survive.

So what next? The blockade has failed to bring the Iranians to heel. It has brought them to the table, but without the white flag of surrender. Like all economic blockades it has inflicted a lot of pain on the people and not the regime, but they seem resilient and have become experts at evading some of its consequences. Are ‘all option on the table’ as the conventional press-conference bullshit says? That depends on how far the U.S. Congress is willing to push the White House, which depends on how much pressure the Israeli lobby will apply to the Congress as the U.S. heads toward the crucial but very expensive 2016 general elections. Mucho dinero needed these days for a campaign, almost any campaign.

Good news is that Barack Obama has no more political ambitions. For the first time since 2007 he does not need to pander to anyone anymore. That is when some recent U.S. presidents have become truly presidential. We may hear from Mr. Obama on all these issues after 2016, after the fog of campaign needs is lifted.
Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

The Labors of Hassan Rouhani: Local Landmines, Regional Sea Mines……

      


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Hassan Rouhani is facing the toughest test of his career, the toughest test any Iranian leader has faced in decades. Can he fulfill the promises he made to the majority that elected him by opening up the country and get the Western economic blockade lifted? He faces regional and domestic obstacles:

 

  • Israel: the debate about the Iranian nuclear ‘program’ has been a Godsend to Benyamin Netanyahu and he has been milking it for all its worth since the 1990s. He has claimed various deadlines by which time Iran would have nuclear bomb, and then he has ignored his earlier deadlines and suggested yet new dates. Top ‘retired’ Israeli intelligence and military leaders often contradict him on this. The amazing thing is that all the caca de toro has not hurt him with the Israeli electorate. Nor has it hurt his credibility in the U.S. Senate and Congress: on the contrary, the schmucks now look at him as an oracle of Middle Eastern and Iranian (especially nuclear) matters. Besides, it has served one of the purposes he used it for: for years it has helped him divert Western attention away from his problems with the Palestinians.
  • Iranian hardliners: the country needs a nuclear deal but any reasonable deal will probably have to get past these old revolutionaries. Many of them would prefer no deal but they also realize that most Iranians are young and want to open up to the world and want more freedoms and less intrusion in their private lives by the mullahs. Besides, the economy is hurting from the blockade no matter what officials claim.
  • American Hawks (Democrats and Republicans and others): when it comes to the Middle East, almost the whole Senate and Congress are hawks. Being seen as soft on the Iran negotiations is like being against “motherhood and Memorial Day and Independence Day”, and not necessarily in that order. It is like being soft on Ho Chi Minh before 1968 or accepting Chairman Mao as the legitimate leader of China before the 1970s …………

 

  • Gulf GCC: it is divided over Iran, as it is divided over many other issues. But the GCC states are divided among themselves regardless of the Iranian question. Three of them have pulled their ambassadors from Qatar because its government rejects Saudi hegemony on certain aspects of the Arab turmoil
  • Saudi Arabia: the Al Saud have been the most hawkish about both the nuclear issue and Iran’s ties to the Arab world, until recently. Failure of their policies in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon (and American advise) may have pushed them to seek some form of accommodation with Tehran. 
  • UAE: there are some divisions. Abu Dhabi potentates are hawkish but Dubai and possibly some others do not seem so. 
  • Qatar: has been concerned about balancing worrisome forces (Saudi vs. Iran). Its dispute with Iran has been mainly over Syria and possibly Iraq. But it has had more serious and more threatening disputes with the Saudis. Some Arab media even reported in recent months allegations of military threats against Qatar from the Saudi-UAE alliance. I have posted about past tensions between Qatar and the Saudis
  • Kuwait: was invaded from both Iraq and Saudi Arabia during the past century. It also uncovered at least one large Iranian espionage network in recent years. It tries not to antagonize either Saudis or Iranians, mindful of the ability of both to cause trouble. Then there is the recent past experience with Baathist Iraq………
  • Oman: has been mostly neutral and it does not seem to buy the Saudi argument about either the nuclear issue or the general “Iranian threat”. It does not seem to feel threatened. Oman was reportedly instrumental in starting the recent Iranian-American dialog last summer. 
  • Bahrain: the least important of the GCC members. Nobody cares wtf its repressive rulers think now. It has become a full-fledged Al Saud appendix and the ruling potentates do exactly as they are told. 

Cheers

mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com