Beyond the Cusp

July 13, 2015

Iran Deal Still a Step Away

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Apparently everybody who is paying even the slightest attention has figured out the Iranian ploy at the talks which presumably began with the premise of reining in the Iranian nuclear weapons research and imminent production along with reducing stockpiles of uranium and the nuclear related equipment starting with the centrifuges. There was also the necessity of forcing the Iranian leaders to come forth with all information of any military research had been done and experiments or development of related issues such as work on the nuclear trigger, compression sequencing which controls how the detonations are timed to maximize or control yield, and any work on making devices such as using a nuclear weapon for maximizing the EMP feasibility which makes a device which has a maximum Gama ray yield which results in a much lesser explosion but gives a yield of Gama radiation which can destroy all electronic devices for hundreds of miles, or neutron bomb which kills people and other living things but causes minimal damage to buildings and structures, the hydrogen bomb also called a thermonuclear bomb which uses an atomic bomb to trigger a fusion reaction which vastly increases the energy yield making the bomb many magnitudes more destructive and other specialty weapon based on the atomic bomb. Thus far the Iranians have walked back every proposal though initially it appeared that the Iranians were being overly cautious about their pushing and applying pressure to arrive at a better deal but as time approached the deadline for a deal the Iranians began to increase their demands for items to be weakened, removed or severely watered down. When they were still pressing for a number of such alterations to the agreement the United States gave the Iranians the greatest gift with still weeks left before the set deadline for an agreement, they proposed the deadline be pushed six months further into the future, a change in the rules even the Iranians had not pressed believing that the much vaunted and threatened military option was removable from the table and put into use, an action which likely troubled Tehran but after the first extension the Iranians realized there was never going to be anything beyond endless negotiations and they could relax and run the clock out repeatedly with last minute demands which also garnered them the most results and then the extension to a new date. With President Obama desperate for a deal, any deal, the Iranians assumed their position in the catbird seat and began to drive the agreement over the cliff, through the woods and so far beyond reasonable it could only be phrased as they took things beyond the cusp into a place where only the strangest of things occur.

 

Deliberations continued and the six month extensions were coming along just fine and the Iranians had mastered their technique of not even bothering to negotiate for five of the months and then being impossible arrogant demanding several rewrites of entire sections of the agreement when President Obama and team made their next present to the Iranians as they feared an agreement might not be reached before President Obama leaves office, a consideration too horrific for President Obama to contemplate. The extension went from half a year to months to half a month to weeks and on to days and now it appears the deadline is reaching being extended the few hours or even less as team Obama are turning frantic. The deadline is now a permanently flowing target which remains just out of reach just as the end of Iranian demands also never quite ends. It is like an inside joke a friend and I have which fits so I guess this will introduce a new phrase which now fits the negations to a tee, we call it the “one more door” situation which came from playing one of those computer adventure games where there is always that next door or level to reach and it was getting late but one of us, not me, insisted on continuing through the next door thus the phrase, “one more door” syndrome. This is where the negotiations have reached as even when the news gets to the media that an agreement has been completed, then the Iranians bring the next “one more door” alteration, refinement or outright demand. The latest of these was yesterday when an agreement was presumably reached and then the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters from his hotel balcony, according to the Reuters news agency, “We still have got work to do tomorrow. No deal today.” So the deadline pushing continued and on to the next door.

 

This time the demand is another big one; it will push President Obama into that position where he is all but guaranteed to fail, crossing a red line he promised would never be crossed without grave and serious consequences and possibly a deal breaker resulting in the possible use of the military option which, as we have been told ad-nauseum, is still on the table. Yes, we know it is still on the table and are suspecting it is irremovable from said table. We have also heard that the deal they are working on is over a hundred pages in length, probably so Nancy Pelosi will run around screaming that the agreement must be ratified so they can find out what is in it. You have to love politicians of both parties as they make their actions so easy to ridicule just as George H. W. Bush claimed during his campaign a promise that likely guaranteed he would not be reelected when he crossed that red line and caved in after pledging, “No new taxes.” His only defense was to obfuscate the issue claiming he did not allow a “new” tax by just a necessary raising of already existing taxes in order to get his budget passed. That dog did not walk and he lost the election to Bill Clinton and the rest is a confusing mass of Hillary later on.

 

Back on track here. The latest demand from the Iranian side is for the agreement to abrogate and nullify not just the United Nation economic sanctions which were levied for offences having nothing to do with the Iranian nuclear issue but stemmed from Iranian interferences in Lebanon and Syria and against others using proxies such as Hezballah that Iran necessarily needed to be refrained and have her fangs dulled. This brought economic sanctions which Iran has already been given relief from in the agreement but also had imposed weapons sanctions on Iran which was done in part to prevent Russia from selling Iran the S-300 series (NATO names SA-10 Grumble) anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems, considered one of the preeminent anti-missile systems at the time especially effective against cruise missiles and one of the main reasons the United States pressed to prevent the sale by going to the United Nations and forcing the arms embargo onto the Iranians. Now the Iranians are insisting that the arms embargo also be lifted and annulled. The fear now is by lifting the arms embargo which also technically forbid Iran from providing weapons to other entities such as in Yemen currently not to mention Syria and Hezballah, both of which Iran has simply ignored any restrictions and often got around them by paying for weapons ordered presumably by other entities. Now Iran is insisting the arms embargo also be lifted. The way these negotiations are going one might conclude that by the time there is an agreement it will be approaching a thousand pages and the last six or seven hundred pages will constitute items that the United States and Europe give to Iran simply because we all desire to be friends and Iran could be so much more friendly with ‘X,’ ‘Y,’ and ‘Z.’ With the deadlines now so fluid that they simple fold under each suggestion that Iran needs a few more hours, nay, minutes to think up their next insignificant concession and surrender that I would not be surprised if by the time the deal is sealed and signed the United States will have surrendered Guam, Midway and the Hawaiian Islands to Iran in exchange for their good intentions and possibly the Bikini Atolls for testing purposes, why stop at reasonable and even absurd on this agreement and not go to completely ludicrous, after all, you are now entering the Beyond the Cusp Zone, or at least Secretary of State Kerry and his team of folding negotiators have gone there and unfortunately will come out the other side proclaiming while raising a very heavy multi-thousand page agreement overhead, I hold here a small book with President ‘Smiling Cheshire Man’* Rouhani’s signature on it bringing us “Peace in our time.” Can this entire boondoggle get any more ridiculously, incredulously ludicrous? I believe it can though exactly how is beyond my ability to reason or divine, can you? Make your prediction, if you like, as to what may end up being the last demand the Iranians will make that President Obama will grant as when it comes to Iran the President just cannot say no. Perhaps the Americans can restart with a twist the Nancy Regan War on Drugs campaign and start demanding of the White House, “Just say ‘No!’”

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

* See yesterday’s article for definition and picture representing the ‘Smiling Cheshire Man’ reference.

 

 

October 11, 2012

Will Obama Attack Iran as an October Surprise?

It is almost universally accepted that Mitt Romney pretty much beat President Obama mercilessly in the first of the three Presidential debates. Tonight is the Vice Presidential debate which usually would garner little interest except for the hard core political hounds like us, but this one has had a larger build-up. Some are predicting a bland though fact and number filled performance by Congressman Ryan and others are calling for a count the Uncle Joe gaffes. Either way, this may be an exception for Vice Presidential debates, but I am not expecting anything near to the reactions to the results from the first Presidential debate. What is a promise is that the remaining two Presidential debates will likely draw even closer scrutiny from an even larger television viewing audience that even the near record setting first debate. The first of the remaining Presidential debates will cover domestic and foreign policies and be of a general nature with the final third debate focusing solely on foreign policy. That final debate could very well also be a must win, crucial, last chance for the Obama campaign if the numbers continue on their recent trending and the debates continue to showcase a side of Romney which belies all the accusations and denunciation thrown at him by the Super PAC advertisements. This may place President Obama needing a complete knockout performance in the final debate which is in an area where he is extremely vulnerable.

Yes, I am aware that President Obama single handedly went in and took out al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, but that one decision and action does not a foreign policy make. With all the dust-ups between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu as well as almost anything that concerns Israel will be examined and used to exemplify President Obama’s foreign policy shortcomings. One can be pretty sure that every single time President Obama has bowed before another World Leader or misspoke or things did not go as well as we were led to believe will all be run in loops in political commercials. What this writer fears is that President Obama may feel that before the final debate, which will concentrate on foreign policy, he might try to find a decisive foreign policy move which would erase all the ill will that has been perceived between he and Israel and make a definitive statement that President Obama is a leader who takes on foreign problems by grabbing the horns and doing what must be done. There is one move that could be used to show that there really is no space between President Obama and the Israeli leadership and that the United States under President Obama truly does have Israel’s back. President Obama could order between the second and final debate a full, all-out multiple sorties strike on almost all of the Iranian nuclear sites which tactically could be struck without causing massive civilian casualties and other collateral damage to non-military targets in the surrounding vicinities. It is unlikely that should President Obama contact the Israeli leadership and offer to make a joint strike provided it be carried out before the last debate that Prime Minister Netanyahu and many of the others within the Israeli leadership who have called for striking Iran earlier rather than later would look a gift horse in the mouth. As Prime Minister Netanyahu has stated repeatedly when pressed to take a side on the Presidential elections, he has no dog in the fight and will work with whoever is elected to be the next President of the United States. Prime Minister Netanyahu has gone to great lengths to minimize publically any disconcerting thoughts or doubts he may have had over actions taken by President Obama and has kept any differences between the two of them and kept such differences out of the press. Unfortunately, this has not prevented many in the liberal press from playing up the angle that the Israeli leader does favor one side over the other and has actually acted in a way to influence the elections for President. The proof has been that he received Mitt Romney when he visited Israel very graciously and with respect and full honors one would show a potential next President of the United States. They claim that the way Prime Minister Netanyahu reacted to Romney was in complete contrast to the way he has treated President Obama during the campaign. The one small fly in the ointment of this comparison is that thus far during the campaign, President Obama has not visited Israel. Truth be told, President Obama has not visited Israel since before he was elected to the office of President. President Obama has made numerous trips to the Middle East, throughout Eastern Europe, but has not stopped in Israel in all of his travels. So, how the press anywhere can compare the treatment shown to Mitt Romney to that shown a President who has not actually visited Israel is beyond real. I would stake everything that should President Obama visit Israel he would be given, at the minimum, treatment that would easily match that shown Mitt Romney.

I am also fairly certain that if President Obama were to visit Israel and in a private meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu and the inner cabinet, or whoever is necessary to make a decision concerning Iran and their nuclear program, and presented a full and complete set of plans for a United States strike on the Iranian nuclear sites and requested reasonable assistance from Israeli forces and resources, the Israelis would likely review the plans quickly and offer every assistance requested and beyond. I am concerned that such a scenario of just this type may become reality should President Obama feel the necessity of such boldness to reaffirm him as a President who takes actions that are necessary, just as he made the call on Osama bin Laden. I can assure you that the Pentagon and the Israelis have likely even discussed different scenarios and reached accords on who would be responsible for what and all the particulars and planning has been gone over numerous times. The one thing both American and Israeli militaries do is make plans for virtually any scenario or possibility no matter how obscure or improbable the scenario may be. This pretty much assures that both countries have numerous plans all completely fleshed out with all consequences and alternatives fully defined and accounted for. This would make a decision by President Obama to take action against the Iranian nuclear sites, with or without Israeli assistance, cooperation, or support; this would be fully operational likely within forty-eight hours and very likely almost immediately. My bet is that the assets have been in place for such a strike for quite some time now and have likely been briefed repeatedly on the most likely of sorties that would be incorporated in such a strike. That leaves one question, would President Obama use a cooperative strike on the Iranian nuclear sites with Israeli cooperation? My fear is should President Obama be facing a nearly guaranteed defeat in the election and the polling and other predictive sciences all pointed to an attack upon Iranian nuclear sites, especially if Israel were included and assisted, was extremely likely to affect the elections sufficiently to produce his reelection, then the President might avail himself of just such an option. Should President Obama actually travel this route, then the question that must be pondered is whether or not the American voting public is really that easily swayed by such a shallow and obvious act? Let’s hope we never need to find out, though ridding the world of most of the Iranian nuclear sites definitely qualifies as a positive event, it would still be much preferable that it was carried out as a serious reaction to the threat a nuclear armed Iran would pose to the world and not as a campaign event to win votes.

Beyond the Cusp

September 19, 2012

Iran, Obama and Inertia

There have been countless articles and discussions about President Obama, the Ayatollahs, Iranian President Ahmadinejad, Israel, and Prime Minister Netanyahu. There are numerous predictions and explanations and we may as well jump in as well. The real standoff that is the most important has almost nothing to do with the Iranian Ayatollahs or President Ahmadinejad but between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and largely United States President Obama and the Europeans whose passive approach is due to their almost psychotic avoidance of the use of force and their lack of significant military options being available. The world may as well just tell the Europeans that their assistance will not be required unless they care to demand a part in any actions which may become necessary and allow them to take a seat and leave the discussion. That leaves the only two forces which have an option beyond talking the problem to death, Israel and the United States. So, where do these two sides stand going forward, especially concerning the plan for preventing the Iranians achieving nuclear weapons capability which both leaders have stated publicly they will definitely not allow.

Determining Israeli Prime minister Netanyahu’s position is pretty straight forward; he has stated that an Iranian nuclear weapon is an existential threat to the continued existence of the nation and the people of Israel. His position is actually supported by the Iranian Ayatollahs and President Ahmadinejad who all have stated on numerous occasions that they mean to develop any and all weaponry necessary for them to annihilate all of Israel and then continue on to finish the job of killing every Jew on Earth. The one statement heard in reference to the Iranian threats which rings true, unfortunate but true, has been that when anybody threatens to kill Jews, any Jews, it is best to take them at their word and then move Heaven and Earth to prevent their efforts. What is also true is that one of the founding ideas about Israel to Jews, and especially Zionists, is that finally there will be a nation which will fight the fight when it becomes necessary to save the Jews from the next Holocaust. No other country would or will make that promise and keep it for all time, and that is something every Israeli knows deep in their hearts. Israel is the hope that Jews in the Diaspora look to when things turn bad and they are in need of saving. This was true for the Jews who survived the Holocaust in Europe, true for the refusenik Jews of the Soviet Union, true for the Jews when they were being set upon in Ethiopia, true for Jews for the many centuries since the Roman dispersion of the Jewish people in an attempt to end their existence for all time, and will remain true for every Jew anywhere who is facing threats of any nature. This is part of the responsibility which Netanyahu and many other of the Israeli leadership are extremely aware and it is an intricate and vital piece of the puzzle.

President Obama is not as personally involved or attached in any visceral means to the Iranian situation. His position is not even as deep as it may have been to numerous other Presidents of the United States as he does not consider the United States to be the defender of freedom and liberty or as the country which has a responsibility to lead from the fore. To President Obama the situation with Iran is predominantly an Israeli problem first and only remotely a direct threat to the United States. The only challenge Iran poses to the United States is should they gain ascendancy in the Middle East they would have control over much of the world’s oil reserves which would pose to inflict economic uncertainty for much of the world and especially Europe and thus the United States. President Obama is also in the unenviable position of having to support Israel as well as the other Middle East countries such as Saudi Arabia and the members of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) which all feel some degree of threat from a nuclear armed Iran. President Obama is also facing some pressures from the American public to take whatever actions may be necessary to prevent the further proliferation of nuclear weapons, especially in reference to Iran and the Ayatollah and Ahmadinejad. The pressure from these voters has to be tempered with the fact that the majority of these people are not his supporters and thus can be slighted as long as President Obama can speak the part and give those supporters who need reassurance that he understands their concerns, even if he has little intention of ever taking actions. From all appearances, President Obama has one overriding concern vis-à-vis Iran and the entire Middle East, push it off until after the elections in November. Beyond the election, it is difficult to measure President Obama concerning the entire issue as one has to also measure how much of his bristling is due to his dislike of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and how much of his reluctance is due to his innate abhorrence to taking action without exhausting every possible angle and option first. The problem with President Obama’s avoidance to commit to a military option is that Iran will not slow down come anything short of being forced and left absolutely no other option. From appearances, that is going to take the same kind of resolve that was required to put an end to the piracy by the Ottoman Barbary Pirates, but then President Obama is no Thomas Jefferson.

What everybody wants to know is what will happen going forward and there are likely as many scenarios out there as there are articles, so no predictions this article, just probabilities. As things stand at the moment, President Obama will go to whatever lengths it takes to submarine the Israelis in any attack they may plan on implementing. This has already become established fact and was made obvious by the numerous leaks from members of the Obama administration that have revealed any plans or preparations the Israelis have made. So, if the Israelis are going to take any action of any sort, one can bet that there will be no notification made to the United States out of necessity. The only possible indication that the Israelis may be considering an attack would be the still calm and quiet that often comes before a storm. Most people would say that the first sign that the United States would take military actions to end the Iranian nuclear program would be the election of somebody other than Obama as President in November. Actually, there is another case which may trigger the United States to take military action, the infamous October surprise that many political commentators keep claiming is to be expected every single Presidential election cycle. There is the possibility that should President Obama find he is losing measurable support, the election doubts are reaching desperation levels and the Iran issue has risen to the point of near boiling, then President Obama might come to the conclusion which has been beaten to death over the years, that the United States always rallies to the support of a President at war. Thus, President Obama and his advisors might decide to take the military option off the table and place the blame squarely with the Iranian Ayatollahs and President Ahmadinejad who were willing to sacrifice their nation and people in an insane race to make weapons of mass destruction with intent to actually use them. Reelection may not be the best of reasons for attacking the Iranians and destroying their nuclear weapons program, but then many might believe that any excuse is better than taking no action and allowing Iran to attain nuclear weapons capabilities. What the question should be is whether the actions taken were sufficient to assure that Iran not only does not attain nuclear weapons capability in the near turn, but that there has also been a change in the views of the Iranian leaders to not pursue nuclear weapons any time in the future. If reaching that goal means a new government in Iran, then removing the current leadership should be included as one of the goals. There is no needs to nation build, simply allow for any remaining leadership from the election demonstrations in 2009 to form an interim government and allow for elections and new governance. As much as I despise the United Nations, this would actually be one of the reasons that that organization was formed, but perhaps it might be prudent to have some combination of NATO and the United Nations to work together to assure the elections and formation of new governance is carried out fairly and without any corruptions. The one result that must be prevented is a nuclear armed Iran which would use their nuclear threat to protect their surrogate terrorist entities and loose them on the world, particularly Israel, the United States, Europe, the other Western nations and eventually Asia and possibly any country not under Islamic rule, possibly even any country not under Shiite Muslim rule. That is what is at stake here at the worst of options. The other result almost as equally foreboding would be a Middle East replete with numerous nuclear powered nations bristling and threatening each other and the rest of the world. So many evilly bad things start with a nuclear armed Iran that it boggles the mind with a fright of an unknown that can only produce evils.

Beyond the Cusp

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