Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rant On Sanctions and Hillary

Tony Karon

"The purpose of sanctions is to bring the Iranian side to the negotiating table," - Li Baodong
"Hillary Clinton said on Monday, May 17, that the new sanctions resolution was "as convincing an answer to the efforts undertaken in Tehran over the last few days as any we could provide."
"The Administration is hoping to present a united front of Security Council powers in order to hold off pressure from Capitol Hill to take tougher action. But if Iran takes serious steps toward implementing the Brazil-Turkey deal, pressure could grow on the U.S. from the likes of China and Russia to respond positively." - Tony Karon

A week can't go by without weird developments going on in the Middle East. Beginning tomorrow, Israel is having a week-long defense drill, having military and citizens practice what to do if it was attacked. Hezbollah is taking advantage of the situation by staging thousands of its soldiers along the Israeli - Lebanese border, in case Israel decides to invade.
"In the event of any new attack on Lebanon, the Israelis will not find anywhere in Palestine to hide"
These events precedes the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri coming to Washington for his first visit and talking to President Obama and administration officials: "White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said on Friday the two leaders would discuss a "broad range of mutual goals in support of Lebanon's sovereignty and independence, regional peace and security."

In recent months Israel has repeatedly accused Syria of arming Hezbollah with Scud missiles and other weaponry, and warned than in the event of a new conflict it will consider Lebanon, rather than just Hezbollah, as its enemy. The threats have sparked war jitters and prompted a flurry of diplomatic activity to ease tensions in the region." al-Hariri has previously met with the leaders of Egypt and Turkey, and wants a broad based international support to have Israel and Palestine sit down and negotiate face to face, if his country doesn't explode in violence while he's away.

Iran continues to play head games, in its continual chess match with the US. It is now saying that on Monday it will present a formal letter of the nuclear fuel deal it has made with Brazil and Turkey to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Here's where the doubletalk begins: "Earlier, Iran said it intended to go ahead with the deal despite a new sanctions resolution against Tehran pending at the UN, an Iranian parliamentarian said on Saturday. "Iran is committed to the vows that it made and wants to make them operational... The Americans' propaganda will not have any effect on Iran's decision ... We advise those countries who want to issue this resolution against Iran not to be manipulated by America."

Today, the head of Iran's nuclear program was forced by his government to say that unless the Western powers ok'ed the deal and did not proceed with sanctions, then the deal would be off. "The new, extended sanctions would target Iranian banks and call for inspection of vessels suspected of carrying cargo related to Iran's nuclear or missile programs. Iranian officials have dismissed the draft resolution as lacking legitimacy, and rejected international demands that it suspend enrichment." Both Brazil and turkey have informed the US that the nuclear fuels deal is a good window of opportunity for a diplomatic resolution to this mess, while Hillary only sniffs dismissively and sharpens her hawkish claws...

Hillary may be good at straight talk over human rights, but she's proving to be really old school in the delicate art of nuclear negotiations. Especially in light of the NY Times reporting that: "President Obama, speaking to graduating cadets at the United States Military Academy, repudiated his predecessor’s emphasis on unilateral American power and the right to wage pre-emptive war." In order to get Russia to agree to sanctions, Clinton negotiated that the US agreed to: "... lifting American sanctions against the Russian military complex and agreeing not to ban the sale of Russian anti-aircraft batteries to Tehran. The administration dropped sanctions on Friday against the Russian state arms export agency and three other Russian entities previously found to have transferred sensitive technology or weapons to Iran. The move came just three days after the United States and Russia agreed on a package of United Nations sanctions against Iran.

Russian and American officials also said Friday that while the United Nations resolution would ban many weapons sales to Iran, it would not prohibit Moscow from completing the sale of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Tehran, a contract that Russia has suspended but not canceled. The sophisticated defensive system could help Iran shoot down American or Israeli warplanes should either try to bomb its nuclear facilities."

To get China to go along, the US agreed not to hamper the sales of Chinese missile technology to Iran, because it is opening its own missile manufacturing plant to replace the S-300's that Russia has yet to deliver. So, in order to get her sanctions, Hillary agreed to Iran getting a bunch of missiles from Russia, and the knowledge of how to maintain them, along with the ability to make similar class of missiles from the Chinese. Some critics think that this is too great a giveaway, which means that the arrogant, bumbling Iranians have actually won the game.

Who knows? Maybe the Iranians really are only interested in a civilians nuclear energy program. I've often wondered why Iran stays a member of the IAEA, subject to facilities inspections, and also remains a signator of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. But the NPT says that any country that has signed on has the guaranteed right to develop a non-weapons nuclear program. And while we dicker over our paranoia and Iran's honesty of intentions, they continue merrily along enriching fuel...

Is the US adhering too much to the old style of making demands before negotiating with a perceived enemy? Isn't this what we are trying to get the Israelis and Palestinians not to do? Perhaps we should begin by leading by example... Sit down with both Tehran and the Taliban, establish embassies in Burma and North Korea, and start turning the squeaky axle of evil, get them out of their isolation and into the world community, able to turn over a new leaf...

Do you want a smaller federal government? Isn't it about time we fired everyone that was hired during the George W Bush administration?

The US can stop policing the world now.

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