Monday, November 25, 2013

Iran Deal: "Disaster"

Chamberlain 1938/Obama 2013

The Geneva Agreement: A Foreign Policy Disaster -Daniel Pipes, PhD

This wretched deal offers one occasion when comparison with Neville Chamberlain in Munich in 1938 is valid. An overeager Western government, blind to the evil cunning of the regime it so much wants to work with, appeases it with concessions that will come back to haunt it. Geneva and Nov. 24 will be remembered along with Munich and Sep. 29.

Barack Obama has made many foreign policy errors in the past five years, but this is the first to rank as a disaster. John Kerry is a too-eager puppy looking for a deal at any price.

With the U.S. government forfeiting its leadership role, the Israelis, Saudis, and perhaps others are left to cope with a bad situation made worse. War has now become a much more likely prospect.

Shame on us Americans for re-electing Barack Obama.

It's 1938 all over again -Melanie Phillips

The most stunning aspect of the Iranian war against the west, however, is that since 1979 the west has effectively denied that it is taking place. When its civilians were murdered in terrorist atrocities with Iran's fingerprints all over them, when its soldiers were blown up in Iraq by Iranian roadside bombs, when British Royal Navy personnel were kidnapped at gunpoint by Iranian forces on the high seas and held hostage for 13 days, the west turned the other way and refused to retaliate.

And now this suicidal farce has reached its last act — with the west tragically still in appeasement mode. The west is now on the verge of handing to Iran on a plate what it once said was 'unthinkable'. Obama, Ashton and Cameron might as well go to Tehran and wave a white flag.

There are persistent if unconfirmed reports that a deal with Iran was stitched up long ago by the very radical Valerie Jarrett, Obama's most trusted and Iranian-born adviser.

Presented with unambiguous evidence of the Supreme Leader's genocidal prejudice towards the Jews of Israel, the Obama administration merely flapped the limpest of wrists. A spokesman said Khamenei's remarks were 'not helpful'...

We are indeed now facing the unthinkable. Not just that Iran is on the verge of being allowed to proceed to nuclear capability. The really unthinkable reality is that the enemies of the civilized world are not just to be found in Tehran. They are also in London, Brussels and Washington DC.
[Jewish World Review]

Ayatollahs, 1; West . . . Damned -Jonathan Tobin

Does anyone seriously believe Kerry's piece of paper will not act as a green light to the Europeans, who have been desperate to resume business with Iran, and cannot fail to interpret it as a sign they can ease up as well?  The president can pretend that he is still holding the ayatollah's feet to the fire. But now that he has normalized a regime that goes on sponsoring terror, threatening Israel and spewing anti-Semitic hate, there will be no reassembling the coalition against Iran even if he eventually comes to the conclusion that he has been, like every other diplomatic partner of Iran, fooled by them.

The president's campaign promise to end Iran's nuclear program is now officially thrown on the scrap heap of history. He can only hope that when Iran does choose to take the final step to a weapon he will no longer be in the White House or that Americans will have been so diverted by other concerns that no one will care or seek to hold him accountable.

[T]his is a dark day for the cause of international peace and security. Iran has got its long-sought Western seal of approval for a nuclear program that enhances its power immeasurably. The rest of the region and those elsewhere who are not deceived by this agreement can only tremble.

We don't know for how long the administration has been conducting the secret diplomatic talks with Iran or whether they were run by Obama consigliere Valerie Jarrett. But it's apparent that Washington's assumption that it couldn't make the ayatollahs give up their nuclear toys was a self-fulfilling prophecy.

By refusing to push them harder and by showing their willingness to accept far less than the minimum that would have ensured that a weapon was not possible, they gave the Iranians the confidence to stick to their positions in the talks.

[W]hat Kerry and other administration apologists are doing is turning the question of alternatives on its head. Instead of falsely implying that the only alternative to appeasement was war, he should be called to account for not exploring all the diplomatic and economic options that could have brought about a far more satisfactory result than the weak deal he signed.

Instead of avoiding war, what Kerry has done is to set in motion a chain of events that may actually make armed conflict more likely. It's not just that Israel must now come to terms with the fact that it has been abandoned and betrayed by its American ally and must consider whether it must strike Iran's nuclear facilities before it is too late.  Saudi Arabia must now also consider whether it has no choice but to buy a bomb (likely from Pakistan) to defend its existence against a deadly rival across the Persian Gulf. The Western stamp of approval on Iran will also embolden its Hezbollah terrorist auxiliaries and make it even less likely that Tehran's ally Bashar Assad will be toppled in Syria.

By deciding that the U.S. was too weak to stand up to Iranian demands, Obama and Kerry have put the Islamist regime in a position where it can throw its weight around in the region without any fear of U.S. retaliation.
[Jewish World Review]

Praise in Iran for Agreement - Thomas Erdbrink

People from across the Iranian political spectrum, including many hard-line commanders and clerics who had long advocated resistance and isolation from the West, told state news media that the deal that Rouhani's negotiating team had made was a good start.

"The nuclear negotiating team deserves to be appreciated and thanked for its achievement," supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said.    
(New York Times)

Netanyahu: Geneva Agreement "a Historic Mistake"

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Israeli Cabinet: 

"What was achieved last night in Geneva is not an historic agreement; it is an historic mistake. Today the world has become a much more dangerous place because the most dangerous regime in the world has taken a significant step toward attaining the most dangerous weapon in the world. For the first time, the world's leading powers have agreed to uranium enrichment in Iran while ignoring the UN Security Council decisions that they themselves led."

"Sanctions that required many years to put in place contain the best chance for a peaceful solution. These sanctions have been given up in exchange for cosmetic Iranian concessions that can be cancelled in weeks. This agreement and what it means endanger many countries including, of course, Israel. Israel is not bound by this agreement. The Iranian regime is committed to the destruction of Israel and Israel has the right and the obligation to defend itself, by itself, against any threat. As Prime Minister of Israel, I would like to make it clear: Israel will not allow Iran to develop a military nuclear capability." 
(Prime Minister's Office)

Iran Three Months Away from Bomb - Amos Harel

[A]s long as there is such sweeping international support for the interim agreement, an Israeli military option isn't in play, at least not at this stage.

The Hidden Cost of the Iranian Nuclear Deal - Michael Doran

I see the Iranian nuclear deal as a deceptively pleasant way station on the road that is the American retreat from the Middle East. By contrast, President Obama believes that six months from now, this process will culminate in a final, sustainable agreement.

On the nuclear question specifically, I don't see this as stage one. In my view, there will never be a final agreement. What the administration just initiated was, rather, a long and expensive process by which the West pays Iran to refrain from going nuclear. We are, in essence, paying Ayatollah Khamenei to negotiate with us. We just bought six months.

What was the price? We shredded the six UN Security Council resolutions that ordered the Islamic Republic to abandon all enrichment and reprocessing activities. And we started building a global economic lobby dedicated to eroding the sanctions that we generated through a decade of very hard diplomatic work. But the price that troubles me most is the free hand that the U.S. is now giving to Iran throughout the region. And Iran will now have more money to channel to proxies such as Hizbullah.

Six months from now, when the interim agreement expires, another payment to Ayatollah Khamenei will come due. If Obama doesn't pony up, he will have to admit then that he cut a bad deal now.
The writer, a senior fellow in the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings, served as a U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense and a senior director at the National Security Council.
(Brookings Institution)

Saudi Prince: "The Threat Is from Persia, Not from Israel"
- Jeffrey Goldberg

Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal told me, "There's no confidence in the Obama administration doing the right thing with Iran." Alwaleed believes that Iran will pocket whatever sanctions relief it gets without committing to ending its nuclear program.

I asked him if he thought the Arab states would actually back an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. "Publicly, they would be against it," he said. "Privately, they would love it." "The Sunnis will love it....The Sunni Muslim is very much anti-Shiite, and very much anti-, anti-, anti-Iran."

You're sure they loathe Iran more than they loathe Israel, I asked? "Look, Iran is a huge threat, historically speaking....The Persian empire was always against the Muslim Arab empire, especially against the Sunnis. The threat is from Persia, not from Israel."

Bad Agreement Likely to Get Worse - Mark Dubowitz and Orde Kittrie

The interim agreement...places more constraints on Iran's nuclear program than the deal that the Obama administration reportedly was prepared to sign two weeks ago. The Senate's threat to pass additional sanctions, France's objections to the initial deal, and Israel's fierce resistance to the terms of the proposed agreement seem to have played a role in providing U.S. negotiators with leverage to extract a better deal from Iran.
Mr. Dubowitz is executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Mr. Kittrie is a law professor at Arizona State University and a senior fellow at the foundation.
(Wall Street Journal)


Click HERE for AIPAC's statement on the Iran Deal
Click HERE for former Ambassador John Bolton's succinct summary on FoxNews
Iran's Nuclear Program Is Still Growing - Robert Satloff

The most consequential aspect of the Geneva deal is an apparent promise that, at the end of the process, Iran may be able to enrich as much uranium as it wants, to whatever level it wants. That emerges from language buried in the Joint Plan of Action concerning the parameters of a final agreement that is supposed to be negotiated over the next six months.

Washington is on record now agreeing that the final accord will allow Iran to enrich uranium, putting the last nail in the coffin of six UN Security Council resolutions calling on Iran to suspend its enrichment activities and providing a potentially huge payoff for Iran.

When viewed in combination with the outcome of the Syria chemical weapons episode, there is little doubt that America's threat of force has lost much of its credibility.
The writer is executive director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
(New Republic)

When the U.S. Let Iran Off the Hook - David Horovitz

 If the U.S. had been negotiating with a dependable and credible interlocutor, the Geneva deal might make a certain amount of sense. The problem is that Iran is not a dependable or credible interlocutor. It is, rather, a cunning and deceptive adversary, and the U.S. has let it off the hook.
(Times of Israel)

Key Implications of the Geneva Agreement on Iran's Nuclear Program 

  • Unprecedented international recognition of Iran's enrichment program - Under the Geneva agreement, Iran will retain its vast enrichment capabilities. For the first time, the international community recognizes Iran's enrichment program and agrees that it will not be rolled back - contrary to a longstanding policy enshrined in several UN Security Council resolutions.
  • International acceptance of the heavy water reactor in Arak - The elements of the comprehensive solution mentioned in the Geneva agreement lack any commitment to the dismantling of the Arak heavy water reactor, which is uniquely suitable for the production of military grade plutonium.
  • Current stock of low-enriched uranium will remain intact - Iran is allowed to preserve its current stock of about 7 tons of uranium enriched to a level of under 5%.
  • Iran will be able to easily reverse the measures taken under the agreement - Iran is not required to roll back or dismantle anything. Its nuclear infrastructure will remain intact, enabling it to resume full operations once it is politically convenient.
  • The military dimensions of Iran's program are completely absent from the agreement - The Geneva agreement does not contain any clear requirement from Iran to provide answers, access and information relating to the military dimensions of its nuclear program.
  • The agreement undermines the sanctions regime - The pressure of economic sanctions is what brought Iran to the negotiating table in the first place. Reducing sanctions without any real Iranian concessions is extremely counter-productive: Iran is now less likely to agree to any significant restrictions on its nuclear program.  
(Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)


LHwrites said...

This is an extremely difficult issue but these articles, while illuminating of the valid concerns of Israel, and the complexity of the situation, are not very accurate or helpful (at least some of them). It is ridiculous to blame Obama. France, who was heralded as Israel's savior a few days ago, signed on. Obama is a President during a difficult time. There is something called the 'will of the people' that, while Republicans seem content to ignore it and do whatever the %$#& they want, the President feels he cannot. Israel would've loved Obama to attack Syria and Iran. Thanks to the ill conceived war in Iraq, and the necessary but poorly handled war in Afghanistan, the American public has no stomach for Mideast conflict, regardless of what Israel and its supporters would like. Blame the Republicans who brought down Hussein, empowered Iraq, and drove our country into recession. Israel and its supporters had better find a way to go along with Obama and manipulate the process because war is not on the minds of Americans these days. By trying to force the issue, Israel risks turning the American people, who are generally for them, against them. Forget biased polls that say Americans support strikes against Iran. Ask Democrat and Republican Congress what phone calls they got in massive amounts when an attack on Syria was considered. Israel and its supporters can complain, moan, and carry on all they want, but if they want a better Mideast policy they should have been more intelligent in the past and explained to Bush while there was no love for Saddam Hussein, Iraq was not a problem and the stability of the region should not have been risked for nonsense and few rewards.

Bruce said...

The war weariness of Americans is besides the point. A President's job is to understand and to lead. He has demonstrated a complete lack of understanding and has not led.

The choice was not between war and THIS deal. Obama's stunning blunder is turning back on the flow of money before Iran did anything positive. And Obama's failure was not using his assets to press for a good deal.

Ken said...

A few columns Bruce accidently skipped:

The Geneva Agreement: Neither a “Historic Agreement” nor a “Historic Failure” by Amos Yadlin

How To Think About Obama's Deal with Iran, by Dennis Ross

Bruce said...

All three contributions are worthy pieces. While I am no fan of Dennis Ross (thankx for elevating Arafat and his organization to sainthood) Yadlin is a cogent thinker. He is more cautious than is necessary but understands the issues and dynamics in a sophisticated fashion.

Thank u for your comments.

Ken said...

This is another along similar lines.

Bruce said...

Interesting piece. There is no glass. It is neither full nor empty; no liquid at the halfway mark. Only the passage of time will reveal who is right...and who is to blame. And she insists on keeping her secrets. As you can see I am placing my bets that Iran is elevated by this deal and that their future as a nuclear state is set in motion by it.

Bruce said...

I think you'll be pleased that i used a small portion of the Ross article...not on this post, but on my newest post [under updates] titled: The Nuclear Dust Settles