Tuesday, October 01, 2013
Peace In Our Time
President Obama's latest diplomatic foray involves 'engagement' with Iran over its illegal nuclear program.
During his recent speech to the UN General Assembly, the president said unambiguously that the U.S. was not seeking regime change in Iran, and spoke about pursuing 'the diplomatic path'. According to President Obama, he was basing this on Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, who President Obama characterized as "having received from the Iranian people a mandate to pursue a more moderate course", on Rouhani's committment not to build a nuclear weapon and on a fatwa against nuclear weapons issued by Iran's Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei.
The press absolutely jumped on this.NBC News reported that this was “the first time leaders from the U.S. and Iran have directly communicated since the 1979 Iranian revolution.”
The always servile AP reported that Rouhani's speech to the UN was 'absent anti-Israel rhetoric' ( it clearly wasn't) , while CNN went so far overboard as to perform what appears to be a deliberate mistranslation of President Rohani's remarks to make it appear that, unlike his predecessor, he condemned the Holocaust.
But all that aside, let's look at the shiny , new diplomatic track President Obama, his media allies and his foreign policy team are so enthused about.
First of all, Hassan Rouhani isn't Iran’s leader in any sense of the word. Iran is a villayat e' fiqh, an Islamic theocratic dictatorship, just as the Ayatollah Khomeini envisioned. Iran's dictator is Supreme Guide Ayatollah Khameneni, head of the Supreme Council of Guardians. It is Khamenei and the Guardians who vet all candidates for office and decide who gets to run for president and who doesn't, as well as who ends up winning the 'election'. Rouhani, like his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a carefully vetted regime loyalist who serves at Khamenei and the Council's pleasure and follows their orders exactly. Otherwise he wouldn’t have been allowed to run for election, let alone be president.
Nor is Rouhani a 'moderate', whatever that means. Especially not when it come to Iran's nuclear program. No, he pretty much endorses the Iranian mantra of no compromise on nukes. Or as Rouhani put it to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton about two weeks before his speech at the UN, Iran "will not give up one iota" on nukes. AFP referred to that as ”echoing his hardline predecessor” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Of course, you didn't read about that in the New York Times.
When you're speaking to Rouhani, you're really getting a PR version of Khameini's views, with a helpful smile for the gullible western press and politicians.
Now, a meeting between President Obama and the Ayatollah Khamenei would be worth citing as a breakthrough of sorts..except that Khamenei has refused to do anything of the kind. On the other hand, the telephone conversation between President Obama and President Rouhani that the current occupant of the Oval Office is so excited about is the diplomatic equivalent of a noncommittal little chat with Khamenei's personal assistant.
Even worse was the message President Obama sent to the Iranians with his speech at the UN.
The current Iranian regime is one of the most evil in human history. It has the blood of many of its own people on its hands as well as a being a major state supporter of terrorism world wide, even being implicated in the 9/11 bombing of the World Trade Center. All that aside, President Obama's pledge not to seek regime change and to in effect recognize the Iranian regime's legitimacy may have whizzed right by a number of American commentators, but I assure you it did not pass unnoticed by the Iranians. Nor did the president's apology for U.S. help in ridding Iran of a Soviet collaborator, Mossedegh, who had ignored a call from his own parliament to resign and who would have put the Iranians under communist slavery as part of the Soviet empire if he hadn't been stopped.
It's vital to see this not through our western eyes, but through the Iranians.
In Muslim culture, apology is seen as weak and servile, something an inferior does to ingratiate himself with a stronger superior. That's why the Iranians have never apologized for taking over our embassy and holding our diplomats hostage, allowing al-Qaeda fighters from Afghanistan to move through their territory after Tora Bora, their support for terrorist groups, targeting our troops in Iraq or gathering in howling mobs chanting 'Death To America!'.
It's why Rouhani made no pretense of making a concession by doing it in his speech at the UN.
So given all this, what our president referred to as 'mutual mistrust on both sides', how well is any attempt at negotiation likely to work? President Obama's is basing his new diplomatic track on his feeling that the Iranians can be trusted with any agreement they make with America and the west on nuclear weapons, on Rouhani's moderation, and on a religious fatwa against the use of nuclear weapons by the Ayatollah Khamenei.
Let's examine these items in turn.
For starters, the fatwa our president cited so hopefully twice last week has just one little problem. It doesn't exist.
There is no evidence such a fatwa, a religious jurisprudence ruling, was ever issued except an unsubstantiated claim back in 2005 by an Iranian diplomat Sirus Naseri, during one of those non-productive meetings with the IAEA over Iran's clandestine nuclear program.
The IAEA reportedly asked Naseri for documentation on the supposed Fatwa. They're still waiting.
Another reference to the phantom fatwa was repeated in an April 2012 in a Washington Post op-ed by by Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi. Again, there was no link or documentation, not even a picture.
An Iranian website maintained by Iran's Revolutionary Guard has what looks like a fairly comprehensive list of 493 fatwas issued by Iran's Islamic government covering a multitude of subjects. There's nothing there about nuclear weapons being haram, forbidden.
As a matter of fact, the fatwa is not mentioned on Khamenei's official website, and a March 2012 question, asking, “in light of what is written in Surat Al-Anfal, Verse 60… is it also forbidden to obtain nuclear weapons?” was answered by Khameni as follows: “Your letter has no jurisprudential aspect. When it has a jurisprudent position, then it will be possible to answer it.”
Verse 60? Oh, just another manifestation of the Religion of Peace: "And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them whom you do not know [but] whom Allah knows. And whatever you spend in the cause of Allah will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged."
That would seem to settle the question about the supposed fatwa, which would directly contradict this. And even if a fatwa existed, there's nothing stopping it from being changed or abrogated. As Mohammed said many times in the Qur'an, "War is deception. " Especially when it comes to someone as gullible and weak as our president.
And what about Rouhani? He's a real moderate, someone we can do business with, isn't he? Well, aside from the fact that Khamenei is calling the shots and Rouhani has no real power, no, not really.
Rouhani has a pretty traceable history as a loyal adherent to the regime.
In fact, back in 2003, he had a stint as Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, charged with buying time by dissembling and fooling the West. How well he succeeded can be determined by his 2004 speech to the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council,boasting of his success:
“While we were talking with the Europeans in Tehran, we were installing equipment in parts of the facility in Isfahan. . . . in fact, by creating a calm environment, we were able to complete the work in Isfahan. Today, we can convert yellowcake into UF4 and UF6, and this is a very important matter.”
In his speech Rohani also pointed out that Iran, he says, “had something like 150 centrifuges [at the beginning of the EU3 talks], but today we have about 500 centrifuges that are ready and operational. We could increase that number to 1,000. We would not have any problems, should we decide to do so.”
Of course, Iran has far surpassed that number by now, while 'talks' have continued.Today,Iran has more than 10,000 centrifuges spinning at its Natanz facility alone and has stockpiled enough low-enriched uranium for six nuclear bombs while its stock of the higher-enriched, weaponizable uranium is constantly rising.
Most experts say that making a nuclear weapon takes about 250 kilograms of 20 percent enriched uranium. The IAEA reported that Iran has at least has 186 kilograms, and that's just what the IAEA was able to verify, with Iran obstructing them every step of the way.
IAEA head Yukiya Amano was fairly explicit, just a short time ago:
“Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation to enable us to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities,” he told the closed-door board session, according to a copy of his speech.
Not only that, but Iran, which supposedly is not interested in nuclear weapons maintains a heavy water facility at Arak that can be used to operate a nuclear reactor that can produce plutonium, a second avenue towards a bomb. It has no peaceful application whatsoever.
The Iranians already have ballistic missiles capable of being armed with nuclear warheads. All they need is to stall for a little more time. That's Rouhani's job.
President Obama's idea appears to be that the sanctions,plus his own awesomeness are going to force Iran to some kind of grand bargain. He either is ignoring or misunderstanding the duplicitous and fascist nature of the Iranian regime, and he and his team are making a costly error in assuming a western mindset when it comes to the Iranians. They're totally ignoring the nature of the Twelver sect that dominates Iran's Shi'ites, that says that the Hidden Imam will rise out of war and apocalypse to lead Islam's armies to victory over the infidels. They fail to understand that when Iran refers to America as The Great Satan, they mean it literally.
Countries with these kind of beliefs do not make bargains with countries they consider Satan.
Even if an arrangement of some kind is made, what if the Iranians take a page from Hitler's strategy and simply lie in order to buy time, get some relief from the sanctions and make an 'agreement' they can break whenever they feel ready? Mohammed's phony Peace of Hubidiyeh is an episode known to all Muslims, and to Muslims, agreements with non-believers are not binding anyway. That's a much more likely scenario than some kind of 'grand bargain' .
Iran's demographic spiral and the Ayaytollah's mismanagement of the economy demand that the country expand if the current regime is to survive. Throwing them a life raft in the form of a deal is a huge mistake. It's the same mistake Clinton made with North Korea, except a similar blunder with Iran will have much graver consequences.
But shouldn't we at least try to talk to the Iranians? Well, we have, actually. For over a decade. And the Iranians have played the West at every opportunity. There were the EU3 talks with Britain, France and Germany, the P5+1, and then what was supposedly the final 2012 negotiations, where the Iranians ended up by refusing to even discuss the nuclear issue any further, declaring the entire matter closed.And of course, there were those two rounds of subsequent talks that went nowhere.
If the Iranians had any serious ideas about compromise, it would have happened at the beginning of this sorry history, not at the end when they're perhaps six months or so away from announcing an Iranian nuclear weapon.
It seems fairly obvious that Rouhani's charm offensive is deliberately designed to buy time while the centrifuges spin, and to allow Iran to make that last, final leap towards nuclear weapons. It is, after all, something he's had success doing in the past.
Of course, there's a sure way to prove me wrong, and for the Iranians to show they're serious about negotiations rather than simply running out the clock. All they need to do is state unequivocally to the world and to their own people that they have no interest in obtaining nuclear weapons, obey the various UN resolutions regarding their illegal nuclear program, suspend uranium enrichment, and throw all of their facilities open to the IAEA for verification and inspection.
A clear statement by President Obama requesting these actions be done before any further negotiations take place, with a deadline for compliance would be decisive and show a real basis for talks.
I'll leave it to you to rate what the chances of that happening are, as opposed to our president either voting present or telling the American people he's obtained some kind of worthless agreement with the Iranians that constitutes 'peace in our time'. That happened before in similar circumstances not so long ago, and it polled pretty well at the time...until the fiction cracked and the bill in blood and treasure was presented for payment.