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Monday, August 31, 2015

Thoughts on the Nuclear Treaty with Iraq and partisanship in general.

Link: Netanyahu voices concern over removal of sanctions.

Ever year our nation seems to become more politically partisan, with everyone claiming to be independent, but Independent candidates getting no traction whatsoever.  No doubt if an Independent (meaning not Democrat, Republican, or Libertarian) candidate arrived on the scene who had Donald Trump's bank account, we might see a very competitive election.  But the system is built to support the two existing parties and the established methods for raising campaign funds.  Independent candidates can never expect to come close to raising the kind of money that a serious Republican or Democrat can.  Aside from that fact, we don't believe an Independent candidate would be representative of the United States electorate, anyways.  In 2015, we are an opinionated nation, and people feel very strongly about the validity of their perspectives.  w guess we're no different.  When we hear someone expressing an opposite viewpoint, we do my best to give them a fair shake. But at the end of the day, after almost half-a-century on this planet, we have confidence in our opinions.  And something important we've learned along the way: don't get mouthy and loud about issues in which you have no knowledge or experience.  Here at "Mukhabarat, Baby!", we have made a point to avoid posting opinionated commentaries regarding the United States economy.  Sure, we have opinions, but I'm not an economist.  I do, however, consider myself to be knowledgeable on issues of diplomacy and foreign policy.  Some readers may consider our site to be partisan,  but you can be sure that we support our positions with evidence.

I recently read an article which introduced ten retired U.S. Army Generals who had come out in support of the Obama Administration's Nuclear Treaty with Iran.  Its our understanding that the United States Army has hundreds of certified, true Generals among us, the vast majority of them retired.  Something tells me, that if I made a bit of an effort (and you know, to protect this president, the media would make the effort), I could round up ten Generals who believe that the Reptilian People live amongst us.  In other words, finding ten Generals to agree on something doesn't get you very far, especially when we are considering something as patently awful as this Treaty.  The three issues that bother me the most about this treaty have nothing to do with the controversial subject of nuclear proliferation.

My first complaint has to do with a handful of U.S. citizens that are currently locked away in Iranian prisons.  Not surprisingly, each one is being accused of having insulted Islam, being an enemy of the Islamic Republic, or a spy for the Zionists, or just a plain spy, period.  The charges are bogus; they are in jail because they are U.S. citizens, and the Iranians thought that they might come in handy someday as bargaining chips of some sort.  Normally, given the seriousness of the negotiations between the United States and Iran, you would have expected U.S. negotiators to have tried tooth-and-nail to make the release of our citizens part of any agreed-upon treaty.  Can you believe that this president was so obsessed with the issue of his legacy that he allowed the Iranians to remove the subject of the prisoners/hostages from the negotiations, without the slightest complaint?  How can a sitting U.S. president agree to a treaty with a foreign power that holds U.S. citizens in its jails, as hostages?  The Administration has gone on record stating that the charges against the prisoners are false, and yet they were forsaken.  What if that were your parent, or your sister, sitting in that Iranian jail?  I wonder if they had promised to vote Democrat in the next election, if he might have tried a bit harder to have them included........

My second complaint: what steps has Iran taken that justify the lifting of weapons sanctions?  A nation EARNS removal from a weapons embargo, at least that's the way it's been up to now.  Does Iran continue to financially support terror groups around the world?  Absolutely, including Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen (dumping the Houthis in with Hezbollah is a bit of a stretch...we ask your indulgence).  Iran also provides tremendously important support to the flailing regime of Bashir al-Assad in Syria.  Where else does Iran export weapons and warfare?  Iraq is a good example; the Shi'a militias/Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs), which have become so important in the struggle against ISIS in Iraq, include the Badr Organization, Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, Mahdi Army, and Kata'ib Hezbollah.  Each group is trained and supplied by Iran.  As for the Iranian Armed Forces, they are in serious need of updated materials.  The Iranian Air Force is still flying a combination of ancient U.S.-made F5s (from the days of the Shah), and Migs that it stole from Iraq during the initial Gulf War.  And unlike the Chinese, Indians, Israelis and South Africans, the Iranians have had little success utilizing older equipment, and creating an indigenous weapon by incorporating home-grown innovations and technologies.  The Iranians need radar, jets, bombers, cargo planes, tanks, armored personnel carriers, computerized targeting equipment, missiles, and artillery, and their navy needs submarines and frigates.  Luckily, the economic sanctions will make it difficult for Iran to go on a shopping spree, now that the weapons-sanctions have been lifted.  Wait....ALL sanctions are being lifted, aren't they?  That means billions of dollars for Iran to buy what it wants.  And once the Saudis and the U.A.E. realize that Iran is not only closer to a nuclear weapon, but that they are modernizing their Armed Forces as well, we will see a nice little arms race develop in the Persian Gulf.  Its not Rocket Science, folks.

For all practical purposes, our last major complaint has already been covered.  We believe that the Iranians should have been obliged to disavow the exportation of terror and the support of terrorist groups.  It may have been just show, but at least we could make them look a bit foolish on an international stage.  In reality, Iran should have been required to limit its aid to groups like Hezbollah and the Houthis to strictly humanitarian goods.  In the end, nothing was asked of Iran.  They were not asked to disavow terror, and they were not asked to dismantle certain facilities in Iran whose sole function is the processing of weapons-grade nuclear material.  They were asked to halt all research into nuclear weapons-related projects, and to permit regular inspections.  The Iranians refused to agree to the inspections, until Secretary of State John Kerry took a knife and severed the last set of balls that existed in this treaty, which was the option for unannounced inspections.  What did Kerry agree to instead?  The inspectors must request the opportunity to inspect each respective site, and that request must be made three weeks in advance of the actual inspection.  To add to the absurdity, the Iranians reserved the right to DENY the request.  In truth, what would we do?  If the Iranians said, "we don't give you permission to inspect that particular site", would we automatically re-apply the sanctions?  Would be take back the money that would have poured into Iran by then?  And what about all the new upgraded military you think they will return it, no questions asked?

Previously, we were convinced that the 2010 New Start Treaty was the worst treaty ever negotiated by a U.S. Secretary of State.  John Kerry has proved us wrong, and in the same administration, no less. 

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