US Diplomacy Continues to be Invisible
No deal with Iran and weapons for Ukraine
Remember the Beatles’ song that went like this: “I read the news today, oh boy!”? To be sure there has not been much good news to savor recently, though notably, under the cover provided by the war in Ukraine’s domination of the news cycle, the Israel Lobby in the United States has been working harder than ever to promote the interests of the country that is most dear to its heart. It’s associated media arm has been ignoring the regular killing of Palestinians by Israeli security forces while also dismissing the ultra-violent incursion by the Jewish state’s police at one of Islam’s holiest sites, the al-Aqsa Mosque complex, during Ramadan prayers.
Recently, the Zionist focus has been most intense on one area: to kill the stalled negotiations over the renewal of US participation in the currently ineffective multiparty Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement with Iran to monitor its nuclear program and prevent its development of a weapon. Ironically, Israel, unlike Iran, already has an undeclared nuclear weapons arsenal that is even protected from exposure by US officials, who are not allowed to mention it in spite of the fact that its existence is widely acknowledged. Recently, Sam Husseini, a critic of the US pandering to Israeli interests, tweeted how “I recently contacted the offices of @IlhanMN, @AOC, @CoriBush, @RashidaTlaib, @SenSanders and 10 others asking if they would acknowledge that Israel has nuclear weapons. None would do so.” Not one of the fifteen, mostly describable as progressives, would even confirm that the Israelis possess such weapons, so terrified were they of even mentioning what the entire world knows to be true.
To be sure, the issue of what to do about Iran is certainly the number one foreign policy problem for Israel as it is the only regional opponent of the Jewish state that could reasonably be described as militarily formidable. For something like thirty years successive Israeli governments have been seeking to convince a number of gullible American presidents to treat the Islamic Republic as a serious international threat, which is ridiculous as Iran has neither the necessary resources nor a history of seeking to dominate even its own region. This Israeli persuasion has included manipulation of a bought and paid for Congress and media which support a steady flow of propaganda seeking to depict Iran in the most negative terms, intended to appeal to the American desire to frame its foreign policy in terms of “good versus evil” with the US/Israel always being good no matter what wartime atrocities they might commit.
One might reasonably observe that the pattern of “good versus evil” is also playing out with regard to Russia in Ukraine. Given such a faux ethically based worldview, the US rarely acts in terms of genuine national interests, witness the relationship with Jerusalem more generally speaking. Israel’s security service Mossad has as its motto “By Way of Deception Thou Shalt Do War.” With that in mind it has been hard at work fabricating “intelligence” that the Iranian leadership has initiated a secret nuclear proliferation program. A laptop that surfaced in 2004 through the dissident Iranian group MEK allegedly contained information regarding covert plans for an Iranian nuclear bomb. It was, however, revealed to be a clever Mossad forgery.
Israel has never quite convinced the White House to take the final step and make war directly against the Iranians, though it came close when a gullible Donald Trump ordered the assassination of senior Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, who was in Baghdad for peace talks in January 2020. But Israel has nevertheless managed to obtain what is apparently considerable covert CIA collaboration in its own semi-secret program to kill scientists and technicians that might be involved in nuclear research, while also hacking into and sabotaging Iranian computer systems and other infrastructure. Under Trump, CIA Director Mike Pompeo focused particularly on Iran, setting up a “special action group” to counter its presence and claimed “malign activities” in the Middle East. That task force presumably still exists under the current Director William Burns appointed by Joe Biden.
The Joe Biden Administration has long been dancing around re-joining the JCPOA, which was entered into under President Barack Obama in 2015. President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement in 2018, convinced by his neocon and hardline advisers that it would only provide Iran cover to ramp up its secret program and produce a nuclear weapon. Trump’s associates argued that JCPOA would actually make eventual Iranian acquisition of a nuke inevitable.
As of right now, the discussions on JCPOA in Vienna are at a standstill and appear about to break down completely, though some reports alternatively claim that a new agreement is within reach. The Iranians believe that the US is not negotiating in good faith and is failing to take even relatively minor steps that could lead to a reasonable understanding without compromising the vital interests of any of the parties involved. Those steps could include removing the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Force from the US terrorist list and releasing some frozen Iranian assets, while also cutting back on sanctions. It appears that Biden would actually like to renew the agreement, but his own associates at the State Department, whose top three officials are Zionists, as well as the powerful Israel Lobby are pushing against such a course of action.
In reality the JCPOA is in the interest of the United States, pledged as it is to stop nuclear proliferation, since it permits unannounced inspection of virtually all Iranian research facilities by UN officials. It would make attempted proliferation by Iran extremely difficult, even if an elaborate deception operation were attempted. Nevertheless, a number of the usual journalists and self-proclaimed “experts” continue to push the Trumpean neocon derived argument that the agreement would actually accelerate an Iranian nuclear weapons program. Think tanks like the Foundation of Defense of Democracies (FDD) and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) have been lobbying Congress and the White House assiduously, as have some conventionally conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation, which argues that reviving JCPOA would be a “dangerous mistake.” In a recent paper it maintains that “Reviving the deeply flawed Iran nuclear deal would reward and empower a hostile dictatorship by lifting sanctions and squandering US bargaining leverage. Iran never fully complied with the JCPOA and is currently in violation of it on several accounts. A much more restrictive agreement is necessary. A new agreement should include Iran’s ballistic missile program, disclosure of its past nuclear weapons efforts, and better protection for Israel and Arab allies.”
The Heritage paper is, of course, more speculative than fact-based and false in several respects, particularly the claim that Iran never fully complied with the agreement. Iran opened up to UN inspectors and it was the United States that continued with sanctions contrary to the intent of the original deal. If Iran were to abandon its missile program and provide “better protection” for Israel and select Arab states it would be basically surrendering its sovereignty in the area of national defense.
Another recent effort to attack JCPOA comes from an article written by two Israelis featured in The Atlantic magazine entitled “A Case Against the Iran Deal: Reviving the JCPOA will ensure either the emergence of a nuclear Iran or a desperate war to stop it.” One of the two authors is Michael Oren, until recently the Israeli Ambassador to the United States. The article’s title is self-explanatory and the argument it makes, largely based on what passes for Israeli “intelligence,” is that Iran has a secret weapons program and already has enough of enriched uranium to begin construction of a weapon within a few months. If its clandestine activities are in a sense shielded by a revived JCPOA, they will no doubt do just that, according to the authors.
Against the Israeli argument which, by implication, calls for war to disarm the Iranians, a sustainable inspection routine run by the UN would seem to be a preferable option but a number of Democratic Party Congressmen apparently do not agree and are pressuring President Biden to rethink his acceptance of the desirability of something like a rapprochement with Iran. Eighteen Democratic Congressmen, led by Josh Gottheimer and Elaine Luria, both of whom are Jewish, are pushing back against the Biden efforts, arguing that the agreement is flawed. Gottheimer added that “We need a longer and stronger deal, not one that is shorter and weaker. It’s time to stand strong against terrorists, protect American values and our allies.” Note the emphasis on protecting “our allies,” though one need not point out that there is only one ally in the region that matters to Washington politicians, particularly to folks like Gottheimer.
Republicans are also on board. They are expressing particular concerned because Russia is a signatory to the agreement and would be a guarantor of it, or at least that is what they are arguing to block any Biden effort to reengage. Pennsylvania Representative Brian Fitzpatrick, who is on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, remarked that he was very concerned about a new deal because “Russia should not be at any table with us right now. They’re committing egregious acts of terrorism and murder in a free democracy in Ukraine, in Europe right now.” That Fitzpatrick, on the Foreign Affairs Committee, should be so ignorant of actual US interests as well as regarding the nuances of the Russia-Ukraine conflict illustrates better than anything the abysmal level of ignorance that prevails in the federal government, leading to a collapse of what used to be called Diplomacy 101.
Finally, nothing better illustrates the disarray in US foreign and national security policy than a brief exchange that took place more than three weeks ago in Israel, where US Secretary of State Tony Blinken was trying in part to sell the possibility that the Biden Administration might actually re-enter the JCPOA. Israel of, course, strongly opposes that option, particularly if it involves any concessions to Iran, while Blinken’s State Department persists in repeating the Israeli line that Iran is the “world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism” while also asserting that “this administration’s commitment to Israel’s security is sacrosanct.” So, what did an obviously between a rock and a hard place Blinken do? He asked Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for suggestions of what might be arranged in lieu of an actual agreement. Naftali reportedly suggested harsher sanctions on Iran. When the US senior-most representative involved in crafting foreign policy feels compelled to ask the agenda-driven head of a rogue foreign government to tell him what to do, there is something very wrong in Washington.