Monday 20 July 2015

Bad deals

We know certain things about Iran. It sponsors terrorism and perpetuates aggression by proxy, interferes in other countries’ affairs, and calls for “death” to America and Israel. 
We know it has a nuclear programme, which it claims is for peaceful purposes only.
We know that economic sanctions have weakened Iran, and we assume that is what brought them to the table.

Nobody believes Iran’s insistence that their nuclear programme does not involve developing nuclear weapons. Their repeated denials are nothing but a pantomime; experts say all those spinning centrifuges are pretty pointless if they’re not for bombs.

It is possible that some sort of deal between Iran and the US might encourage Iran’s moderates and reformists, but the fundamental justification for brokering a deal is actually the threat of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, in other words this deal is entirely based on the fact that Iran’s lie is so blatantly unconvincing.
If the denials were believable, negotiations or deals would not be necessary.  As it is, the denials appear so laughable that nobody even entertains the idea that they’re not lies, but nevertheless Obama’s team appears to be  treating the liars of Iran as trustworthy partners. 

Conditions, such as reimposing sanctions at the first sign of non compliance - which would take 60 odd days to implement - seem to be a poor kind of insurance; tantamount to shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, when by that time much money will have already been released and distributed. 

Obama’s decision to befriend Iran and realign Middle East politics at a time when Iran had undoubtedly been weakened by economic sanctions makes one wonder why on earth  anyone in their right mind would make an unforced offer in exchange for Iran’s promise to stop doing something that in any case, it denies ever doing.

If Iran had been double-bluffing all along, say, if the centrifuges had been spinning away merely to give the impression there was something to hide, then Obama has squandered the advantage of a sanctions-weakened Iran for sweet sod all.

Lifting the sanctions, for any reason, would merely exacerbate the existing situation. It would provide extra cash for Iran’s proxy wars without curbing its inflammatory rhetoric, and weaken America and the west into the bargain. It would further jeopardise Israel’s security by funding and fuelling the (non-nuclear) belligerent activities that Iran is already engaged in.
Ring-fencing the negotiations to confront only the development of a hypothetical nuclear bomb, which Susan Rice swears emphatically is precisely what America has done, is completely illogical. Excluding the existing problems and narrowing down the deal to address Iran’s potential nuclear capability alone is the biggest possible blunder Obama could have made. The existing problems represent the wood that Obama can’t see because he's preoccupied with the trees. 

Iran has to convince everyone it is lying for this deal to make any strategic sense. In order to rationalise the deal Iran must - has to be - lying. The entire deal is predicated upon mutual mistrust, and it is assumed that Iran will continue to lie about all the conditions within the agreement, such as they are. It is expected that they will conceal, obfuscate and deceive, and play cat and mouse as Saddam did not so very long ago. Nobody expects Iran to honour its part of the deal without the usual shenanigans. That also doesn’t seem to be very desirable as far as deals go.

If, despite the seemingly unsound conditions that Obama has agreed to, Iran does acquire nuclear weapons - and some say when, not if -even a regime as volatile as Iran might hesitate before using them in a full-scale armageddon scenario, but it’s conceivable that they would attempt to smuggle a catastrophic terrorist bomb into enemy territory through a proxy. 

In that case we’re back to square one. Terrorism and aggression with conventional weapons, which they use with no compunction at all, with perhaps the addition of small-scale nuclear weapons too. And now enough money for a never-ending supply.

Please tell me, what’s good about this deal?

Whether or not everyone believed the Iranians were telling the truth, the only morally justifiable case for offering to lift sanctions would be in exchange for a deal to end all belligerence and inflammatory rhetoric against other countries, putting an end to all human rights violations and the adherence to various human rights principles tied to strictly regulated, enforceable conditions to ensure that any money will be spent in a positive manner, principally for the economic benefit of the Iranian people.

The Dateline London that Craig blogged the other day made me wonder all over again, why the BBC continues to give Abdel Bari Atwan a regular platform for his illogical Israel-bashing.

I’ve transcribed the relevant parts of that debate.

Bari: I’m really surprised about all this fuss about an Iranian nuclear bomb. We have Pakistani nuclear bomb. We have Indian nuclear bomb. We have Isra’eli nuclear bomb. so - why Iran shouldn’t have, why Saudia Arabia shouldn’t have one - why Egypt shouldn’t have one.”

Gavin: Would Saudi Arabia want one then?

Bari: I think they will.

Gavin: You know this deal is supposed to stop that.

Bari: You need deterrent with Iran, also deterrent with Israel, so that should be underlined completely. The mistrust - okay - I believe Iran is entitled - not to trust United States, you know for example you know, United States invaded two countries - two neighbours of Iran. Invaded Iraq, and occupied it, and invaded Afghanistan and occupied it... 

Gavin: You got rid of, in the case of  Saddam Hussain, somebody that was an opponent of Iran - you could say that American policy extended Iran’s influence in the region.

Bari: Yes it did. Definitely. Iran is in full control now of Iraq and now are building bridges with Afghanistan, the new regime in Afghanistan, and
you know, they have a huge influence in Syria, and in Lebanon via Hezbullah, so the American foreign policy is a disaster for the whole region, Now. I believe Barak Obama realised that. He can’t continue his policy; as Sharan said what’s the alternative? To go and bomb Iran? This will accelerate the Iranian drive towards a nuclear bomb. Now, they have enriched uranium, they have the know-how they have the centrifuge about 20,000, so they have their....

Gavin: The sanctions lifted...

Bari: Why not? Why not? You know, they are entitled to have it. As I said we have three nuclear bombs in the region  [...]

David Aaronovich says something to the effect that we must trust that Iran’s bark is worse than their bite.

Bari: But David you know Middle East. You know rhetoric is part of the Middle East. We used to have this rhetoric during Ahmadinejad. Since Rouhani took over as president of Iran we haven’t had this rhetoric against....

Gavin:What do you make of that?

Sharan: The rhetoric stays there. it was chanted in the street at the time of the negotiations. I take the point about moderating Iran’s politics. The hope - not the belief - the hope is that by negotiating with Iran the moderates will get the upper hand. If not we have to look at it again. Nuclear issue aside there are lots of other issues at stake that have to be dealt with. Iran is threatening the existence of another country in the region. That is not acceptable. That country is accepted by the united nations as legitimate. Iran should not threaten, should not say that Israel is the cancer, that Israel has to be eliminated from the earth. That rhetoric has to be stopped. That should be part of the deal. Then Iran would be trusted more because I agree with Bari that other countries have nuclear power, but those countries don’t want to destroy another country in the neighborhood.

Bari: This is not true. You know Israel is destroying Lebanon, destroyed Gaza that last just summer they invaded Gaza and bombed it so we cannot say ... which country did Iran bomb for example? Give me one example that Iran bombed, any country in the Middle East.

Sharan: Iran hasn’t bombed another country in the Middle East, but Iran is threatening. What I am saying...

Bari: Yes, but threat is different from action.

Sharan: Iran is threatening, and that threat comes from the extreme side of Iran, not from the moderate, from the reformists, that’s why we have to strengthen the reformists’ hands in Iran ...

Bari: But this...
John Fisher Burns (NY Times):  “... Israel is probably the most secure country in the Middle East, in part because it has nuclear weapons, it has extremely effected armed forces and because it has.....

Gavin:I think you’re making Bari’s argument for him.

Bari: But you know, you said, you know, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Isra’eli Prime Minister, has been threatening to bomb Iran for the last seven years....

Sharan: “I don’t...

Bari: Did you hear that? Did you hear about Benjamin Netanyahu? Did you saw him in the United Nations?

Sharan: I don’t accept... Netanyahu is manageable. Iran has to be managed as well.


The deal between the BBC and Abdel Bari Atwan seems as dodgy as the deal I described at the top of the page.  Just because Bari is a friend of Gavin Esler he shouldn’t be entitled to a regular BBC platform for his particular brand of racist animosity towards Israel.

If Jeremy Corbyn can be quizzed about his traitorous friendships, so can the BBC.

Not only is Abdel Bari Atwan allowed to get away with multiple, factually incorrect allegations and accusations against Israel and America, but his reasoning is flawed and malicious. 
For example:
“We have Israeli nuclear bomb. so - why Iran shouldn’t have, why Saudi Arabia shouldn’t have one - why Egypt shouldn’t have one.” says Bari.
Reasoning that Iran should have the right to acquire nuclear bombs uses the reasoning ‘The warders have keys, therefore so should the inmates.’

United States invaded two countries - two neighbours of Iran. Invaded Iraq, and occupied it, and invaded Afghanistan and occupied it...”
According to the twisted rhetoric above, America’s military attempts to stop the Taliban turning Afghanistan into an ISIS-like nightmare state constitutes ‘invasion, interference’ and ‘killing Muslims.’

Since Rouhani took over as president of Iran we haven’t had this rhetoric against....”
Well, Sharan dealt with that falsehood, but it’s not only during the recent anti-west demonstrations that this rhetoric has made itself known. There are countless examples emanating from the Iranian leadership every day. 

This is not true. You know Israel is destroying Lebanon, destroyed Gaza that last just summer they invaded Gaza and bombed it so we cannot say ... which country did Iran bomb for example? Give me one example that Iran bombed, any country in the Middle East.”
This entire paragraph is disingenuous, malicious and contradictory. If there was an element of ‘destruction‘ by Israel in Lebanon, it was precisely because of aggression by Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy. So that answers both the first and last falsehoods in that one paragraph in one go. 
 Certainly Israel’s retaliatory activities in Gaza necessitated some IDF ‘boots on the ground’ at great cost to the soldiers involved. That was not an invasion.    

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, has been threatening to bomb Iran for the last seven years....
That is not the case. In fact the window of opportunity to take out Iran’s nascent nuclear capability, if there ever was one, was frittered away by Obama’s procrastinating, his lack of support for Israel and his ill-conceived attempts to reach out to hostile Islamic states.
In any case, Israel’s interest was never to “bomb Iran”. It would have been directed as surgically as possible at disabling its nuclear programme.

Dodgy friendships, dodgy deals.

1 comment:

  1. Esler didn't dare challenge Bari's statement that Israel is destroying Lebanon? If I ever run into the BBC producer who used to comment at B-BBC under the name 'Sarah Jane', I'm going to tell her to go @#$% herself about sneering at my describing someone as a self-loathing Jew.


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