Thursday, April 20, 2017

Trump's "Foreign Policy Trinity" Moves Against Iran

Trump's foreign policy trinity: Mattis, Tillerson & Haley
All have played major roles in shifting US policy against the Shia onslaught by Iran

U.S. Weighs Additional Support for Saudi Fight Against Iran-Backed Houthi Rebels in Yemen
- Gordon Lubold

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is considering a range of additional military support for Saudi Arabia's fight against Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen. After meeting with the Saudi king and other top officials in Riyadh, Mattis said that it's important for the U.S. to help "reinforce Saudi Arabia's resistance to Iran's mischief." The U.S. believes Iran is backing the rebels.

"Everywhere you look, if there's trouble in the region, you find Iran," Mattis said. "What we're seeing is the nations in the region and others elsewhere trying to checkmate Iran and the amount of disruption, the amount of instability they can cause." 
(Wall Street Journal)

Haley Wants Iran, Not Israel, at Core of UN's Middle East Agenda
- Kambiz Foroohar

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, who holds the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council for April, wants to use a monthly meeting on "the situation in the Middle East" to tackle Tehran's role in Yemen and Syria and its support for Hizbullah.

The U.S. seeks "to portray Iran as a criminal enterprise, not just as another bad country but as a rogue state that is engaged in horrible crimes across the region," said Suzanne Maloney, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. "We are moving from a position of accommodation to one of confrontation across multiple fronts." 


What North Korea Should Teach Us about Iran - Alan M. Dershowitz

The hard lesson from our failure to stop North Korea before it became a nuclear power is that we must
stop Iran from ever developing or acquiring a nuclear arsenal. A nuclear Iran would be far more dangerous to American interests than a nuclear North Korea. Iran already has missiles capable of reaching numerous American allies. They are in the process of upgrading them and making them capable of delivering a nuclear payload to our shores.

The nuclear deal as currently interpreted by Iran will not prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. In all probability, it would merely postpone that catastrophe for about a decade while legitimating its occurrence. This is not an outcome we can live with, as evidenced by the crisis we are now confronting with North Korea. 
The writer is professor of law, emeritus, at Harvard Law School.
(Gatestone Institute)

U.S. Says Iran's Link to Terror Could Scuttle Nuclear Accord
- Michael B. Marois and Nick Wadhams

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in a report to Congress, said President Donald Trump ordered his National Security Council to review whether to reimpose economic sanctions on Iran because of its continued support for terrorism. "Iran remains a leading state sponsor of terror, through many platforms and methods," Tillerson told Congress.



- Kelsey Sutton

President Donald Trump accused Iran Thursday of "not living up to the spirit" of the nuclear deal during a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni. Trump said again that it was "a terrible agreement" and that it "shouldn't have been negotiated the way it was negotiated....We're analyzing it very, very carefully, and we'll have something to say about it in the not-too-distant future."  

Iran on Notice - Lee Smith

Numerous federal agencies are carrying out a comprehensive review of Iran policy including the intelligence community, the State Department, the Treasury Department, Justice, and the Pentagon. The process is being managed by National Security Council staff. The debate over Iran appears to be between those who want to cut them off at the knees and those who want to knock their block off, with arguments over exactly how badly and when.

While the Trump administration sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan last week to certify that Iran is in compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action - the nuclear deal, this does not signal, a Trump official told me, that this White House has concluded the JCPOA serves American interests. Rather, certification is a placeholder during the review process, while the administration plans how to move forward on Iran.

This White House does not see Iran as a potential partner in regional stability, as a counterbalance to Saudi Arabia and Israel, as the Obama team did. Rather, it recognizes Iran is a very big problem, and the nuclear program is only one part of that problem. As Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last week, "We have to look at Iran in a very comprehensive way in terms of the threat it poses in all areas of the region and the world." 
(Weekly Standard)

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