5/2/15

I predict that there will be an agreement with Iran.

I predict that the agreement will be a bad agreement from the US/Western Democratic World/Israel perspective—Very bad.

I predict that Congress will manage, barely, to pass a resolution objecting to the agreement.

I predict that the President will veto said resolution and that Congress will lack the majority to overturn the veto.

I predict that Israel will attack Iran at great cost to itself in order to at least delay Iran’s nuclear weapon ability by a few years, hoping that a new President in the US will annul the predicted US/Iran agreement and help cause a more permanent damage to Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions.

There is one qualification to this last prediction. Iran has clearly not yet mastered all the technology needed to produce a nuclear ballistic missile. I am not sure what part of that system they are missing. It is likely that this is the production of a nuclear warhead. I can only assume that triggering a nuclear fission in a small space (such as a nuclear warhead) is not that easy. Once Iran has all the elements required for a nuclear ballistic missile, nothing will stop them from producing such missiles—and probably at a speed that will surprise everyone in order to produce a defensive nuclear arsenal before the World can do anything. The fact that they are siting and negotiating indicates that they are not there yet. The Israeli attack will only come if they either conclude that Iran is close to such breakthrough or fear that it will be too late to stop Iran once they do achieve the breakthrough.

The agreement will not be reached by June 30th but no worries, the messianic Secretary of State John Kerry (in his quest for Nobel Peace Prize to the exclusion of any other consideration, as false messiahs are wont to do) and the could-not-care-less President will extend the deadline so as to enable the Iranians to get more and more concessions from the US.

At the end, they will hail the agreement as a great achievement—never mind that EVERY element of what they promised in the past will melt under these concessions:

  • Delayed lifting of sanctions until Iran has been proven to be adhering to the terms of the agreement: This will become very, very accelerated. It may take a few months, but it will all be done quickly enough so that no cheating by Iran (which is bound to happen) can be detected by anyone.
  • Inspections regime: The anytime anywhere formula that we were promised in the fact sheet produced by the administration after the so-called framework agreement in April is dead. Only in specific locations, only pre-announced, etc. Forget about unprecedented. Forget about surprise inspections and not-on-your-life inspections of military installations.
  • Sanctions “Snapback”: A typical trick that this administration uses in order to lie. They create a new term, a buzzword. It sounds good and really very “clever,” cool—except that it has no practical meaning. There is just no way to actually achieve what this term implies. It is simply nonsense. How can you snap back $130,000,000,000 (that is Billions) that will be released to Iran (see explanation below)? How can you snap back investments made by foreign companies? How can you snap back the billions of dollars Iran will receive from enhanced sales of oil every month?
  • Who will make the decision to “snapback” the sanctions? The Security Council? Really? Who will make the decision that Iran is violating the agreement? The dispute resolution mechanism (referenced in the April framework)? This is all a whitewash. It will never happen and it is impossible to do even if one wanted to do it. Sanctions take a long time, months, to be organized and YEARS and years to start having an effect.
  • Above all, one question must be asked: What if Iran violates the agreement and the “snapback” sanctions do not stop it? What then???? Military action? How do you justify military action in, say, year 3 of the agreement if you already conceded that in year 12 Iran will have nuclear weapons? Will you go to war because they emerged as a nuclear weapon country 9 years ahead of schedule? Nah, this is an exercise in public relations and cynicism. All so that the President can say that on HIS watch Iran did not obtain nuclear weapons. The fact that he enabled it, that he could have stopped it? Does not matter. Après moi, le déluge, as I have already said many times about this President’s attitude toward most things.

If you think that Iran is a problem in the Middle East now with its meddling all over the region, wait until they get the huge amounts of cash and boost to their economy from the lifting of the sanctions.

Iran had about $130 billion in blocked accounts in the West when the preliminary agreement was reached about 18 months ago. As part of that agreement, the West released about $15 billion over the last 18 months. One can easily detect a hardening of the Iranian regime stance on regional issues since then and its increase in meddling. Look at Iraq, look at Yemen.

Can you imagine the Iran that will emerge after they get about $50 billion immediately, and then another $50 billion or so in short order topped off with full release from the sanctions, creating a huge boost for its economy?

The President will justify this massive capitulation on the basis that there is not a better alternative, but the horrible truth is that there is a better alternative—a much better one. The US, alone, can impose much harsher restrictions on Iran so as to bring it to its knees. Such action includes:

  • Naval blockade to stop all oil exports.
  • Massive pressure on Turkey to close the pipeline that helps some oil exports and a significant part of refined products imports.
  • A complete blockage on all banking transactions via SWIFT with Iran. SWIFT will need to make a choice: follow the US demand or stop doing business with US banks. Which do you think they will choose?

That type of action coupled with the low oil prices could actually work—maybe. No one can be certain, but it is possible that this type of action may bring Iran to the negotiating table and produce a much stronger agreement along the lines we were promised only 2-3 years ago. And if that does not work, then bomb the hell out of their nuclear infrastructure. US air power alone can achieve that without “boots on the ground.”

People say that Iran will counter and there will be terrible hell to pay. That is nonsense.

First, Iran cannot respond so harshly. Its military power is much exaggerated—as was that of Saddam Hussein before it was trounced in 3 weeks, and as was that of many other Arab countries before simple military action took them out with relative ease. Iran cannot even defeat ISIS without US backing.

Second, Iran’s main attack (and the way to salvage their pride) will probably be against Israel using Hezbollah and Hamas. I am sure Israel is willing to deal with such expected retaliation.

Thirdly, even if Iran succeeds in inflicting some damage through terrorism and maybe damage to the oil trade (limited, given the huge surplus of oil in the world), it is nothing compared to the costs that Iran will inflict on the region and the world once the sanctions are lifted AND they become a nuclear weapons state.

Unfortunately, no one will have the courage to highlight and specify the option mentioned above for a better deal.

Unfortunately, no one will have the courage to highlight and specify the costs of the deal in strengthening Iran and its meddling as well as the damage it will do once it is a nuclear state.

I suspect that the most hawkish Republicans—who know in their heart of heart, that this option exists and is better—will be scared to raise it and initiate a debate on it.

And Democrats? They long ago sold their soul to the devil. It is not clear to me why they are so afraid of this President and of the extreme left wing of their party, but they are.

How do these people look at themselves in the mirror?