Working for International Dialogue and Peace

Trump Faces Battle to Undo Iran Nuclear Deal

by Jay Solomon (source: Wall Street Journal) November 11, 2016

However, the diplomats and experts also have questioned whether European and Asian countries would be willing to return to a strict sanctions regime, even if the U.S. decided to back out of the agreement and ratchet up new sanctions. The impact of a unilateral U.S. pullout could be limited, if other powers continue to build partnerships with Iran. Iranian officials, seeking to make the most of sanctions relief, have sought in particular to maintain business ties to Europe, even as Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei continues to vilify the U.S. ››read more

Senior Saudi prince says Trump shouldn't scrap Iran deal

(source: Reuters) November 11, 2016

Prince Turki said he would like to see if the deal could become a "stepping stone" to a more permanent program "to prevent proliferation through the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East." Prince Turki does not presently hold any official position in the Saudi leadership, and he emphasized that he was speaking in a personal capacity. His views are described by insiders as often reflecting those of the kingdom's top princes and as influential in Riyadh foreign policy circles. Prince Turki also said Trump should admonish Iran for its "very adventurous and very destabilizing activities" in the Middle East. ››read more

The Geniuses Who Brought You the Iraq War Are at It Again

by Robert L. Borosage (source: The Nation) October 30, 2016

The names are familiar—former secretary of state Madeline Albright and former Bush national security adviser Stephen Hadley lead the Atlantic Council task force. Former Bill Clinton NSC adviser Brian Katulis and former Bush deputy secretary of defense Rudy deLeon are senior fellows at the Center for American Progress. The inescapable Martin Indyk heads a Brookings group of former top officials from Obama, Bush, and Clinton administrations. These are the apostles of American exceptionalism, from the neoconservatives who promoted the invasion of Iraq to the “indispensable nation” liberal interventionists who championed regime change in Libya. Virtually without exception, all supported Bush’s invasion of Iraq, the most catastrophic foreign policy debacle since Vietnam. Virtually without exception, none were held accountable for that folly. ››read more

Trump promises to make Israel 'safe again'

(source: CBC) October 29, 2016

TrumpTrumpTrump's video message contained no mention of his policy for the Middle East or Israel. But the candidate has pledged to scrap the deal to limit Iran's nuclear program, which was negotiated under U.S. President Barack Obama. "Together we will stand up to enemies like Iran bent on destroying Israel and her people," Trump told supporters. "Together we will make America and Israel safe again." Trump has also said previously he would move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which would mark a shift in U.S. policy. Most nations — including Canada — do not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. ››read more

Clinton Adviser Proposes Attacking Iran to Aid the Saudis in Yemen

by Eric Levitz (source: NY Magazine) October 27, 2016

He is also an opponent of the Iran nuclear agreement, a defender of waterboarding, and an advocate for making Russia “pay a price” in Syria by covertly killing Putin’s soldiers.
On Tuesday, Morell added another title to that résumé: proponent of going to war with Iran, for the sake of securing Saudi Arabia’s influence in Yemen. “Ships leave Iran on a regular basis carrying arms to the Houthis in Yemen,” Morell said, in remarks to the Center for American Progress, the liberal think tank founded by Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. “I would have no problem from a policy perspective of having the U.S. Navy boarding their ships, and if there are weapons on them, to turn those ships around.” ››read more

Compare the coverage of Mosul and East Aleppo and it tells you a lot about the propaganda we consume

by Patrick Cockburn (source: Independent) October 22, 2016

Patrick CockburnPatrick CockburnIn both countries, two large Sunni Arab urban centres – East Aleppo in Syria and Mosul in Iraq – are being besieged by pro-government forces strongly supported by foreign airpower. Yet the coverage is very different ››read more

How to Ensure the Iran Nuclear Deal Survives the Next President

by ARIANE TABATABAI (source: New York Times) October 21, 2016

Another key channel of communication has been between Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. But this, too, will be jeopardized when Mr. Moniz leaves office. Mr. Salehi will remain an important player, but there is no guarantee he will enjoy similarly friendly ties with the next energy secretary. This is why the United States and Iran should work now to establish contact between lower-level officials and technical experts, including between American labs and their Iranian counterparts. ››read more

We finally know what Hillary Clinton knew all along – US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar are funding Isis

by Patrick Cockburn (source: Independent) October 15, 2016

There is a bizarre discontinuity between what the Obama administration knew about the jihadis and what they would say in public ››read more

WikiLeaks: The two faces of Hillary Clinton on Syria to weaken Iran and strengthen Israel

by Sharmine Narwani (source: RT) October 15, 2016

“It is the strategic relationship between Iran and the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria that makes it possible for Iran to undermine Israel's security — not through a direct attack, which in the thirty years of hostility between Iran and Israel has never occurred, but through its proxies in Lebanon, like Hezbollah, that are sustained, armed and trained by Iran via Syria. The end of the Assad regime would end this dangerous alliance. Israel's leadership understands well why defeating Assad is now in its interests.” ››read more

Don't Believe the Start the War Coalition - Ask Libyans About No-Fly Zones

by Chris Nineham (source: Stop the War Coalition) October 12, 2016

us-alqaedaus-alqaedaThe implementation of a no-fly zone will inflame and escalate an already desperate situation ››read more

Obama’s Syria Policy and the Illusion of US Power in the Middle East

by Gareth Porter (source: The Middle East Eye) October 11, 2016

A US administration that played a true superpower role would have told its allies not to start a war in Syria by arming jihadists, using the fundamentals of the alliance as the leverage. But that would have meant threatening to end the alliance itself if necessary – something no US administration is willing to do. Hence the paradox of US power in the Middle East: in order to play at the role of hegemon in the region, with all those military bases, the United States must allow itself to be manipulated by its weaker allies. ››read more

War Hawks Are Sensing an Opening in Syria

by James Carden (source: The Nation) October 7, 2016

With the breakdown in bilateral talks between the US and Russia, the war hawks sense an opportunity—and they have wasted no time in spinning a narrative which paints increased US intervention in benign—to say nothing of deeply dishonest, terms. The pro-interventionist, pro-war arguments rely on euphemism to advance their arguments to an usual extent, habitually (and no doubt willfully) ignoring recent history, deriding what they see as “hypothetical” risks in favor of “doing something.” Middle East Institute Senior Fellow Charles Lister observed (via Twitter) that “#Russia has *nothing* that could concretely prevent US military action in #Syria. S-400 & SA-23 = entirely suppressible.”
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Fake News and False Flags: How the Pentagon paid a British PR firm $500 million for top secret Iraq propaganda

by Crofton Black and Abigail Fielding-Smith (source: The Bureau of Investigative Journalism) October 2, 2016

According to Glen Segell, who worked in an information operations task force in Iraq in 2006, contractors were used partly because the military didn’t have the in-house expertise, and partly because they were operating in a legal “grey area”. In his 2011 article Covert Intelligence Provision in Iraq, Segell notes that US law prevented the government from using propaganda on the domestic population of the US. In a globalised media environment, the Iraq operations could theoretically have been seen back home, therefore “it was prudent legally for the military not to undertake all the…activities,” Segell wrote. Segell maintains that information operations programmes did make a difference on the ground in Iraq. Some experts question this however. A 2015 study by the Rand Corporation, a military think tank, concluded that “generating assessments of efforts to inform, influence, and persuade has proven to be challenging across the government and DoD.” ››read more

‘US knows weapons sent to Syrian rebels end up with terrorists’

(source: RT) September 28, 2016

TodenhoferTodenhoferThe CIA has been coordinating weapon deliveries on the Turkey-Syria border, German journalist Jurgen Todenhofer, who recently spoke with a Jabhat al-Nusra commander, told RT. He added that the US knows that the weapons it delivers to rebels end up with terrorists.

“This is a game everybody knows. It’s very clear that the Americans know that their weapons will in the end be in the hands of terrorists,” Todenhofer said speaking to RT. ››read more

Saudi Arabia Is Showing Signs of Financial Strain

by Patrick Cockburn (source: Independent) September 28, 2016

In Syria, the five-year-long effort by Saudi Arabia, together with Turkey and Qatar, to get rid of President Bashar al-Assad, has likewise failed. In the decade-long Saudi rivalry with Iran, today it is the Iranians who look like getting the upper hand. ››read more

Clinton said a lot about Iran during the debate. Not all of it was true.

by Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani (source: Think Progress) September 27, 2016

This isn’t the first time that she made the claim that Iran was weeks away from a nuclear weapon. In a speech at the Brookings Institution last September, she said that by the time she became Secretary of State, “Iran was racing toward a nuclear capability.” But as Peter Jenkins notes for LobeLog, “By the time Clinton took office in January 2009, at least five years had elapsed since Iran had abandoned research into nuclear weapons and fourteen months had passed since the director of national intelligence had made knowledge of that available to the nation.”
Iran has never been “weeks away” from having a nuclear weapon. U.S. intelligence agencies (and even Israeli ones) have repeatedly confirmed that Iran was not moving to build a bomb — and that includes when Clinton became Secretary of State. ››read more

1st Australian business delegation in 14 years to visit Iran

(source: Businss Standard) September 26, 2016

Two-way trade between Australia and Iran fluctuated between 350 million Australian dollars and 600 million Australian dollars a year while Australian sanctions were in place, he said. "With the sanctions easing, there is ... Significant potential for that figure to move north of there," Ciobo told Australian Broadcasting Corporation today. "There are still challenges," he said, citing Iran's difficulty in fully reconnecting to the international financial system. Australia eased sanctions in January after Iran implemented its nuclear pact. ››read more

US Treasury Dept Issues Licenses for Airplane Sales to Iran

by Jason Ditz (source: Antiwar,com) September 22, 2016

The US Treasury Department has announced that they have issued export licenses to both Boeing and Airbus to allow them to sell certain commercial passenger planes to Iran, with officials noting they were obliged to stop blocking such sales under the P5+1 nuclear deal.

This isn’t to say the deals, which both companies have already signed, are free and clear, as international banks are still feeling US pressure to block Iran from using them to transfer funds unfrozen by the nuclear deal, so paying for the planes will still be a struggle. ››read more

Iran’s Nuclear Program and International Law

by Peter Jenkins (source: Lobelog) September 21, 2016

Peter JenkinsPeter JenkinsIn August 2002 I was one of those who believed that Iran had had no intention of declaring the Natanz facility. With the benefit of hindsight, I came later to realize the foolishness of that view. In 2000 Iran had declared and placed under safeguards a facility to produce large quantities of UF6, the feed-material for enriching uranium. To declare that facility and then fail to declare an enrichment facility that was complementary in scale would have made no sense and entailed high risks. And both facilities were far larger than would be natural for the covert production of nuclear weapon material. Unfortunately, in 2002-03 few, if any, of us in Vienna reasoned in that way. Instead we swallowed the “secret nuclear weapon production plant” claim. This must have pleased John Bolton, then assistant secretary at the State Department, whom I suspect of having inspired the claim. In 2002-03 his ambition was to get a safeguards non-compliance finding and report to the UN Security Council out of the IAEA as quickly as possible and use the Security Council to get authorization for the use of force to close down Iran’s nuclear program, with a spot of regime change thrown in perhaps – all this on behalf of Israel, needless to say. ››read more

U.S. begins unblocking jetliner sales to Iran

(source: Reuters) September 21, 2016

Europe's Airbus (AIR.PA) said on Wednesday it had received U.S. Treasury approval to begin exporting jetliners to Iran and its U.S. rival Boeing (BA.N) said it looked forward to receiving similar licenses "shortly". The move signals the unfreezing of one of the most high-profile deals between Iran and foreign companies since last year's agreement between Tehran and world powers to open up trade in exchange for curbs on the country's nuclear activities. But complex questions remain over the financing of deals between Iran and Western planemakers that could still obstruct deliveries of many of the planes, in what is seen as a test case for Western trade and investment following the nuclear deal. ››read more