Something brewing?

Recent events and, more important, recent statements give me the strange feeling that something is brewing.
That something, I have to stress,is not necessarily an Israeli strike.
It might as well be a big breakthrough in the US/Iran love story, (maybe the announcement of the engagement or the wedding?), if we keep this picture of two lovers who up to now had to meet in secret (Greetings to Luis who came up with this picture).

We had Bibi announcing that ‘Iran can enrich uranium from 3.5% to 90% in weeks’.
We had Debka telling us that Khamenei is in seclusion for three weeks and had not be seen in public since Oct. 5.
In an IOL-article titled “Israel will not bow to nuclear threat” the author tells us:
“It is unlikely that the negotiations with Iran will stop Netanyahu from ordering a strike if he concludes diplomacy has failed in providing security.

To the contrary, if there is one likely scenario that would push Israel to act, it would be the prospect of an imminent deal with Iran that would isolate Israel while not addressing the threat it sees emanating from Tehran.”

We had an ex-IAEA official’s warning that Iran is already past point of no return.

All this negative messages and the Israeli insistence on the comlete dismantlement of Iranian enrichment led the US to react, making clear that nothing will stop its current course, by having Kerry state: “I suggest that the idea that the United States of America as a responsible nation to all human kind would not explore that possibility would be the height of irresponsibility and dangerous in itself and we will not succumb to those fear tactics and forces that suggest otherwise.”
This was of course a thinly veiled message for Netanyahu.
The message is uncacceptable for Israel because it says that the US will continue negotiating with Iran even if the ultimate outcome will be unacceptable for Israel and, worse, the negatiations will drag on for quite some time and may even reach no deal at all.
And what then? In all likelyhood it will too late for Israel to act at that point in time and with Obavez unwilling to act there will be nothing to stop Iran.
This was reflected in Netanyhu’s welcome speech for the Nigerian President when he said about zhe negotiations: “Well, I am sure that for the Iranians they were useful and constructive, because they just win time to continue their enrichment program to create fissile material for nuclear weapons.”
That is why understandably the US is worried about an Israeli strike and that is why after the recent talk between Netanyahu and Obavez we had the White House calling in Jewish leaders for urgent Iran briefing.
Next we had the JPost telling us “IDF to host foreign air forces in major military drill next month” and the participants were not to be disclosed untill the drill begins.
We had the Algemeiner telling us “Israeli Air Force Re-Organization Aims for Expanded Capacity to Hit 10x as Many Targets”.
Excuse me, are they kiddng?
No military that is ready to engage in a certain big operation at any moment would announce to its enemies that they AIM for a certain capability.
You can safely assume that they HAVE ALREADY that capability and that this was a message to Hizbollah/Iran that the IAF, because of this capability, is fully capable of handling Iran and Hizbollah simultaniously and that they better behave or else Hizbollah will be pulverized without the IDF having to go in with ground troops.
This was a signal that the Hizbollah threat will in no way prevent an Iran operation.

Then we have the JPost telling us “White House urges Jewish leaders not to lobby for new Iran sanctions”.
We are hearing from the Times of Israel “Obama administration steps up top-level push to delay additional sanctions legislation set to go through Senate”.
The appeasement train goes full steam ahead and cannot be stopped.

And now we have telling us “Iran’s Basij forces to hold massive 10-step military drills”.

The more interesting details are:
“Iran’s Basij forces will tomorrow begin massive “Beytul Mugeddes” military drills in the country, deputy Basij commander, Colonel Nosratollah Saif said, IRNA news agency reported.

He said the exercises will be held in 10 steps, with 2-3 specific exercises executed each day, adding that the drills will be held in 5 provinces of Iran.

Saif added that “Asura”, “Kovser”, “Al-Zahra” and “Beytul Mugeddes” battalions will be participating in the drills.

Previously, Iran held the “Beytul Mugeddes” exercises in January 2013.”

To better understand the potential meaning of this it is necessary to remind us that the Basij are not forces designed to defend against external threats but that they are the thugs who are used to crush internal opposition and to protect the regime internally.

Let’s see. We have the IAF drills and the next Iran talks planned for November.
And while Khamenei is still in seclusion a major Iranian drill will not be conducted in Jan. but also in November.
Don’t know but I have the strange feeling that something is brewing.

The Foolishness of intelligent People

When one looks at history one sees often otherwise intelligent people doing stupid things. This is because there is a difference between intelligence and wisdom.
For even intelligent people are mislead by their passions, desires and ambitions or simply by the dark side.
Even intelligent people can be deceived or see only what they want to see.
A good example is this video. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND watching this video.
You will learn a lot about the geostrategic thinking behind the Iran policy of the US administration.
You will see two intelligent gentlemen from STRATFOR discussing the future of US/Iran relations in a very academic fashion.
I’ve noticed right away four obvious follies.
1. The idea that an appeased Iran would take the pressure by Hizbollah off Israel.
2. The idea that Russia wanted the US to become more involved in Syria.
3. The total absence of China (an important world power) from their discussion.
4. The total neglect of the ayatollah’s religious totalitarianism and its expansionist nature as well as their apocalyptical eschatology, not to mention their genocidal dreams with regards to Israel.

Nevertheless you will learn a lot from these two experts.
What is also obvious is, that these days the term “Grand bargain” and the idea of such a “Great bargain” is more and more floating around, when I showed in an earlier article that this idea was first brought up in public since at least February 2013 and that it was conceived much earlier although it was on no one’s radar at the time. This fact makes it clear that the US will never stop Iran from realizing its nuclear ambitions but it was decided long ago that the US will pursue appeasement of Iran.

I couldn’t find the original video, so I post this one which contains the complete video from STRATFOR.
The video begins at 02:35 minutes.

Taking the initiative

It has long been complained that the Saudis have way too much influence in Europe because of the European dependency on Saudi money and on Saudi oil.
The Saudi influence in Europe is indeed way too great and it has found its expression in the rapid islamisation of Europe, the creeping indroduction of Sharia courts in Britain, the appeasement of Islam, the oppressive use of political correctness, the systematic disinformation about islam and the suppression of free speech.
All this is true. All this is bad.
But why not use Saudi influence for something good for a change?
Anyone who cares about the Iran/Israel conflict cannot fail to notice that the focus of discussion has been almost exclusively the Israeli military option and various scenarios.
This obvious neglicence of the diplomatic and political options has come back to haunt us.
In the current situation the problem for Israel is not so much how to strike Iran militarily.
The problem is that the political circumstances (the appeasement negotiations with the West) make it diffcult for Israel to actually execute this plan and if it is actually executed the tremendous negative poltical consequences.
Israel cannot rely on the current US administration for support in the UN.
How could the Saudis help?
The Saudis have a shared interest with Israel to prevent a nuclear Iran and so they would love to see an Israeli strike on Iran.
Israel should seek the help of the Saudis who have a tremendous influence in Britain to use all their influence in Britain to ensure British support in the UN security council.
As permanent member of the security council Britain has the power to veto any anti-Israel UN resolution that no doubt would be put before the UN after any Israeli strike.
Israel should not wait passively but take the initiative to create the conditions that would enable a stríke.

A Time for War. Envisioning a nuclear Deal with Iran. Part 2

In the first part of this article I described the motivations of the main actors for a nuclear deal and how such a deal might look like.
In this second and final part I will explore the ramifications of such a deal for the players in the region and beyond.

The first most unlikely deal would mean a substantial reduction of American military presence in the region.
The second more likely deal would mean a de facto nuclear Iran which would be non-nuclear in name only.
But as you will see in the course of this article the second deal would also lead to a substantial loss of US influence in the region.

For the readers not familiar with my writings I want to make clear that ‘Obavez’ refers to the US president who reminds me in his style of goverment of Hugo Chavez.

The countries most immediately affected would be Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.
With the desastrous handling of Syria by the Obavez administration in mind and the ongoing attempts of Washington to sabotage the stabilization of Egypt these states have lost any trust in the US.
Knowing that they cannot rely on the US to protect them a quasi nuclear Iran would be a deadly threat to them.
Iran has tried to extend its influence in Gulf countries with a sizeable Shia population like Bahrain thereby destabilizing them and fanning unrest and tension.
With the need to protect themselves against further Iranian expansion or aggression as well as a nuclear attack they would try to aquire nukes themselves.
They would try to buy nukes from Pakistan but it is also conceivable that they would try to buy them from North Korea which seems unrealistic at first glance because of the Iranian partnership with the North Koreans.
But as the Saudis who are sitting on a huge amount of money are willing to pay any price to get nukes and the North Koreans are starving it is entirely plausible that they would sell them nukes if the price is high enough.
The possession of nukes alone would be not enough to defend them against the Iranian military and Irans regional ambitions.
We have also to keep in mind the Sunni/Shia conflict that has benn going on for more than a millenium, often erupting in bloody wars between the two denominations of islam.
And so it would be very likely that they would seek a strategic and even more importantly a defense alliance with another great power.
There are only two powers which come into question for such an alliance: Russia and China.
Contrary to their public declarations and their seeming reluctance to back sanctions against Iran the Russians are very happy with the current situation and would like to see it going on indefinitely if that were possible.
As a rival of the US and as an exporter of energy and weapons they profit in many ways from the current situation.
The tensions in the region help to keep oil prices high while the sanctions against Iran keep the oil supply artificially low thus allowing them to sell more of their oil at a higher price.
The tensions mean also that Iran and possibly other states are buying more Russian weapons systems.
Moreover these tensions mean that the US has to commit military and thus financial resources to ensure the stability in the region.
As a constant threat to US dominance the Iranians are very useful for their goal to reduce global US dominance and make such dominance for the US more costly which automatically increases their own weight as an adversary of the US.
An Iranian deal would mean the end of some of these economic advantages and it would also mean that Iran, while still serving as a means to threaten and reduce US influence and control in the region, would become more independent from Russia. Iran is not a proxy of Russia and it has its own regional ambitions.
This is not what Russia wants. While Russia wants to decrease US influence and control in the region it wants to increase their own influence and control thereby increasing their power and control over the world economy.
And so it is very probable that Russia would seek such an alliance with the gulf states. This would give them the advantage of controlling the region as well as starting an arms race in which they sell arms to both sides thus keeping both parties dependent on them and making a lot of dollars in the process.
While such an alliance would be possible it is unlikely because China would be a much more natural partner for such an alliance.
The Chinese have the advantage that they are no allies of Iran and that their interests are more aligned with the interests of the gulf states.
In 2011 60% of the Chinese oil imports came from the gulf region. As a rising economic and military power with constantly increasing energy demand they would want to keep this energy supply safe and they would also want to increase their presence, influence and control in the region.
A similar although not exactly the same case makes Zachary Keck in his article ‘China and Iran: Destined to Clash?’ published in ‘The Diplomat’.
This undoubtedly would boost the Chinese on their way to becoming the worlds next superpower and would give them huge economic power and might also endanger the status of the dollar as the worlds reserve currency.
This in turn would drive the Iranians back into the arms of the Russians. We could see a Chinese/Russian rivalry in the region. Whether this would erupt in war or not I don’t know but it would keep the tensions and thus the price of oil high.

The country that would be existentially threatened by such an outcome would be Israel but I will deal with that later for reasons which I hope will become obvious.
So, the next country affected would be Turkey.
In what only can be called suicidal stupidity the Russians have already signed an agreement to build the first Turkish nuclear reactor.
Granted, that is a far cry from building nukes but nevertheless it is a first steps and it seems that the Russians are happy with their historic adversaries getting nuclear weapons.
One shouldn’t forget that Russia and Turkey were always adversaries who fought several wars in their history.
Turkey would be the next country which would aspire to get nukes even if it is not threatened. With a mighty quasi nuclear Iran directly on its borders this would hardly leave them any other choice.
Not that Turkey wouldn’t want to get nuclear weapons. Quite the contrary. They would love to have nuclear weapons but up to now there is no justification that would cause the world to tolerate this.
But given these circumstances who could condemn Turkey for trying to get nukes or achieve a nuclear status that is equal to that of Iran?
Why would Turkey love to have nukes, you might ask.
The answer is very simple. With Turkey’s economic rise and the decline of Turkish secularism under Erdogan Turkey seeks a new identity which it finds in its past.
Turkey has always been a very nationalistic country. After Attaturk abolished the Khalifat islamic fanaticism was replaced by fanatic nationalism.
And so it is no wonder that Turkey wants to revive its glorious past of the Ottoman Empire.
It is no secret that Turkey has such aspirations and many countries which were once (against their will) part of the Ottoman empire were disturbed when Turkish foreign minister Davutoglu invoked Ottomanism as a new order for the Middle East.
It is stupidity of the highest order for the Europeans not to recognize the danger that lay in such aspirations if Turkey could get nukes as a consequence of Iran getting nukes.
It would not be only that Turkey wants to assert again its influence and control over the parts of the Balkans that once were part of the Ottoman Empire.
It would increase the prospect for war in Europe dramatically because of two conflicts that although not on the radar screen of the world are brewing for many years.
The conflict between Turkey and Greece has a long history and it was not that long ago that these two countries came to the brink of war.
In 1996 Greece and Turkey almost went to war over the tiny little uninhabited Imia island in the Aegean Sea. And while the world didn’t understand why this happened anyone who wants to understand can understand.
Turkey has been pursuing a longstanding aggressive policy of constantly challenging Greek sovereignity over the Aegean for many years by frequently violating Greek airspace and by constantly laying claims to territory that clearly belongs to Greece by international law or by existing treaties. In some cases Greek and turkish pilots of both air forces have been killed as a result of dogfights or of unexplained accidents.
This conflict has the potential to explode any moment.
The value of the tiny island of Imia was not the island itself but the right to the territorial waters surrounding it.
This conflict is part of a larger conflict invloving territorial waters, continental shelfs and ultimately the resources that are believed to be there.
It was just in recent years that the Israelis got a taste of such ‘friendly’ behaviour when the Turks send war ships near the newly found huge Israeli gas fields in the Mediterranean.
The other conflict is the conflict over Cyprus of which half is illegially occupied since Turkey invaded it in 1974.
It is bad as it is now, but a Turkey with neo-Ottoman aspirations and armed with nukes would definitely be a much greater danger.
If these two conflicts were to erupt into wars this could very likely ignite the whole Balkans which is the most volatile and unstable region of Europe.
Even ‘just’ a war between Greece and Turkey would be a catastrophy which would make the war in the former Yugoslavia make look like a picnic.

The big losers of any one of the deals I envisioned would be Europe, America and the West in general.
It would leave the world’s most important resources to three regimes which are not champions of liberty and human rights. It would give the the power to blackmail or control the world economy to Iran, Russia and China.
Due to its dependency to Mid East oil the West would be at the mercy of these three evil empires.
Evil empire sounds very strong you might think. America was up to now the world’s hegemon and it was often called the ‘benevolent hegemon’.
America is indeed the benevolent hegemon. Yes America has profited very much from its power but it treated the world better than any other hegemon in history.
In principle I have nothing against China becoming the next superpower. But only in principle. If you want to know how China behaves as a hegemon just look at Tibet.
The brutality and genocidal methods they use in oppressing a sovereign country they once invaded speeks for itself. Do I need to mention the way the communist Chinese rulers treat their people?
As for Russia and Iran, I don’t need to mention why these regimes are evil, I hope. If you have doubts in this regard, I can not help you.
I hear often from our American friends that America is energy independent or that it will become energy independent and therefore it doesn’t need to care anymore what happens to the Middle East.
I would love to see an energy independent America rather today than tomorrow but this view is naive to the extreme.
As long as the rest of the world is dependent and Middle East Oil it does matter a great deal who controls this oil and thereby a great deal of the world economy.
The US is not an autark island but it depends heaviliy on the rest of the world.
Just think of the immense external debt (2 Trillion $ +) of the US or the fact that the US depends heavily on imports of manufactured goods from China etc.
What would happen if Iran would block the flow of saudi oil from the gulf?
Oil prices would go trough the roof world wide. Yes, even in the US the oil price would go up because of world wide demand.
Unless the US would reintroduce protectionistic measures the price of oil would go up in the US as well.
All the economies which have to import oil would suffer greatly and experience a decrease of economic growth or recession.
This would not be helpful for the US, to put it mildly for the very simple reason that 20% of US exports go to the EU and US banks hold a substantial part of EU debt.  Do I need to remind you of MF Global?
I don’t want to even think of a European collapse which would most likely take the US down with it.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. It could also be the other way round. A US that is dependent on the influx of foreign money would be seriously in trouble when the countries from where this money comes get in seriuous economic trouble.
But it is not just the economic impact of such a scenario, it is the immense political power that is a result of controling these resources.
Russia is an energy independent country but they know the awesome power that comes with controlling the energy resources.
In Jabuary 1 2006, in the middle of the winter, Russia cut all gas supplies to the Ukraine.
This and other moves ensured that a Ukraine that wanted to be more independent from Russia came finally back to mother Russia.
Putin has shown, that he is an expert in using this power.
Why do you think the Russians, who are energy independent showed a keen interest in sharing in the exploitation of the newly found huge Israeli gas fields?
Till now I have primarily talked about the economic and political impact for the West.
But this should not let us forget the other dangers of an Iran that can breakout at any moment to produce nuclear weapons.
These dangers are wellknown, or at least they should be, but the world chooses to believe that the Iranians are rational and that even if they get nukes Iran could be contained.
Well, the world made wrong assessments about rational regimes before. The world made such an assessment 1933 when papers like the New York Times wrote articles and commentaries to that effect.
They even painted the Führer in a positive light. We all know how many innocent lives were wasted because of this. I certainly know because members of my familiy were among them and not only did some of them lose their life but many lost everything except their life.
Yes, maybe, maybe the Iranians are rational. But do we seriously want to try? Trial and error is fine when the cost of error is not so huge as in this case.
Do we want to gamble with the lives of millions? NO! NO! NO!

This brings us to the last country I want to talk about.
A deal where the US substantially reduces its military presence and influence in exchange for a non nuclear Iran and an acceptance of an Iranian hegemony in the region would be perhaps not an existential threat to Israel but as I said, such a deal is very unlikely, even for Obavez.
That leaves us with the second deal. The deal which would allow Iran to have the capacity to break out in a matter of weeks or even just one week, a de facto nuclear Iran.
As it is obvious such a deal is intolerable for Israel, not only because of a quasi nuclear Iran but because of nuclear states and an nuclear Turkey, all countries hostile to Israel.
In the long run Israel could not survive in such a scenario, even if they were not nuked because under their nuclear umbrella all this hostile countries could send their proxy forces more boldly then ever to destroy Israel, if not in one war then in many wars of attrition.
The reason why I mention Israel last is, because Israel is the only country able and willing to prevent a nuclear Iran and thus make many of the mentioned scenarios not to happen.
We are in the final moves of this chess game and there is a real danger that Israel waits too long.
Either the Iranians simply can play their rope-a-dope and finally get their nukes they so badly want or the pathetic, spineless and appeasing West makes a deal with them that would in effect lead to the same result with just a nice looking wrapping around it.
The biggest danger possible is not just that Israel would be isolated when attacking after a deal with Iran is reached.
I want to stress that the following consideration is highly theoretical and speculative and very improbable.
But nevertheless I want to say it.
The biggest danger is, that the world would condemn Israel as an aggressor, punish Israel with sanctions which would not be lifted unless Israel gives up its nukes.
This sounds crazy but we are living in crazy times and we have seen crazy things happening that none of us would have thought possible until Mr. Hope and Change arrived on the scene.
Therefore, Israel, don’t wait too long!

As the Bible tells us:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

The time for war is now.

With allies like this …

who needs enemies.
Turkey’s alleged exposal of Israeli informants in Iran shows how dangerous the Erdogan regime is.
Needless to say that the Saudis won’t be amused as well.
But it is not only Israel that experienced behaviour that you wouldn’t expect from an ally.
Time and time again has Turkey shown such behaviour in the past.
The newest such act is Turkey’s decision to buy Chinese missile defense systems instead of NATO systems.

The National Interest: Did Turkey Just Let a Chinese Trojan Horse into NATO?

Which reality is real?

We have conflicting assessments of the current situation.
While John Kerry sees the “Diplomatic window cracking open” Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi declares “Shipping out the [enriched] material is a red line for Iran,”.
So what’s there to negotiate?
In spite of the American reassurances that the US will negotiate with ‘eyes open’ and ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ such assurances are utterly meaningless  because the US so far have failed to give us a convincing answer what they will do if negotiations fail.
They have not given us a clear alternative other then lukewarm, wishy washy and ambigous talk about military options which are not talked about anymore anyway because one suspects strongly that they never were seriously considered.
And so, absent other alternatives, the US will have to accept any deal, even a bad one.
It boils down to this: Either have a credible alternative or spare us the whole circus.
Because Iran will not agree to any deal that satisfies the demands of the West, much less that of Israel.
Because in the end the West will have to do precisely that: accept a bad deal.
Of course they can always declare that no deal could be reached and go on to increase the sanctions because military action is out of the question.
The winners in this game can only be the Iranians because they have gained more months or even a half year or a year time during which they advanced their nuclear program full speed.
If Israel waits for this game to play out they will be clearly the losers. I don’t believe that they can wait that long. They shouldn’t wait this long. It’s too dangerous.

Trend: Kerry on Iran: Diplomatic window cracking open

UPI: Iran: Removing nuclear material is ‘red line’

How Iran will play the West on nukes

Excellent description of the Iranian strategy

The core issue, once again spelled out by Iran’s “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenei last week, is this: The Islamic Republic sees itself as successor to the defunct Soviet Union in the role of chief challenger to “American global hegemony.” It hopes to dominate the Middle East, and beyond it “the Muslim world,” with a narrative of jihad and eventual triumph of Islam.

To that end, Iran needs to champion the destruction of Israel to attract support from “Arab masses.” To consolidate its status as “a Grand Power,” in Khamenei’s words, the Islamic Republic also needs, again in Khamenei’s words, “complete mastery of nuclear science and technology” even if not it doesn’t build an arsenal of nuclear weapons at this time.


The Telegraph: Appeasement won’t reduce the peril of a nuclear Iran

Another good analysis of the Mullah’s goals and another example of a possoible deal.

As historic talks begin in Geneva, US senator Mark Kirk, a key author of sanctions against Tehran, urges David Cameron to follow Churchill’s example and demand that the regime abandons its illicit nuclear programme

The Writing is on the Wall

Like Israel the Saudis are the ones most immediately affected by a bad deal with Iran.They can see the writing on the wall.

Reuters: INSIGHT-Saudis brace for ‘nightmare’ of U.S. – Iran rapprochement

(Reuters) – 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.

Too painful

It is almost certain that Khamenei will not be willing to write off the billions of dollars that Iran has already invested in its nuclear program just for the end of sanctions but this news article reminds us how painful any deal, even a phony deal, with Iran will be.
The reason is simple. A regime that instigated hate with chants of ‘Death to America’ and ‘Death to Israel’ until very recently will have a very hard time to convince its hard core base that they suddenly will make a deal with the ‘Big satan’.
A regime that until very recently told us that nothing has changed under Obavez is now going to make an honest deal with the US?
It is one thing to tell the ruling elite in secret (like Arafat did) that the deal is simply a strategic move to reach the goal that has not changed.
It is another thing to convince the masses of fanatics that the regime itself has created that the ‘Big satan’ suddenly changed.
They cannot tell them in public that a deal with the US is simply strategic.
But maybe they can do even this. Maybe the West is stupid enough to ignore such public declarations and cling to the illusions that it needs to justify its utter appeasement and surrender.

sify news: Top Iran diplomat in hospital over US ‘misquote’