Working for International Dialogue and Peace


Trump’s Foreign-Policy Appointees Are Set to Provoke War With Iran

by Bob Dreyfuss (source: The Nation) December 15, 2016

Trump and MattisTrump and MattisGiven these contradictory signals, when and if Trump, Flynn, Mattis, et al. trigger a confrontation with Iran, they will also create an enormous point of conflict with Russia, too. To be sure, both Trump—who, the CIA says, received covert election support from Russia’s intelligence service—and his designee for secretary of state, Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, have business and personal ties to Russia’s elite. But the chance of a US-Russia entente will evaporate if the Trump administration seeks to build an anti-Iran alliance in the Middle East. And the same goes for Syria: Although Trump has hinted that the United States might ally with Russia against ISIS, that doesn’t square with the views of Flynn, Mattis, and Pompeo that Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah are engaged in an anti-American crusade in the region in defense of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. ››read more


Iran sanctions legally extended by U.S., but without Obama signing

(source: CBC) December 15, 2016

Although the White House had said that Obama was expected to sign the 10-year-renewal, the midnight deadline came and went Thursday with no approval from the president. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Obama had decided to let it become law without his signature. "The administration has, and continues to use, all of the necessary authorities to waive the relevant sanctions" lifted as part of the nuclear deal, Earnest said in a statement. ››read more


With small changes, U.S. maintains military aid to Saudi Arabia despite rebukes over Yemen carnage

by Missy Ryan (source: Washington Post) December 13, 2016

Now, following months of deliberation, the administration has reached a set of interim conclusions, the official said, including a decision to reduce sharing of intelligence that the United States believes could be used to conduct similar problematic strikes in the Houthi campaign. At the same time, U.S. officials will continue or even increase other kinds of intelligence sharing, on targets such as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) or when the United States sees legitimate Saudi concerns about Houthi aggression. ››read more


John Bolton’s Super PAC Spent Millions On Senators Who Might Vote To Confirm Him

by Paul Blumenthal (source: Huffington Post) December 13, 2016

Bolton and MEKBolton and MEKBolton launched the John Bolton Super PAC in 2013, which some speculated was a way to promote himself ahead of a potential 2016 president run. That run never materialized, but the PAC, which could raise an unlimited amount of money, enabled Bolton to bring in huge contributions from wealthy benefactors while lending his hawkish credentials to congressional candidates. In the 2014 and 2016 election cycles, Bolton raised $11.3 million and spent $5.6 million on independent expenditures in support of Republican candidates. Three of the candidates whom Bolton’s super PAC boosted ― Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) ― could now be in a position to vote for his confirmation as deputy secretary of State. That would create an unprecedented situation: The director of a super PAC would be seeking votes to secure a prominent government position from the very same senators he helped elect. ››read more


Flynn’s Wacky Worldview

by Jim Lobe (source: Lobelog) December 13, 2016

Skepticism about Michael Flynn’s fitness for the position of national security adviser appears to be growing as more media outlets are paying closer attention to his (and his son’s) core beliefs about the world. Such scrutiny also appears to be more relevant since President-elect Trump may be relying more heavily on Flynn than on the CIA or other government intelligence agencies for his own assessment of world events. That’s a big reason why this site has been focusing so much on Flynn in recent weeks. ››read more


Iranian president orders work on nuclear propulsion device

(source: Press TV) December 14, 2016

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has ordered the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) to plan work on nuclear propulsion devices to be used in sea transport in response to the recent violation of a multilateral nuclear deal by the United States.​ ››read more


Atomic agency leader warns of disaster if Trump tears up Iran deal

by Daniel Boffey (source: Guardian) December 12, 2016

BlixBlixHans Blix, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has claimed it would be disastrous for the world if the US tore up the Iran nuclear agreement, but warned that the president-elect, Donald Trump, would be unlikely to heed advice from the British government on the benefits of the deal. In the wake of Theresa May’s insistence last week that the agreement “neutralising” the risk of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons was vital, Blix said that while “many Brits would like to think” they could sway Trump, he could not see “anyone who would be influential in talking to him”. ››read more


Rand Paul threatens to block Bolton nomination

by BURGESS EVERETT (source: Politico) December 11, 2016

Bolton and MEKBolton and MEKThe Kentucky Republican, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, could stop the hawkish former ambassador to the United Nations from getting out of committee if there is unanimous Democratic resistance. The committee is narrowly divided among 10 Republicans and nine Democrats, and Paul said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that he’s an “automatic no on Bolton.” “John Bolton doesn’t get it. He still believes in regime change. He’s still a big cheerleader for the Iraq War,” Paul said. “John Bolton is so far out of it and has such a naive understanding of the world.” ››read more


Neocons Urge War on Iran

by Stephen Lendman (source: Global Research) December 11, 2016

On December 7, a joint UANI/Foreign Policy Institute (PNAC renamed) Future of Iran Policy event discussed US policy on Iran, with the incoming Trump administration in mind. A rogue’s gallery of anti-Iranian extremists participated – including Joe Lieberman, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and neocon Foundation for Defense of Democracies head Mark Dubowitz, among others. Neocon lunatic UANI/FPI members and supporters urge military confrontation with Iran, wanting Washington to sink its ships, attack its Syrian advisors, impose stiffer sanctions, and rescind the JCPOA nuclear deal. Dubowitz said America must “restore coercion.” Sanctions aren’t enough, noting Syria is “a target-rich environment” to incite conflict. ››read more


Nuclear Deal Opponents Urge Military Confrontation with Iran

(source: NIAC) December 10, 2016

The U.S. should sink Iranian ships, consider targeted killings of Iranian fighters in Syria, and ratchet up new non-nuclear sanctions on Iran under the Trump Administration, according to a panel of lawmakers and policymakers organized on Capitol Hill yesterday by the hawkish United Against Nuclear Iran organization. Outlining Trump’s options going forward, Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies said the U.S. must “restore coercion” and recommended direct military confrontation, saying that sanctions alone are not a silver bullet. “The next time a Revolutionary Guard attack boat harasses the U.S. Navy, we should sink it, put it in the bottom of the Gulf,” Dubowitz said. “That would be a good start.” ››read more


Iran summons British envoy over PM’s meddlesome remarks

(source: Press TV) December 10, 2016

Iran has summoned the British ambassador to Tehran over the recent meddlesome remarks made by UK Prime Minister Theresa May against the Islamic Republic. ››read more


UK's fawning of Sunni monarchies is contemptible and pathetic

by Patrick Cockburn (source: Independent) December 10, 2016

This is a regional war but its outcome will affect an area from Pakistan to Nigeria, and it is a sectarian conflict which impacts on all the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world ››read more


Israel defends fake Lebanon military buildup map as Hezbollah’s ‘war crime illustration’

(source: Russia Today) December 10, 2016

Israel and LebanonIsrael and LebanonSuch a level of detail and awareness of alleged Hezbollah activities would be truly impressive, if the map had not turned out to be a fake. Some Twitter users pointed out that it was unlikely the image was a “declassified map,” since its history showed that it had been created using Google Maps via an IDF spokesperson account. The dots, marking the alleged “military buildup,” even featured a repetitive pattern. IDF later said the map had been an “illustration,” and users simply misinterpreted it as a piece of declassified intelligence. The map’s title, tagline and caption were presumably “illustrative” too. “The illustration reflects how Hezbollah has positioned its terrorist infrastructure within the civilian arena,” the spokesperson told The Times of Israel. The map, despite its ”illustrative” nature, has been shown to almost every foreign diplomat visiting Israel, to demonstrate that while Hezbollah participates in the Syrian civil war, it continues preparations for conflict with Israel and hides among civilians located near the border, according to a Channel 2 report. ››read more


I worked at Flynn’s DIA, and I fear that he will put us on the road to war with Iran

(source: Foreign Policy) December 8, 2016

But Flynn wondered aloud to them if it was “black swan” event, which was his way of “dog whistling” us toward Iran being involved. This “black swan” theory of his intensified concerns among my DIA colleagues that he was pushing raw intelligence — known as “stove piping” — to the White House. His fondness for spurious conspiracy theories put him at odds with the national security team at the White House. Sure enough, within a months of this chatter Flynn was out. He “resigned,” but the reality is that the intelligence hierarchy, led by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, fired him. I was not surprised that Clapper resigned after Trump indicated that Flynn would be his national security advisor. My impression is that he wanted nothing to do with Flynn.
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In signal to Trump, China, Iran say nuclear deal must stand

(source: Washington Post) December 7, 2016

The foreign ministers of China and Iran on Monday urged governments not to violate the deal that limits Iran’s nuclear activity in exchange for the lifting of sanctions, in remarks apparently directed at President-elect Donald Trump’s incoming administration. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said during a visit to Beijing that the seven nations who agreed to the deal in July 2015 “have the obligation to fully implement” it. “Iran will not allow any country to take unilateral action to violate the agreement and Iran has the right to take action against that,” Zarif said at a news conference after meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. ››read more


53 ORGS TO TRUMP: GENERAL FLYNN IS UNFIT TO BE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR

(source: JStreet) December 7, 2016

Mike FlynnMike FlynnGeneral Flynn is entitled to differ from the large majority of the American security establishment by opposing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement with Iran. But his advocacy of “regime change” over diplomacy as a means of addressing Iran’s nuclear program is reckless and incendiary. His appointment will send a dangerous signal to all parties to the agreement and the entire world that the United States cannot be counted on to adhere to its obligations under this or other vital international agreements. Perhaps most alarming, since last summer General Flynn has regularly attended your classified intelligence briefings while also advising foreign governments. He has reportedly leaked classified US intelligence to Pakistan, and his lobbying company, Flynn Intel Group, has ties to Turkish interests close to the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. ››read more


China FM warns against obstruction of Iran nuclear deal

(source: Press TV) December 5, 2016

China has warned that no party to the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world countries should allow its domestic upheavals to adversely affect its commitment to the accord. ››read more


James Mattis’ 33-Year Grudge Against Iran

by MARK PERRY (source: Politico) December 4, 2016

Trump and MattisTrump and MattisIn fact, Mattis’ anti-Iran animus is so intense that it led President Barack Obama to replace him as Centcom commander. It was a move that roiled Mattis admirers, seeding claims that the president didn’t like “independent-minded generals who speak candidly to their civilian leaders.” But Mattis’ Iran antagonism also concerns many of the Pentagon’s most senior officers, who disagree with his assessment and openly worry whether his Iran views are based on a sober analysis or whether he’s simply reflecting a 30-plus-year-old hatred of the Islamic Republic that is unique to his service. It’s a situation that could lead to disagreement within the Pentagon over the next four years—but also, senior Pentagon officials fear, to war. “It’s in his blood,” one senior Marine officer told me. “It’s almost like he wants to get even with them.” ››read more


Flynn’s Warped Worldview and Iran

by DANIEL LARISON (source: American Conservative) December 4, 2016

Mike FlynnMike FlynnMr. Flynn saw the Benghazi attack in September 2012 as just one skirmish in this global war. But it was his initial reaction to the event, immediately seeking evidence of an Iranian role, that many saw as emblematic of a conspiratorial bent. Iran, a Shiite nation, has generally eschewed any alliance with Sunni militants like the ones who attacked the American diplomatic compound. For weeks, he pushed analysts for evidence that the attack might have had a state sponsor — sometimes shouting at them when they didn’t come to the conclusions he wanted. The attack, he told his analysts, was a “black swan” event that required more creative intelligence analysis to decipher. ››read more


This is why everything you’ve read about the wars in Syria and Iraq could be wrong

by Patrick Cockburn (source: Independent) December 4, 2016

Patrick CockburnPatrick CockburnIn Mosul, civilian loss of life is blamed on Isis, with its indiscriminate use of mortars and suicide bombers, while the Iraqi army and their air support are largely given a free pass. Isis is accused of preventing civilians from leaving the city so they can be used as human shields.

Contrast this with Western media descriptions of the inhuman savagery of President Assad’s forces indiscriminately slaughtering civilians regardless of whether they stay or try to flee. The UN chief of humanitarian affairs, Stephen O’Brien, suggested this week that the rebels in east Aleppo were stopping civilians departing – but unlike Mosul, the issue gets little coverage. ››read more