Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Matt 24 watch, 229a: While reports suggest a done Munich II deal made in secret by Valerie Jarrett, the Saudis -- yes, the SAUDIS -- are unhappy with the Obama administration's ongoing Geneva diplomatic nuke game with Iran . . .

A week ago, I expressed serious concerns about the ongoing Geneva negotiations with Iran over its push towards nukes. In the course of those remarks, I cited a Times of Israel report that noted from Israeli TV news and views shows how:
 Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “in a state of shocked disbelief” at the deal apparently taking shape in Geneva over Iran’s nuclear program . . . . The Netanyahu government is “in a crisis of faith” with the Obama administration over the possible deal, Israel’s Channel 1 News further reported, in part because it apparently differs in content from the terms that Kerry had previously described to Netanyahu. Other Israeli reports said Netanyahu felt he had been “misled” by the US over the terms of the deal. 

Netanyahu, who blasted the possible accord as the “deal of the century” for Iran, believes it would enable the Islamic Republic to become a “nuclear breakout state,” the TV reports said — since Iran would retain its nuclear enrichment capabilities, and would thus be capable of racing to a bomb at short notice at a time of its choosing. 

Israel, the TV reports said, also believes the US has been negotiating with Iran in a secret channel, without disclosing the content of those discussions to Israel . . . 
 A further TOI report, datelined Nov 17 - 18 (as at this point -- for cause  -- Obama administration denials have little credibility on either domestic or international events and issues . . . ), now allows us to flesh out those concerns, and make a very significant timeline cross-link to other developments:
‘Geneva talks a facade, US-Iran worked secretly on deal for past year’
White House denies report Obama team has been negotiating terms with Tehran, didn’t fully coordinate with Israel
November 17, 2013, 10:38 pm Updated: November 18, 2013, 2:07 am
 [ . . . ]

The Geneva negotiations between the so-called P5+1 powers and Iran are a mere “facade,” because the terms of a deal on Iran’s nuclear program have been negotiated in talks between a top adviser to President Barack Obama and a leading Iranian nuclear official that have continued in secret for more than a year, Israeli television reported Sunday. 

Despite ostensible full coordination between the US and Israel over strategies for thwarting Iran’s nuclear weapons drive, the administration did not keep Israel fully informed on those talks, Channel 10 news reported, but Jerusalem nonetheless has a pretty clear picture of what has been going on in the secret channel. 

White House spokesman Bernadette Meehan was quoted by Haaretz as saying that the report was “absolutely, 100 percent false.”

The report, which relied on unnamed senior Israeli officials, said the US team to the secret talks was led by Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett. Her primary interlocutor, the report said, was the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi. The talks have been taking place in various Gulf states.

In the course of the talks, the report said, the Americans offered the Iranians a series of “confidence-building measures,” which underlined American readiness to conclude a deal and undercut sanctions pressure.
It was the deal discussed in these secret talks, the report said, that the Americans then brought to Geneva earlier this month, where it was largely adopted by the P5+1 nations — the US, Britain, France, Russia, China, plus Germany . . . . 

Sunday’s Channel 10 report was not the first to assert a secret US-Iran channel involving Obama aide Jarrett. In November of 2012, the daily Yedioth Ahronoth said Jarrett — a Chicago lawyer born in Shiraz, Iran, to American parents, and good friend of Obama’s — was “a key figure in secret contacts the White House is conducting with the Iranian regime.”

That report said “Jarrett served as the personal and direct emissary of the president to secret meetings with the Iranians, which are understood to have taken place in one of the Gulf principalities.”
 So, at this time, we have two separate Israeli reports on a pattern of negotiations using a personal emissary of Mr Obama who is Iranian.

Frankly, at this point, unless there is strong corroboration of the Obama administration talking points, I am for cause inclined to hold them as of negligible credibility. That is the price a Government pays for building up a track record of betrayal and deceiving of those who trust them and support them.

Worse, the timing -- across a year -- coincides far too neatly with the immense pressure brought to bear on Israel at about the same time to back down from striking the Iranian nuke programme. 

Which of course was also shortly before an American Presidential election and in the context of betrayal of diplomatic and security personnel fighting for their lives on the ground in Benghazi, multiplied by manipulating the public perception of these events. Mix in the recent expose of deceit since 2010 on implications of the Obamacare health insurance scheme, and the current US administration does not come up smelling like a freshly picked rose.

U/D 1, Nov 21:  Let us remind ourselves of the reach of Iran's existing and in-development ballistic missile capacity -- the Shahab 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 -- since c 2008, asking ourselves just what Iran intends to put on such missiles with such a reach (pardon fuzzy text), why:

U/D 2, Nov 21: Paul Mirengoff of PowerLine blog, notes from French television media:
Iran’s “Supreme Leader” Ayatollah Khameni has assured his militiamen that Israel is “doomed to failure and annihilation.” In the same speech, which was broadcast live on State television, Khameni added that “Zionist leaders cannot be called humans.”

Have you seen this reported by our [US] mainstream media? I haven’t. It came to my attention via French television. [--> Something like this should have been headlined, on raw news value and timeliness,so lack of headlines is itself a significant warning . . . ]

Common sense suggests that a nuclear arms deal with a nation whose top leader holds such views is not worth reaching unless it ensures the dismantling of that nation’s nuclear arms capacity. Common sense further suggests that such a nation will not agree to dismantlement, and Iran has not agreed to it . . . .

 We the public of the world obviously need to know that it was not just Ahmadinejad (who was in any case largely a figurehead), but the Supreme Leader. Where, he has set out to dehumanise Israelis, a major warning sign already. A sign we must multiply by the continued threat of annihilation of Israel.

The rockets are in place and/or are under development, and it is patent that the warheads are under development. Nuke warheads.

And if -- as it seems some have argued [forgetting the grim lessons of Nazi Germany]  -- the supreme leader is only giving "red meat" to his public and military, what does that say about the underlying mindset, attitudes and stability of the regime and its institutions?  

Plainly, Mirengoff is right to conclude:

No one doubts that Khameni is ready to deal. He wants sanctions to be weakened and then terminated in exchange, basically, for not pressing ahead much with his nuclear program. The question is whether we should reach such a deal with a leader who talks about the annihilation of Israel and its subhuman leaders . . . . Under the kinds of deals being discussed, it appears Iran could [break out and create nuclear weapons] in a matter of months. 

That is why only dismantlement is acceptable.
 Then, too, we need to factor in the Saudi response, this time, as brought to our notice via Reuters, in a now more than month-old but highly relevant report:

Insight: Saudis brace for 'nightmare' of U.S.-Iran rapprochement

RIYADH Wed Oct 9, 2013 1:51pm EDT

When Saudi Arabia's veteran foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, made no annual address to the United Nations General Assembly last week for the first time ever, his unspoken message could hardly have been louder.

For most countries, refusing to give a scheduled speech would count as little more than a diplomatic slap on the wrist, but for staid Saudi Arabia, which prefers backroom politicking to the public arena, it was uncharacteristically forthright.

Engaged in what they see as a life-and-death struggle for the future of the Middle East with arch-rival Iran, Saudi rulers are furious that the international body has taken no action over Syria, where they and Tehran back opposing sides.

Unlike in years past, they are not only angry with permanent Security Council members China and Russia, however, but with the United States, which they believe has repeatedly let down its Arab friends with policies they see as both weak and naive.

Like Washington's other main Middle Eastern ally, Israel, the Saudis fear that President Barack Obama has in the process allowed mutual enemies to gain an upper hand . . .
 In short, the Saudis are very concerned that the Obama administration is about to cede the Middle East to a renewed Persian empire, armed with nukes and the ballistic and cruise missiles to deliver them as far as Europe already, and soon the whole world.

However, I don't buy the idea that any American administration c 2013 is being naive, as I noted a week ago:
By forcing a delay to now, blocking Israel from acting a year ago, the US may actually have already let Iran reach the nuke threshold, in which context, the agreement proposed would have sealed the deal that a nuke Iran is acceptable to this Administration. 
We now know those talks with Iran also amounted to effective abandonment of containing Iran's nuke ambitions, multiplied by deceiving what have to now be deemed former allies in the Middle East, not only Israel but Saudi Arabia and the cluster of states near enough to Iran to be under threat of a nuke umbrella -- immediately, those within 1,500 miles given the range of an intermediate range ballistic or cruise missile. (And if such are mounted on ships, that is a global threat. Indeed, IslamIST terrorism backed by a nuclear Iran would become an instant global nuclear threat.) 
That is what we now seem to be at the threshold of facing. 
I hate to say this, and know some will be angered by such a chain of reasoning -- especially as updated, but logic in light of evident facts and consequences that MUST be recognised in strategic decision making centres in Washington DC, Jerusalem, Tehran, London, Paris, Moscow, Beijing and elsewhere now pushes me:
I: this is patently too co-ordinated, too neat and definitive in potential outcomes -- and too well timed to exploit a predictable distraction over a controversial US domestic policy issue that has been bubbling up since 2010 -- to be mere coincidence and feckless bumbling. 
II: It looks deliberate. 
III: There is no way the senior officials in Washington could be unaware of the chain of highly likely geostrategic consequences outlined above.
IV: Obviously, those consequences are acceptable to them and reflect a fundamental alienation from Israel and willingness to live with the sort of Middle East that is emerging.
Though many Americans would not agree with such a re-alignment, it is obvious that they have lacked the capability to block any number of radical and questionable "change[s]" emanating from this administration.  
Further conclusion:
V: The United States is being fundamentally realigned in the post-Christian, secularist, statist European mould, and:
  •  it seems the balance of forces is now on the side of that re-alignment,  
  • from seeking to corrupt marriage (the most fundamental civilisation-stabilising social institution)  under false colours of equality and rights, 
  • to massive statist takeovers of major sectors of the US economy 
  • to alienating hitherto pivotal allies across the world (especially in major trouble-spots)  and 
  • allowing or even actively enabling the rise of fundamentally hostile powers to a place where 
  • they will predictably seriously hamper or even block any future US geo-strategic actions designed to be protective of the free world and pivotal trade choke points, starting with no 1 and 2 -- the Persian Gulf and the Suez Canal. 
  • Thus ushering in a new post-Christian era with radical Islam as the pivotal power bloc [probably envisioned as a third world champion and balance/ check to US imperialism . . . about as likely as Germany under Hitler was as a check to French and British Imperialism . . . ]
That very unwelcome summary is a recipe for global chaos and war on a scale hitherto unimaginable . . . .  the nuclear Armageddon clock just took a long step closer to midnight.
 We can multiply this by Mr Netanyahu's recent comment to the German newspaper, the Daily Bild, that Iran evidently has enough low enriched material to build five nuclear weapons:
“The Iranians already have five bombs’ worth of low-enriched uranium [--> which can plausibly be enriched to bomb-strength U-235 in as little as two weeks] ,” he told the German daily Bild. “If you press the sanctions now, you might actually get a better deal. If you have a bad diplomatic solution — what this appears to be — you actually may get the consequences you want to avoid. That is, you would have no choice but to exercise a military option in the future.”
As a final but one cited comment, we may note the assessment by Amos Yadlin, former IDF Intelligence Chief:
“Those who overestimate the threat of regional escalation damage the credibility of the military option and encourage a situation in which this becomes the only available option for preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” wrote Maj. Gen. (ret) Amos Yadlin, the director of the INSS think tank, and research assistant Avner Golov in a recent issue of Strategic Assessment (PDF) . . . . 

Yadlin and Golov described five possible Iranian responses to a strike, ranging from total military restraint to full-blown regional war, and asserted that the most likely scenarios were two gradations of a limited response. The first, “the classic reactive strategy,” would be a tit-for-tat strike in which “a significant number of missiles would be launched from Iran and Lebanon in the direction of Dimona or any other target in Israel perceived as ‘nuclear-associated,’” the two wrote.

A more significant reaction, but one Yadlin and Golov also considered to have “a high likelihood” of being chosen, would include one or two missile volleys at Israeli cities, a strike against Saudi and Western interests in the Gulf, and air and sea suicide missions.

A more robust and deadly response, in which Iran launched dozens of missiles a day against Israeli cities — as a declaration of outrage against the violation of its sovereignty or as a means of deterring Israel from any future action — “would lead to a significant Israeli response and could lead to escalation of the conflict… which could threaten the continued survival of the regime.” So long as a Western strike focused solely on the nuclear program and not wider regime assets, the two wrote, the regime would likely refrain from such a response.

So, we need to take very seriously (HT: TOI) Mr Netanyahu's just past security chief, Yaakov Amidror, when he said to the UK Financial Times that Israel is both capable and willing to act even unilaterally to set back Iran's nuke programme for a very long time.  Nor, should we dismiss the London Times report -- via TOI -- that Israel and Saudi Arabia may be working together on plans for such a strike against Iran. Especially, given this withering assessment in a paragraph by Israeli columnist David Horovitz:
Israel always knew the Obama Administration was all about “engagement” and that it would keep open the door to a diplomatic arrangement with Iran almost indefinitely. But there were those in Jerusalem who did not rule out an American resort to force, under certain circumstances, until the Syrian chemical weapons crisis over the summer. At that juncture, the horrified American public and Congressional reaction to the prospect of imminent conflict with Syria further hardened the Administration’s determination to do whatever it could to resolve the Iranian nuclear crisis without resorting to force. And, since then, Israel has broadly concluded that — while the US insists it is not bluffing, and while it has made preparations for military action — there is no credible American military option.
In short, things are very serious indeed, and absent a few miracles -- for which we need to pray -- are liable to rapidly deteriorate. END