Tag Archives: Sanctions

Ad Nauseam: Boehner Promises One Iran Bill Every Week…….

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“House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said today that his chamber is ready to take up the Corker-Menendez bill on approval of any Iran deal as soon as the Senate is done with it. Boehner also indicated it may not be the last Iran bill dealing with the negotiations that will come through his chamber. Secretary of State John Kerry and the White House have been lobbying lawmakers ahead of this afternoon’s meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to consider the legislation. They’re also busy at work trying to spread the message that lawmakers just want to kill any Iran deal………….”

That would be the Corker, er, Menendez, er, AIPAC Bill.

My Georgetown source (no, she is not Saudi ambassador Al Jubeir and does not frequent Cafe Milano with Arbabsiar and Mexican drug cartel types) reports the following interesting plan. If pressed by the harried media, which he probably won’t, Boehner will admit that the congressional goal is to speed things up: to introduce one Iran bill each and every week. Congressional bi-partisan carpet bombing of the Iranians (and Obama).
He added that Tom (Cotton?) had originally wanted a bill each and every day. In addition to a new taunting letter sent to Ayatollah Khamenei each and every day. He was talked out of it.

That way, he added, the Iranians may eventually see the light of day and give it up. When asked: what about the Europeans, Russians, Chinese, Indians, etc? Will they not understand the game and give up the sanctions as well in that case? He replied: that is not the script according to Bibi…………..

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
m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

How Far Will AIPAC Want the U.S. to Go on Iran?………

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“The powerful pro-Israel lobby AIPAC is urging a dramatic escalation in sanctions on Iran in response to a recent seven-month extension of nuclear talks. It also seeks a US ban on Iranian oil exports worldwide and more Iranian industries blacklisted…………”

No doubt a majority in the Knesset Congress and Senate will immediately bow and push for this. They have been at it on a bipartisan basis since at least early 2009. Some of them have been at it even before AIPAC went public with its demands, pushing poison pill clauses in some congressional resolutions and measures, with the aim of dragging the USA into yet another regional war.
Tightening a unilateral blockade that other countries are forced to observe, courtesy of AIPAC.

I am beginning to suspect that if AIPAC (the right-wing Israeli lobby) some day demands that Iran be hit with nuclear weapons, a shocking number of legislators in Washington may start talking seriously about it. I am almost not being facetious here.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

WTF? UN to Sanction Yemen Opposition Leaders, Charles and Hollande in Saada………

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“Lithuanian U.N. Ambassador Raimonda Murmokaite, chair of the council’s Yemen sanctions committee, said all 15 members had agreed to blacklist Saleh and Houthi rebel military leaders Abd al-Khaliq al-Huthi and Abdullah Yahya al Hakim. The three men are now subject to a global travel ban and asset freeze. Saleh has denied seeking to destabilize Yemen and his party warned after a meeting on Thursday that any sanctions on the former president or “even waving such a threat would have negative consequences on the political process.”…….. The United States submitted a formal request to the Yemen sanctions committee a week ago for Saleh and the Houthi leaders to be the first people designated…………”

Years ago some politicians in the United States often warned of “world government” encroaching on national sovereignty. They were usually conservative Republicans who were terrified of a UN-type world regime that would interfere in domestic US affairs. Some of them opined that it was part of an international conspiracy to dominate the world. They were considered ‘the crazies‘ in mainstream US media in those days. Now some of them run the asylum show.


Isn’t this exactly what the UN and the USA are doing now in places like Yemen? And can the UN really force various opposed Yemeni factions to follow international dictate on internal matters? And why does the UN and world powers not try to solve other ‘domestic’ problems with sanctions, as in Egypt and Bahrain? 

I have posted here before that sanctioning the Houthis is a meaningless  gesture. Unless it is a prelude to a more muscular intervention against them. As far as I know the Houthis don’t own properties in Europe or New York; they don’t shop in Paris and London, and they don’t spend their vacations in Nice or Geneva. They certainly don’t purchase their weapons from the West; otherwise Mr. Cameron and Prince Chuck Al Windsor and M. Hollande would be as regular visitors to Saada as they are to Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Remember When the Oil Weapon Was Blackmail and Evil?……….

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“Now time has abruptly run out. The Arabs, who control nearly 60% of the world’s proven deposits, are slowing down the flow. Through this strategy of squeeze, they hope to pressure the industrial nations into forcing Israel to make peace on terms favorable to the Arabs. Moreover, they are steadily intensifying their oil shakedown. Originally they planned to reduce production by at least 5% each month. Later they embargoed all oil shipments to the U.S. and The Netherlands, in punishment for their support of Israel. Last week, showing new unity and clout, ten Arab countries announced that production for November will be slashed a minimum of 25% below the September total of 20.5 million bbl. per day. Though there has been promising progress toward a lasting settlement in the Middle East, the Arabs vow that they will continue their cutbacks and embargoes until Israel withdraws behind its 1967 borders………….”

That was during the Yom Kippur War of October 1973. The Arabs, at least the regimes and media, still claim that war was won. Initially the first round of the “Ramadan War” was won, but the military tide had turned decisively before the ceasefire that was engineered by the Nixon administration. But official celebrations and/or commemorations are held in Egypt every year on this occasion, sometime twice a year: once in October and again during the Islamic Hijri month of Ramadan (usually the two don’t coincide, although they did in 1973).
That Arab oil embargo of 1973 was widely denounced as blackmail and evil in Europe and North America. Looking back, the Arabs got a bum rap on that one: it is not the act of blackmail itself, but who does it that makes the difference. Something must have happened since then. Now it is the Western powers that impose oil and gas embargoes: against Russia, Iran, Syria, Iraq (in the past) and others who do not comply. Countries that break any Western embargo or blockade are punished, and embargoed themselves. And it is not blackmail anymore: it is cool now. It is considered as part of a wise clever strategy to “shake down” other countries, just as the Arabs were perceived as “shaking down” the West in 1973. The only difference is that the Western powers have the upper hand now, economically speaking. The shoe is on the other foot. Speaking of change………..
Not all blackmails, or shakedowns, are equal.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

A Western Addiction to Sanctions? SWIFT-ing the Houthis of Yemen………

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“Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it…….” Newton’s First Law of Motion (one version)

“Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Wednesday accused the United States of being “obsessed” with sanctions against his country, on the eve of new bilateral talks on a nuclear deal……….”

Apparently imposing these financial sanctions (actually blockades) can become addictive. Anyone who does not know any better, and that probably includes me, might think that the Obama administration has become addicted to inflicting sanctions on other nations and entities and corporations and whatever and whoever catches its fancy in the wrong way. The U.S. Congress is an even more avid imposer of these sanctions, it leads the way: its hawkish threats scare and force the administration to be “proactive” in these matters.

Governments and despots (only a few of them) and peoples and groups and parties and unions and gangs and possibly bad musicians, probably even alumni associations are targeted. From East Asia through Russia and Iran and Lebanon and Syria and Africa and into the threatening little superpower of Cuba, after passing through the mighty empire of Venezuela. Even as the Iran+P5+1 talks were resuming this summer, some evil genius somewhere in Washington was churning out new plans for tightening the screws on the Iranians. Just to keep the mullahs on their toes, or maybe just to let the hotheads in Congress and Knesset know that they have nothing to worry about.

Yesterday, reports came out that the US (and possibly other Western powers) are considering imposing sanctions against the Houthis of Yemen. The Houthis? They are one of the many tribal/political/ethnic/religious factions that dot the Yemeni landscape. But they have nothing to do with Al Qaeda or any other Wahhabi terrorist groups: in fact they are their enemies. They have no goals beyond their own region of Yemen, so what would they be sanctioned for? Sanctioned for daring to protest against their fundamentalist military government and marching on the capital Sana’a. I would have thought the Western powers had their hands full trying to drone the Saudi-Yemeni Al-Qaeda (AQAP) out of existence (often taking a passel of innocent Yemeni civilians along as collateral damage). Or maybe someone in Washington got a persuasive call from someone with a golden telephone in Riyadh or Abu Dhabi.

Anyway, it is not clear how financial sanctions can affect the Houthis of the rugged territory of northern Yemen. As I recall from my past days of extensive travel, the economies of some remote regions are not very monetized, unlike Washington DC (not so many lobbyists with a lot of money hanging around Sanaa or Ouagadougou). These fellows are not known to fly to Las Vegas or Nice or even Dubai, or to own foreign property. Unlike the petroleum princes and potentates, they do not even frequent the diversion-filled joints of Beirut or Cairo or Bangkok. Unlike the Saudi princes, they never fly into the sin-filled cities of Morocco. So, they don’t have as much need for access to foreign exchange, be it dollars or euros or riyals.

Personally, sometimes I think they impose some of the sanctions jut because they can. The mechanisms and the people are in place, so there is some bureaucratic inertia involved, unless acted upon by an external force, as Isaac Newton taught us so long ago. There are no other world currencies that compete with the dollar, and no institution that can compete with SWIFT. SWIFTing a country or an organization is easy. But the Houthis?

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com