I can’t believe this is happening. Well I can. But I held onto hope overnight that someone would talk him out of this. However, I awoke to the news that President Trump has actually announced that he’s pulling the US out of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) aka the Iran Nuclear Agreement.
The man is a complete fu€ki₦g moron.
Trump’s announcement in support of his decision was a series of lies and erroneous conclusions. I suppose though if he was honest he would not only be retaining the JCPOA, he’d be endorsing it.
As I should have expected, one of the first lies was a repeat of the one that the Obama Administration GAVE Iran billions in cash. See my two posts about the JCPOA here and here to see the reality of that situation.
The next lie was was this statement:
A constructive deal could easily have been struck at the time, but it wasn’t.
The truth is negotiations were ongoing for nine years before the JCPOA was signed. There was nothing easy about getting a deal, and it is extremely unlikely a better deal could be had.
He even referred to Netanyahu’s joke of a presentation last week. He said of it, that it provided proof that Iran was lying at the time of the deal. As I wrote just a couple of days ago, everyone knew that. That’s the very reason the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) inspections of Iran are the toughest put in place for any country, ever. This was precisely because the US and others signing the deal KNEW that Iran was lying about the existence of a nuclear programme.
Another lie in Trump’s presentation is that Iran’s economy is doing “very badly.” That is important, because one of the hopes of the negotiators was that integrating Iran more into the world economy would restore it’s good international relationships.
Since the signing of the JCPOA in 2015, Iran’s economy has been improving. In their economy grew a massive 12.52%. Before 2015, Iran frequently had negative economic growth. Figures for 2017 are not yet available, but estimates are that GDP grew 3.46%, and that growth will continue to maintain a good rate.
Of course, that has now been put at risk by Trump’s decision. He is on record as saying that countries can get in via trade whatever else is going on between them. I guess he’s ignoring that when he wants to, as usual.
Iran’s inflation rate has also dropped significantly since it once again became part of the international economy.
In 2012 it was 30.57%, and in 2013 it was even worse at 34.7%. At that point, there was a lifting of some of the international sanctions as Iran were complying with some preliminary agreements under the JCPOA. These preliminary conditions were there to encourage Iran to see the positive benefits of the full JCPOA. This saw the 2014 inflation rate drop to 15.56%.
Since the signing of the full JCPOA, the inflation rate has dropped further still. It currently fluctuates between 9% and 12%. That’s still very high of course, but significantly better than five years ago.
So far the trend of the unemployment rate since the implementation of the JCPOA is hard to determine. It’s gone down, but then up again (though not as high as before), and doesn’t appear to have settled. However, the unemployment rate is almost always the last economic indicator to improve when the economy improves.
Trump’s plan to put strong economic sanctions back on Iran will have a negative effect on their economy. It will not stop them doing anything they wish in relation to military developments. As everyone with any sense knows, isolating and threatening a country makes them spend more on their military, not less. The extreme example of course is North Korea, who starved their people rather than reduce what they spent on nuclear weapons development.
Trump says the Iranian government made use of some the extra money it had following 2015 to build nuclear-capable missiles and fund terrorism. That is probably true. However, Iran was doing that before the signing of the JCPOA
Funding terrorism is against international law, and if the US government (or anyone else) can provide proof, they should provide it to the international courts. It is not a reason to pull out of the JCPOA, which currently makes it all but impossible for Iran to get a nuclear weapon. The region and the world would be much less safe if Iran was also able to provide nuclear weapons to terrorists.
Trump further says:
The agreement was so poorly negotiated that even if Iran fully complies, the regime can still be on the verge of a nuclear breakout in just a short period of time.
This is simply not true. Trump also refers to the “sunset clause” in the agreement. Some of the agreement, such as the IAEA inspections for example, are to continue in perpetuity. Here’s Obama’s comment (see below for his full statement) in relation to Trump’s claim that the JCPOA expires:
… the JCPOA does not expire. The prohibition on Iran ever obtaining a nuclear weapon is permanent. Some of the most important and intrusive inspections codified by the JCPOA are permanent. Even as some of the provisions in the JCPOA do become less strict with time, this won’t happen until ten, fifteen, twenty, or twenty-five years into the deal, so there is little reason to put those restrictions at risk today.
Trump’s logic is also completely screwy. He says:
If I allowed this deal to stand, there would soon be a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Everyone would want their weapons ready by the time Iran had theirs.
That simply does not make sense! What Trump is doing is getting rid of the deal that stops Iran developing nuclear weapons now. Without it, Iran will be able to start developing nuclear arms immediately. With the deal in place, they cannot. There is currently no nuclear arms race in the Middle East, mostly because of the JCPOA. A nuclear arms race is far more likely to occur by getting rid of this deal than by keeping it.
Trump goes on to say:
Making matters worse, the deal’s inspection provisions lack adequate mechanisms to prevent, detect, and punish cheating and don’t even have the unqualified right to inspect many important locations, including military facilities.
Again, this is a lie. The inspection provisions are the toughest ever put in place. They include the inspection of military facilities. They do have to give notice before inspecting military facilities, but the residue of nukes isn’t that easy to get rid of even if they’re removed. The IAEA states they are confident that if Iran cheats on the provisions of the JCPOA, they will find out. Further, by getting rid of the agreement, there will be no inspections at all! How is that an improvement?
Trump is correct that the JCPOA doesn’t address Iran’s development of missiles that could be capable of delivering nuclear warheads. It never pretended to. Rather than disposing of the JCPOA because it doesn’t include Iran’s missile development programme, which is currently completely legal, he could work on a new agreement which tackles that. He could be the hero to many on the West he wants to be if he was to negotiate a deal that did something about Iran’s missile development programme.
Trump is also correct with his statement, “… the deal does nothing to constrain Iran’s destabilizing activities, including its support for terrorism.” As mentioned above, Iran’s activities such as their support for Hamas and Hezbollah are illegal under international law. However, there are international laws, such as banking laws relating to transfer of funds for the purpose of terrorism, that are in place to stop such things. There would be no point putting them in the JCPOA too. I’m sure that if such activity was able to be proven, the US would be taking Iran to the ICC. This is not a reason to pull out of the JCPOA.
Trump’s understanding of the JCPOA appears to be completely flawed. But even if all his criticisms of the agreement were accurate, he’s still doing the wrong thing. He believes that when the deal expires in 2025, Iran will immediately have nuclear weapons. So he thinks that instead the correct thing to do is trash the agreement now, meaning they would have nuclear weapons now. Trump is a fu€ki₦g moron.
The country with the most to fear from Iran is clearly Israel. President Netanyahu is completely paranoid about the country, although I can understand why. He has made an announcement supporting Trump’s announcement. There are plenty of others though, including a large group of military and security officials within Israel, who support the retention of the JCPOA. Netanyahu is the ONLY international leader to support Trump. All others who have made statements have condemned the move.
Further there is a US group calling themselves The Iran Project. They describe themselves as:
Dedicated to a balanced, objective, and bipartisan approach to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
On 27 March 2018 they released a statement urging Trump to retain the JCPOA. This was their announcement about the release, which you can read at the link (pdf):
Today, a bipartisan group of 118 American national security leaders issued a statement outlining ten reasons why President Trump should keep the Iran nuclear deal. The signatories includes 49 retired flag officers of the U.S. military; 19 former members of Congress and 31 former U.S. ambassadors, including five former U.S. ambassadors to Israel.
It’s an excellent summary of the reasons for retaining the JCPOA, and I urge you to read it. It is especially good on the importance of US leadership and reputation, which Trump is damaging by this action.
Trump announces himself “ready, willing, and able” to negotiate a new deal. Who the fu€k does he think he is? The rest of the world does not want a new deal. We are all quite happy with the old one negotiated in conjunction with China, France, Germany, Great Britain, and Russia. It took nine years. He’s just destroyed all that on a whim. So much for the US not interfering in the activities of the rest of the world. He’s just taken the ball away that the rest of the world was playing with happily, and says he will give everyone a new one of his choosing if they are nice to him. I repeat, who the fu€k does he think he is?
If World War III starts in the Middle East, it will be his fault. That will be his legacy. Maybe this is why the Evangelicals like him so much. They think his actions will result in the return of Jesus. Their delusion becomes the death of millions.
You probably think I’m being too dramatic, and maybe I am. After all, despite being a complete a$$ho£€, the Ayatollah is not a fool. He is actually unlikely to start a nuclear war, and will try to keep the JCPOA going with the remaining partners.
Remember though: this Islamic fundamentalist is now in a position to take the moral high ground. I imagine he’ll take full advantage of the situation. We should be wary of that.
Here’s the full transcript of Trump’s announcement from the New York Times.
It’s not usual for a previous president to comment on the actions of a current president, and that’s as it should be. Normally I would not support Barack Obama speaking out on a situation the current regime was facing unless it was to be supportive. In this case though I think he’s done the right thing. Here’s Obama’s Facebook post relating to Trump’s actions regarding the JCPOA.
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I listened to CNN this morning and could not believe what I heard.
Heather, thank you for your research and your post. the post puts a lot of flesh on the contention that Trump is a moron.
I have come to the conclusion that he has no insight into anything, lives in a world of his own creation, the truth is what he says it is and anything to the contrary is false by definition as it differs from the truth according to Trump.
Also, he seems to believe that the can achieve anything he wants through bullying.
I cannot believe the things he says and does.
I think you’re right about the world he has created. Once he says something, as you say, he believes it’s the truth by definition, even if, as it often is, completely contrary to what he said previously.
He thinks he can run the most powerful country in the world the same way he ran his real estate business. That includes by bullying, lying, ignoring promises, not consulting experts (because he’s an expert on everything), stiffing those who work for him, and more. He seems to have no concept of the importance of diplomacy, and the importance of the other country being able to present any agreement as a win for them. He thinks he should be able to do what he wants because he’s the USA. Worst of all perhaps, he constantly underestimates his opponents. He’s the epitome of the Dunning-Krueger effect. He’s so lacking in knowledge when it comes to governance and diplomacy, he doesn’t realise how ignorant he is.
He doesn’t even have a concept of “ignorance”! Remember when the mayor of London called him ignorant, and he challenged him to an IQ test?
I forgot about that. And yeah, he doesn’t know the difference between ignorant and stupid.
Yes, that is an important distinction to keep in mind. He’s profoundly ignorant, but very savvy as a conman and demagogue.
He should not be underestimated (as many did to their detriment).
You’ve reminded me of one of cartoons from when Rex Tillerson called him a moron. Tillerson is wearing a T-shirt saying, “I’m with moron,” and Trump is pointing at Tillerson and saying, “He spelled ‘stupid’ wrong.”
“Also, he seems to believe that he can achieve anything he wants through bullying.”
Considering he’s now the so-called leader of the free world, I’d say that belief is working for him bigtime.
I wonder if Melania sees the irony of her anti-cyberbullying campaign vis-a-vis her husband. Maybe she is even doing it deliberately to call attention to it.
I think she’s doing it deliberately. Also, she’s a mother. Imagine the horror of being a teenage boy whose father is Donald Trump. He’s even named the poor kid after one of his nom de plumes – John Barron/Barron Trump. And I bet he already got a hard time for the name. I wonder if he shortened it to Barry like Obama?
I am surprised you are not upset about this. Just kidding and I think I know why sleeping last night was not good. Let’s mark May 8th of this year as significant. First the idiot pulls out of the Iran deal and then we find out the historical impact that a guy named Gohen is going to have on this same idiot.
There is not much I can add to the Iran thing except this. The Europeans will try to carry on and the moderates in Iran will do the same. I hope they can because that is all that is left. This Trump presidency will not be around much longer and I would like to see Iran hang on. If Trump takes action against the Europeans there will be hell to pay. I cannot predict.
We know just the beginnings of the PAY to PLAY schemes over at Trump and Cohen but I believe this will be the end game for Trump as president. Already over 4.5 million is know to have flowed through Cohen and the next thing is to determine where it all went. The game is up and all those doubters out there need to wake up. The destruction of this democracy is underway and very bad days are ahead. I would advice all those Americans and others who are invested in the markets to begin getting out. The days of oh well, lets just see what happens is over. The nightmare begins.
Yes. What you alerted me to yesterday re Cohen just keeps getting bigger. It’s not just the swamp, it’s a cave under the swamp. Mueller must know about this already. The Republicans can’t overlook pay for play to this extent, especially if it turns out to be as it looks – that Trump himself is being paid significant amounts after the election for access.
Iranian President Rouhani has already announced he will try and carry on the Agreement with the other signatories. It will all depend on whether Congress will allow the full implementation of sanctions. If so, European countries in particular will not be able to continue to do business with Iran. This is a major deal of course because of the several major companies that have set up there since 2015.
There are three items of hope on the horizon. The first is impeachment or worse. I like to imagine the impossible – Trump being perp-walked from the White House. (Perp-walking disgusts me actually, and in reality I don’t want it to happen to anyone.)
The second in the GOP refusing to do anything with his Executive Order. They’re a spineless bunch, so that’s not likely.
The third is a Blue Wave in November. I worry about whether that will happen. I lot of Democrats seem to just expect it without doing any work, or even getting out to vote. They don’t seem to realize just how much a significant core of the country like what Trump is doing and have no concept of the damage.
Don’t forget that the Iranian hardliners said from the outset that the Americans couldn’t be trusted and guess what? They have been proved correct. That greatly diminishes Rouhani’s position, so the liklihood that the deal carries on with just the Europeans is also diminished. But if the Europeans DO get the Iranians to continue working together, there is always the possibility that if Der Gropenfuhrer tries to play economic hardball that they will see an opportunity to knock the Americans off their high horse and will thumb their noses at the US.
BTW – I don’t see impeachment as a good outcome. With Pence, you get the same Christofascist mindset (in spades) without the narcissism and sheer selfishness. Plus Pence knows how to work the political system to make things happen.
I agree completely about Pence. And because of his Christian Fundamentalism, he won’t rejoin the Agreement either. If it’s kept going by the others and there’s a Democratic president in 2020, things could change. Two years is both a short time and a long time in politics. I note that Pence is doing his best not to be associated with anything that Trump does.
Rouhani will find it difficult, but the hardliners are otherwise in a weak position at the moment. The Iranian public recently found out the huge amount of government money that goes to support mosques and imams while they’re suffering in so many ways. Also, the call for the relaxation of several religious laws, including compulsory hijab, is getting stronger. More and more women are going hijab-free and the government is creating martyrs when they arrest people.
Yes, let us hope the other signatories will save the day. At present the Iranians appear still willing to play.
I wonder to which degree the EU can bypass and obviate the US sanctions that weare expecting, as to allow continued inspections, etc.
IIRC, wasn’t perp-walking instituted by Mr Giuliani when he was Mayor of NY? I don’t like the practice either, particularly since it is a punishment before a conviction, but would it not be a delicious irony to see Mrs Trump & Giuliani walking in shackles? the two of them crave public attention anyway…
Oh yes! Perp-walking Giuliani would be the epitome (that’s the second time I’ve use that word in these comments!) of irony!
Ann German has just sent me a tweet about all the Republican war criminals walking around Washington, such as Oliver North. And that creep in West Virginia may not have won the primary, but he did get 20% of the vote despite murdering (imo) 29 people. But look at how the Republicans react to much lesser crimes by Democrats. (I’ll put the tweet in the next Tweets post.)
I’m sure you’ve heard that Oliver North is the new president of the NRA…
Yep. I think I wrote something somewhere about him yesterday. Maybe in the Tweets Post I started. The NRA is keeping up its policy of having a murderer in charge – this time in the shape of a war criminal.
Yes Diane, I thought that Mr North was a ‘finished ‘ man, and that he would be well into his nineties now. To my surprise he turns out to be only 74. A spring chicken, with accompanying brains.
He’s been commenting on Fox. That would have been great on his Resumé!
“I think I wrote something somewhere about him yesterday. ”
Sorry, Heather, much as I love your blog I just haven’t been able to keep up lately. FWIW, it’s the same for me & WEIT. So much great content, so little time!
I had written something, but I hadn’t posted it yet — it’s up now if you have time. And you don’t have to apologise. I often just delete emails from other websites that I really want to read but just don’t have the time. I can go months without reading a couple of favourites. The only one I reliably read is WEIT, and I even miss some of them.
Martin’s assessment of the relationship between the Orange Turd and truth is spot on. And to understand his actions, you have to look at them through the lens of “how does it benefit me in the short term”. That is the only calculus involved in his decision making process. And pulling out of the JCPOA gins up support from the rabid garbage known as evangelicals and the hard-line right wing Jews.
Secondly, I think that he has come to the conclusion that the best way to be re-elected is to be a wartime president – if he starts a war, the country will rally around him. And he doesn’t really care where that war is, whether it be in the NE Pacific or the Middle East or wherever, as long as it’s with a country that he perceives is significantly weaker than the US.
As Heather said, he is a fucking moron. But what makes him so much worse than an average moron is that he is perfectly willing to destroy the human species to satisfy his disgusting ego.
The Iran Deal
The Paris Accord
Trump: pulling out of everything except Stormy Daniels.
I also have to wonder how much those things are driven in part by the racist bastard’s desire to try to erase as much evidence of the Obama Presidency as possible.
I think everything he does is aimed at getting rid of Obama’s legacy .
I think he is jealous of Obama, because Obama is everything he is not.
There’s a cartoon in my October post on this topic about Trump trying to fill Obama’s shoes.
Yep! I wrote about that in my post a few days ago.
Oh, I thought he pulled it out of Ms Daniels a decade ago. Do you really think they still ….? ????
Well said. trumps very scary blunder is dangerous to the world. trump and company WANT war – they see themselves, a la W,in military gear, boasting about their accomplished mission. It is a threat to national security to have trump,netenyahoo, the Saudis,Bolton determining our future and without restraint promoting nuclear war.
Are there no republicans at long last who can rise above greed and politics and out
their man? These evil people thrive on chaos and see themselves rising to the top of a destroyed world -or at least mideast -to grab power and oil (the fuel of the past).
Megalomania run amok.
I’m glad you mention John Bolton. I should have. I think he is a Machiavellian figure behind the scenes encouraging Trump to take this course. (If he was still around, Steve Bannon would be cheering him on too.) Bolton is very anti-Iran and pro-Netanyahu.
The ironic thing is that the ones in Iran who oppose the JCPOA are the hardliners/ Islamic fundamentalists. The Agreement makes it harder for them to do what they fantasise about – blowing Israel off the face of the map.
I’m not so sure that Bannon has gone away. Just guessing but I think that he’s probably crawled back under the presidential covers and still has some influence; after all, it is said that people Trump dumps publicly still remain in his orbit, and time will tell with Bannon. I’ve read that Bannon has been traveling in Europe giving speeches, stirring up the white superamacists over there, and that’s certainly good for Trump.
As for Bolton, here’s an article from Politico https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/05/09/john-bolton-mike-pompeo-donald-trump-218325, speculating that he and Pompeo will become rivals.
Will the US Senate go for this?
Heather, I agree with you completely. How the country that used to be the leader of the free word elected this moron, even with Russian help, is a mystery. And BigBillK said something I have been worried about for some time. As his domestic problems mount, Trump will likely start a war because historically the US won’t get rid of a president during a war. It wouldn’t be so bad if he were actually fighting the war, but he’ll get a lot of people killed for his own personality disorder.
I remember when Reagan was elected. He wasn’t popular in NZ like he was in the US. There was a lot of talk about people getting the job on the basis of celebrity and name recognition in the US. There also seems to be a disconnect between people understanding how government works and electing people capable of doing the job. They don’t recognize that Politician is a proper job, and you need people like John McCain (except for disagreeing with his politics) to do it.
I also have an impression (not sure how accurate it is) that USians are okay with politicians saying whatever they have to, to get elected, and no one worries if they don’t do it. Maybe that’s an inherent problem of a two-party system where it doesn’t matter much who you vote for in about 40 states, and that’s compounded by the Electoral College.
Technically, we elected Hillary…
All here seem to be of one mind. So I thought, maybe a dissenting voice can be needed. Here it is:
Your dissenting voice is nothing more than the Israeli position. Who do you think you are fooling. This is just about 100 percent propaganda from a media firm that practices propaganda for the far right republicans and Israel. You are not the dissenting voice any longer so just go away. For now you have what you want. When the war in Iran starts please, be the first one to sign up. I will not be there. You and Trump think that Iran is the one big bad guys in the middle east. That is just garbage. Can you spell Saudi Arabia. Where did all the 9/11 terrorist come from? Where did Ben Laden come from. Where is Saudi on human rights? Please go home, join the military and get ready to go to Iran. I will pass.
Malgorzata was polite, and has a right to her opinion. I agree with what you say, and the emotion with which you say it, though I’d prefer you tried to say it as if we were discussing this while sitting in my lounge enjoying tea, cake, and savouries.
I’ve read the MEMRI essay about their support for Trump’s actions now. There is much of of what they write that is wrong. It would take a whole post to go through everything. I’ll just comment on a couple of issues.
They say for example that Iran were caught cheating and it’s the laxest inspection regime for anyone that’s been caught cheating. That’s not quite right. There were two times where Iran were not technically in compliance with the rules. Twice in 2016 they had too much heavy water in their reactors. They owned up to the IAEA about that before they were caught and reduced their levels. Ever since, they have been in full compliance. You can say it’s the most lax testing regime for anyone who’s been caught cheating, but that’s because Iran is the only country who has (sort of because they owned up) been caught cheating.
There are NO IAEA inspections in North Korea. The IAEA only carries out inspections in countries that are signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Iran has, and those inspections are pretty limited and based on trust EXCEPT for Iran. I bet Russia and China cheat but no one knows. Israel has military weapons – it’s an open secret. But there are NO IAEA inspections there because Israel refuses to sign the NNPT.
Another complaint by MEMRI is that they can’t go to Iran’s military sites. This isn’t true. They can go to military sites if they give 30 days notice. Iran is the ONLY country where the IAEA goes to military sites. They do not go to military sites anywhere else including, of course, Israel, which, unlike Iran, does have nuclear weapons. The IAEA says they are confident that they would be able to detect nukes even after thirty days if Iran had them on a military site, then removed them before an inspection.
I won’t go on, but it should be clear that there is a lot more to this issue than what MEMRI is saying.
Hi Heather, unfortunaly, you are wrong. Iranians are adamant that no foreigner will ever set his/her foot in any Iranian military site. It was repeated many times by people from the highest tiers of Iranian regime. And there never was any inspection by IAEA of any Iranian military site, inclusive Parchin.
You are right that there is much more to the issue than what was written in this one report by MEMRI. Luckily, MEMRI published scores of translated speeches and documents by representatives of Iranian regime and illuminated many other aspects of the issue as well.
It is strange that people directly threatened (both verbally, and through terrorists attacks: U.S., Israel, Gulf states) by Iran are the ones who suport Trump’s decision. Nations who hope to be eaten last (mostly Europe) are much more concilliatory. It strongly reminds me about 1930s when Polish and Czechoslovakian politicians called for pre-emptive strike against Hitler and were called everything bad under the Sun: warmonger, provocateurs, dictators. Well, especially Polish politicians definitely didn’t have any good democratic record but it’s rather seldom in real life you get the neat dichotomy: good guys on the one side, bad guys on the other. Sometimes you have to decide which bad guy threatens you most. Like the West did when it allied itself with Stalin against Hitler. You could also check what Winston Churchill was called in liberal press, giddy of joy that there will be no war, after Chamberlain returned from Munich.
Reading Randall Schenck’s answer to me I just marveled at the mentality which refuses to check any facts – such people are so wedded to their opinions that any fact which could cast a shadow of a doubt on their convictions is called „100% propaganda”. They feel threatened to the core of their being by such inconvenient facts and can only react with agression and hate. This is quite sad.
I certainly don’t see the Iranians as angels.
There is more to the antipathy towards the Iranians though. A big part is that they’re Shi’a, along with Syria, the new Iraqi government, Hezbollah, and Hamas. There is a centuries old religious war. Saudi Arabia has quietly decided behind the scenes that it’s currently in their best interests to get on with Israel. They tend to lead Sunni political opinion. Iran feels all this is an existential threat to them. They are fighting a proxy war with SA in Yemen, as you know.
It’s not everyone who is most threatened by Iran who is anti the JCPOA. It does seem to be the religious hardliners – Jewish, Christian, and Muslim – who are most against it though. Netanyahu needs the support of the Jewish religious conservatives, just as Trump needs the support of the Christian conservatives. In Iran, it is the Ayatollah’s closest supporters who oppose the JCPOA. It was a win for the moderates who want to normalize relations with the rest of the world. Those who are most anti-Israel want the freedom to develop nukes.
I think Netanyahu is worried that the US won’t support him as strongly, especially militarily, if things are seen to calm down too much in the region. He’s afraid of losing his own nukes, which he shouldn’t have anyway. I understand why he feels that way, and the US should reassure him on an ongoing basis. However, it’s difficult to do that publicly at the moment for two main reasons.
1. Lack of respect for Trump internationally. Trump speaking up for Israel could make others oppose Israel on principle.
2. Netanyahu’s current legal troubles. They don’t want to be seen supporting a potential criminal.
There are other reasons too.
The whole region is so complex and is currently a tinderbox. As always, there are no good solutions – easy or otherwise. Good people will continue to suffer.
You are absolutely right that the centuries long conflict between Shia and Sunni Muslims is another complicating factor. You are, however, mistaken that the „resistance axix” (Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas) is kept together by their common religion. For centuries Alawites (ruling in Syria) were treated by both Sunni and Shia Muslims as heretics (they do not accept sharia nor hijab, they allow alcohol – and this is anathema for both Sunni and Shia). However, since 1979 when mullahs took over Iran and one of the main goals of their regime became annihilation of Israel, they softened their stance and decided to accept Alawites.
Hezbollah is simply an Iranian organization: designed in Iran, planted in Lebanon, trained, financed and armed by Iran. Shia, the majority in Iraq, persecuted by Sunni minority under Saddam, came to power with massive Iranian help. But Hamas is purely Sunni. 99,8% population in Gaza Strip are Sunni (0,2% Christians). Iran also armes elements on the West Bank (Sunnis as well) who are against any recognition of Israel (but not Palestinian Authority, treated by Iran as traitors). There are enough statements of highest Iran’s officials to the effect that they will back, suport and arm anybody who is against Israel – no matter their faith. So the glue keeping „resistant axix” together is their goal to eradicate Israel – not their common religion.
Iran has clearly stated its imperial ambitions, they are building the so called „Shia Crescent” and their war with Saudi Arabia in Yemen is a part of this endavour. There is a Sunni majority in Yemen (56%) but a very substantial Shia minority (44%) and Iran is doing everything to get this country under Shia’s rule.
President Obama clearly stated that there should be a better balance between Sunnis (90% of Muslims) and Shia (10%) which encouraged mullahs no end. No wonder Sunni Arab states, especially those in which there is a Shia minority, are afraid.
I could never understand why Hassan Rouhani was ever treated as moderate. Not only executions of Iranian dissidents, minorities and homosexuals counted in thousands under his rule, not only all free speech is strangled, but he clearly states his goals which are very, very far from „moderate”. If nothing else you can look up quotes by Rouhani in Wikipedia. Here is one example: „Saying ‘Death to America’ is easy. We need to express ‘Death to America’ with action. Saying it is easy”. (Remark made on May 8, 2013, as quoted in About That New ‘Moderate’ Iranian Cabinet . . ., The Wall Street Journal, August 7, 2013)
I disagree with the rest of your comments as well, but this is long enough.
I didn’t think I mentioned Syria, because I was wondering whether I should have, but it’s too hard to go back and look from where I am. Anyway, I agree with your comments there. Iran is only supporting Assad as the lesser of two evils. If he’s out there will be Sunni leadership. Also, Iran is an ally of Russia.
I know Hamas is Sunni, and Iran only supports them because of their willingness to attack Israel. It’s a case of the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Rouhani is moderate compared to the Ayatollah. That doesn’t mean moderate in our sense of the word, and I’m not claiming he is. He is more moderate than the Saudi government, which the US and Israel don’t publicly criticize because they’re an ally. The human rights abuses in that country are appalling. Just like Iran (and 11 other countries) atheism is punishable by death. Being an atheist gets you automatically labelled a terrorist in SA too. And women there have the highest suicide rate in the world. They have even less rights than in Iran. The women of Iran are fighting the compulsory hijab law, and having some success. The women of SA are not there yet.
Malgorzata, for once I tend to disagree, I think there is quite a bit wrong with MEMRI’s data (as already pointed out).
I also think it is definitely not in Israel’s interest to sink the JCPOA. It is about the only thing that more or less prevents Iran from acquiring nukes. A confrontational stance plays straight into the hands of the Iranian hardline theocrats, and will send it on a DPRK type of course.
I think Heather’s analysis is correct.
MEMRI’s data from this report are corroborated by many other reports both form MEMRI and other saources (not all of them from Israel). In a situation when the country is threatened with annihilation and practically all political parties of this country, from right to left (except a small group of Communists), its army, its security and intelligence agancies (known for being very effective) are expressing relief that this deal, which according to them would lead to Iran with nuclear bomb withing a few years, is off, I’m definitely inclined to trust them more than European politicians who have huge economic interests in Iran; UN, which is generally anti-Israel, and people all over the world who very much prefered Obama to Trump (which I really fully understand).
The JCPOA is not perfect. However, the thing I have the biggest trouble understanding is how trashing it makes it harder for Iran to get nukes. It makes it quicker and easier. That alone makes Israel less safe.
And there are plenty in Israel who oppose this move. It is NOT universally popular.
Yes it makes it quicker and easier for Iran to get nukes. That makes it quicker and easier for Trump to go to war with them, which is the only upside for Trump at this point.
“how trashing it [JCPOA] makes it harder for Iran to get nukes. It makes it quicker and easier. ” That was exactly the point I tried to make.
Moreover, now that the US opted out out, they appear to have no follow-up strategy whatsoever… war? or what?
Let’s face it, there are only two real problems with the deal:
1. It does not help put money in Trump’s bank accounts
2. It was signed while Obama was in the White House
BTW there is now a large number of imaginative derisory titles extant for Trump; one of the most recent I saw was Pussolini, which is so good I am encouraging everyone to adopt it 🙂
I have been calling him the snatch snatcher ever since the p grabber tape surfaced .
Wonderful play on words ,don’t you think?
I have a rotating list that I like to use, including:
Mango Mussolini (I like Trevor’s Pussolini)
Pussy Grabber in Chief (I like snatch snatcher but it’s too subtle and polite for my taste)
And several that are more derogatorily crode. Actually more than several.
Wow ,first time anything i have written /said /done been described as subtle .
I post on the Independent website ,it won’t accept it written normally ,so i type it as thesnatchsnatcher .
Really? How strange, it won’t even let you snatch forty winks between meetings.
Just checked again on the independent ,snatch is ok ,snatcher gets a green banner saying awaiting moderfrying .
Very strange .
Snatch snatcher is brilliant, but does’t roll easily off the tongue, Pussolini is also great. Since I doubt that name calling achieves anything other than giving us some unwarranted feeling of relief, I’ll stick with ‘Mr Trump’, as in
“The Strange Case of US Potuscy: Dr Obama and Mr Trump.”
I’m partial to the satirist Harry Shearer’s sobriquet for Trump — Cockwork Orange.
Yes, you’re absolutely correct. Trump is a fucking idiot. I loved what Obama had to say…he had a lot of points you made. You probably already read this, but for what it’s worth.
Actually, I hadn’t seen it. Thanks!
I love the Daily Kos intro to Obama’s statement!
Trump couldn’t produce a single sentence of that! (Obama’s remarks.)