Beyond the Cusp

September 27, 2015

When the Good Are Leaderless


This week has proven how absolutely horrific the world scene can turn when the Western governments are leaderless and not only do not have a policy but don’t even have a clue. The United States State Department has released statements explaining their expectations that Secretary of State Kerry will hold meetings with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during the ceremonies this week at the United Nations to discuss the situation in Syria, to discuss what role the United States might play towards stabilizing the situation and combatting the Islamic State. This is the end result of Washington leading from behind. The full ramifications has yet to even begin to play out as to the far reaching effects of the surrender of any leading role by the United States over the past six plus years of the Obama foreign policy. Further tokens being cashed due to the lack of American presence, let alone leadership, will be the handing of seventy-five Russian tanks from Syrian forces to Hezballah in order for the latter to form a core around which to build an armored division. These tanks will be T-55 and T-72 models which make them outdated compared with the United States Abrams or the more modern Israeli Merkava IV tanks currently deployed by the two Western militaries, but when compared to no such force these are a definitive step up towards fulfilling the Hezballah desire to field heavy armor units. Further there are plans for Russian and Iranian tank commanders to train Hezballah in the best tactics and use of these assets. This news comes fast on the heels of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu meeting with Russian President Putin in Moscow where Netanyahu received Putin’s guarantee that Russian forces currently being deployed in Syria were there to provide a positive influence and not to alter the balance of power. This news of the gifting of heavy main battle tanks, no matter how dated, to Hezballah is not what one might call having no deleterious effects on the current balance of power.


United States Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, top American negotiator for the Iranian nuclear deal, was quoted according to The Associated Press on Friday that the Obama administration is ready to open a dialogue with Iran about the situation in Syria. This comes on the heels with an Administration signaling their readiness to soften their position on the requirement for Bahir al-Assad to be removed from power in any progress in ending the carnage on the ground in Syria. Additionally the Administration has fully admitted their having no priorities nor plans for addressing the Islamic State and that the United States was taking a back seat and simply providing assistance behind the clearer vision provided by Iran and Russia as to what will be the most advantageous manner in which to address the Islamic State. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reportedly made it patently clear to America in the past that their assisting in taking the lead in fighting the Islamic State was predicated on their continued support for al-Assad and that the United States demands for his removal were a dead issue. It now appears that the Obama Administration is ready and willing to surrender on this issue and will be satisfied to once again to lead from behind.


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has made it clear previously stating, “The United States’ ‘obsession’ with Assad isn’t helping in the common fight against the threat from Islamic State… People put the fate of one person whom they hate above the fight against terrorism. Islamic State can go ‘very far’ unless stopped, and air strikes alone are not going to do the trick. If people continue to acquiesce with what is going on and continue to acquiesce with those who categorically refuse to start the political process until Bashar Assad disappears, then I’m not very optimistic for the future of this region…”



Storm Brewing and Time to Ride the Storm Out

There is a Storm Brewing and the Time Has Come to Simply Ride the Storm Out



That is as straight a manner of stating that in Syria things will be done as benefits Russia if anything is to be done with their taking the lead. This was as definitive a ‘my way or the highway’ get ‘out of town’ reading of the riot act and exactly what can be expected from President Putin as a reaction to the complete lack of United States initiative. This lack of United States policy is a large part responsible for why Egypt and Israel have both had to meet with Russia’s Putin to receive any assurances that the plans for the Middle East were not planning on eclipsing their future and stake in the Middle East and Northern Africa. Still, this lack of leadership by the United States will leave Israel in a compromised position for as long as she remains beholden to the United States as her life raft. Perhaps it would have been wiser for Israel to have read the tea leaves and departed Obama back when doing so had advantages which are no longer in play.





The best path left for Israel is to watch the upcoming elections in the United States with great interest and care and plan for either eventuality when the results are in. It would be unwise to aggravate an already untenable and shaky situation any further and probably best to attempt to prevent any further daylight to come between the allies and hope to ride the storm out. In the meantime Prime Minister Netanyahu should prepare to defend his attitude when opposition forces within the Israeli government such as Yair Lapid make as much out of this delicate balancing act. The one advantage for Netanyahu is that the Israeli electorate more than likely trust Lapid even less than they do Bibi. The one truth is that Bibi has attached his wagon to the United States and declared his decision to ride out the remaining year and a half in order to see what makes its way into the White House starting January of 2017. Bibi is betting that closer relations will become presentable with the next administration and the Israeli public appears to be along for the ride for now. This could result in a bumpy ride and make for an interesting next election cycle in Israel. Until then it is batten down the hatches and keep on riding the storm out.


Beyond the Cusp


August 7, 2013

Obama Likely Considering Tragic Error in Iran Policy

The writing is appearing on the wall as new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani introduces the idea that Iran is ready to negotiate and do so with a new openness stating, “As the president of the Islamic republic, I am announcing that there is the political will to solve this issue and also take into consideration the concerns of the other sides We are the people of interaction and talks, with seriousness and without wasting time, if the other sides are ready.” Quoted by the Agency France Press (AFP), President Rouhani also proclaimed, “”Iran’s peaceful nuclear program is a national issue… we will not give up the rights of the Iranian people. We will preserve our rights based on the international regulations. In Iran, nobody has said we will give up uranium enrichment, no one and at no time. He also took a swipe at the United States complaining that Washington was sending “contradictory messages” with the White House claiming they are a “willing partner” desiring genuine talks while the U.S. Senate urging tougher sanctions. He added talking to AFP, “Recent declarations from the White House show that some U.S. officials do not have a correct and realistic assessment of the situation here and the message that the Iranian people gave in the election. They are still sending contradictory messages. We care about the U.S. response in deeds, not in words.” The new Iranian President denounced the letter calling for stronger sanctions to be placed on Iran received by the White House recently from seventy-six Senators claiming, “The interests of a foreign country and the will of a certain group have been imposed on U.S. lawmakers, who do not serve the interests of the United States.”


Taking a supportive view of the Iranian statements offering a fresh and new approach to the negotiations over the Iranian nuclear program was the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who told AFP, “I think these ideas contradict the fundamental interests of the international community. These are dangerous games and we hope reason will prevail.” Furthermore, in complete agreement with Iran, Foreign Minister Lavrov strongly criticized as well the letter signed by the seventy-six United States Senators sent to the White House calling for tougher U.S. sanctions until the promise of more constructive engagement proved to be validated, saying that it was in the interests of the whole world to respond positively to Rouhani’s talks offer. AFP further quoted the Russian Foreign Minister protesting, “These are dangerous games and we hope reason will prevail.” Lavrov claimed it to be “extremely important” that the group of Five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council Plus Germany, aka P5+1, to take the new approach emanating from the newly elected Iranian leadership and hold a fresh, new and open negotiations as soon as possible.


That is a rather broad front supporting resetting the entire negotiations over the Iranian to square one ignoring all of the previous obstructions, prevarications, equivocations and outright lies that have been the main fare of the Iranian negotiations as well as the basis of their dealing with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) since the very start. To relent and suffer the restart of negotiations would be to completely ignore the salient fact that President Rouhani was the leading negotiator for Iran at these very same negotiations over the Iranian clandestine nuclear program and he could very honestly be credited with being one of the originators of the oblique and circuitous negotiation technique that has continued to the present. To believe his words of encouragement would be to once again fall for his proven practice of say one thing and mean the opposite for which he gained some amount of reputation during his period of representing Iran at these very talks. Still, if anything could be said to give credit to President Obama, it must be said that he holds a strong proclivity to give second, third and even fourth chances in all the wrong situations.


Sometimes President Obama’s actions in negotiations with the enemies of the United States, the Western World and our way of life, he seems to have infinite patience and a level of accommodations to show favor granting them every possible benefit believing even the most ludicrous of claims. It is that track record that has some fully expecting President Obama to take Iranian President Rouhani’s and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s advice and grant the Iranians the benefit of a fresh start and may even go as far as to provide Iran some amount of relief from the current level of sanctions but will, at a minimum, not choose to increase the level of sanctions for as long as he is able to hold off the demands of the Congress and the American people. The additional fact that Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s colorfully described newly elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani as “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” will only redouble President Obama’s irresistible need to grant the Iranian leader as many fresh, new chances as he requests until overwhelmingly pressured by the Congress, the American people, and realities beyond any ability to ignore. The actions by President Obama beg one to inquire why exactly he appears ready to go to any length to guarantee that Iran is permitted adequate time to complete their efforts to join the nuclear club despite the evidence of what ends Iranian Supreme Leader intends to pursue once they have the weapons they continuously tell President Obama they are not researching. Some things just boggle the mind beyond any capabilities for logic to explain, yet explain them we must try.


Beyond the Cusp


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