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Working for International Dialogue and Peace
The Kentucky Republican, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, could stop the hawkish former ambassador to the United Nations from getting out of committee if there is unanimous Democratic resistance. The committee is narrowly divided among 10 Republicans and nine Democrats, and Paul said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that he’s an “automatic no on Bolton.” “John Bolton doesn’t get it. He still believes in regime change. He’s still a big cheerleader for the Iraq War,” Paul said. “John Bolton is so far out of it and has such a naive understanding of the world.” ››read more
On December 7, a joint UANI/Foreign Policy Institute (PNAC renamed) Future of Iran Policy event discussed US policy on Iran, with the incoming Trump administration in mind. A rogue’s gallery of anti-Iranian extremists participated – including Joe Lieberman, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and neocon Foundation for Defense of Democracies head Mark Dubowitz, among others. Neocon lunatic UANI/FPI members and supporters urge military confrontation with Iran, wanting Washington to sink its ships, attack its Syrian advisors, impose stiffer sanctions, and rescind the JCPOA nuclear deal. Dubowitz said America must “restore coercion.” Sanctions aren’t enough, noting Syria is “a target-rich environment” to incite conflict. ››read more
The U.S. should sink Iranian ships, consider targeted killings of Iranian fighters in Syria, and ratchet up new non-nuclear sanctions on Iran under the Trump Administration, according to a panel of lawmakers and policymakers organized on Capitol Hill yesterday by the hawkish United Against Nuclear Iran organization. Outlining Trump’s options going forward, Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies said the U.S. must “restore coercion” and recommended direct military confrontation, saying that sanctions alone are not a silver bullet. “The next time a Revolutionary Guard attack boat harasses the U.S. Navy, we should sink it, put it in the bottom of the Gulf,” Dubowitz said. “That would be a good start.” ››read more
Iran has summoned the British ambassador to Tehran over the recent meddlesome remarks made by UK Prime Minister Theresa May against the Islamic Republic. ››read more
This is a regional war but its outcome will affect an area from Pakistan to Nigeria, and it is a sectarian conflict which impacts on all the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world ››read more
Such a level of detail and awareness of alleged Hezbollah activities would be truly impressive, if the map had not turned out to be a fake. Some Twitter users pointed out that it was unlikely the image was a “declassified map,” since its history showed that it had been created using Google Maps via an IDF spokesperson account. The dots, marking the alleged “military buildup,” even featured a repetitive pattern. IDF later said the map had been an “illustration,” and users simply misinterpreted it as a piece of declassified intelligence. The map’s title, tagline and caption were presumably “illustrative” too. “The illustration reflects how Hezbollah has positioned its terrorist infrastructure within the civilian arena,” the spokesperson told The Times of Israel. The map, despite its ”illustrative” nature, has been shown to almost every foreign diplomat visiting Israel, to demonstrate that while Hezbollah participates in the Syrian civil war, it continues preparations for conflict with Israel and hides among civilians located near the border, according to a Channel 2 report. ››read more
But Flynn wondered aloud to them if it was “black swan” event, which was his way of “dog whistling” us toward Iran being involved. This “black swan” theory of his intensified concerns among my DIA colleagues that he was pushing raw intelligence — known as “stove piping” — to the White House. His fondness for spurious conspiracy theories put him at odds with the national security team at the White House. Sure enough, within a months of this chatter Flynn was out. He “resigned,” but the reality is that the intelligence hierarchy, led by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, fired him. I was not surprised that Clapper resigned after Trump indicated that Flynn would be his national security advisor. My impression is that he wanted nothing to do with Flynn.
The foreign ministers of China and Iran on Monday urged governments not to violate the deal that limits Iran’s nuclear activity in exchange for the lifting of sanctions, in remarks apparently directed at President-elect Donald Trump’s incoming administration. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said during a visit to Beijing that the seven nations who agreed to the deal in July 2015 “have the obligation to fully implement” it. “Iran will not allow any country to take unilateral action to violate the agreement and Iran has the right to take action against that,” Zarif said at a news conference after meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. ››read more
General Flynn is entitled to differ from the large majority of the American security establishment by opposing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement with Iran. But his advocacy of “regime change” over diplomacy as a means of addressing Iran’s nuclear program is reckless and incendiary. His appointment will send a dangerous signal to all parties to the agreement and the entire world that the United States cannot be counted on to adhere to its obligations under this or other vital international agreements. Perhaps most alarming, since last summer General Flynn has regularly attended your classified intelligence briefings while also advising foreign governments. He has reportedly leaked classified US intelligence to Pakistan, and his lobbying company, Flynn Intel Group, has ties to Turkish interests close to the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. ››read more
China has warned that no party to the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world countries should allow its domestic upheavals to adversely affect its commitment to the accord. ››read more
In fact, Mattis’ anti-Iran animus is so intense that it led President Barack Obama to replace him as Centcom commander. It was a move that roiled Mattis admirers, seeding claims that the president didn’t like “independent-minded generals who speak candidly to their civilian leaders.” But Mattis’ Iran antagonism also concerns many of the Pentagon’s most senior officers, who disagree with his assessment and openly worry whether his Iran views are based on a sober analysis or whether he’s simply reflecting a 30-plus-year-old hatred of the Islamic Republic that is unique to his service. It’s a situation that could lead to disagreement within the Pentagon over the next four years—but also, senior Pentagon officials fear, to war. “It’s in his blood,” one senior Marine officer told me. “It’s almost like he wants to get even with them.” ››read more
Mr. Flynn saw the Benghazi attack in September 2012 as just one skirmish in this global war. But it was his initial reaction to the event, immediately seeking evidence of an Iranian role, that many saw as emblematic of a conspiratorial bent. Iran, a Shiite nation, has generally eschewed any alliance with Sunni militants like the ones who attacked the American diplomatic compound. For weeks, he pushed analysts for evidence that the attack might have had a state sponsor — sometimes shouting at them when they didn’t come to the conclusions he wanted. The attack, he told his analysts, was a “black swan” event that required more creative intelligence analysis to decipher. ››read more
In Mosul, civilian loss of life is blamed on Isis, with its indiscriminate use of mortars and suicide bombers, while the Iraqi army and their air support are largely given a free pass. Isis is accused of preventing civilians from leaving the city so they can be used as human shields.
Contrast this with Western media descriptions of the inhuman savagery of President Assad’s forces indiscriminately slaughtering civilians regardless of whether they stay or try to flee. The UN chief of humanitarian affairs, Stephen O’Brien, suggested this week that the rebels in east Aleppo were stopping civilians departing – but unlike Mosul, the issue gets little coverage. ››read more
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has warned that the Islamic Republic will halt the implementation of last year’s landmark nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries if the US sanctions are re-imposed on the country. ››read more
A member of the Iranian Parliament’s Presiding Board says the legislature is preparing a triple-urgency motion which would mandate the government to resume nuclear activities halted under a landmark agreement between Tehran and the group of six countries known as the P5+1. ››read more
Despite Iranian complaints and administration arguments that the move is unnecessary, the U.S. Senate on Thursday approved legislation extending the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) for another ten years – by a vote of 99-0. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont did not vote. The Iran Sanctions Extension Act, which passed in the House in a 419-1 vote a fortnight ago, now goes to President Obama’s desk. Unlike other pending Iran-related legislation, the White House has not indicated that Obama would veto the bill – the scale of support indicates a veto would be overridden in any case. ››read more
In an interview with the BBC that was published on its website on Wednesday, Mr. Brennan warned that scrapping the nuclear deal would undermine American foreign policy, embolden hard-liners in Iran and threaten to set off an arms race in the Middle East by encouraging other countries to develop nuclear weapons. “First of all, for one administration to tear up an agreement that a previous administration made would be unprecedented,” Mr. Brennan said in the BBC interview, which the broadcaster said was the first by a C.I.A. director with the British news media. “I think it would be the height of folly if the next administration were to tear up that agreement.” ››read more
Iran will increase its uranium enrichment capacity if the US renews sanctions against the Islamic Republic and violates the landmark nuclear agreement between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries, a senior Iranian lawmaker says. ››read more
Mr. Trump’s immediate position on the Iran deal will be one of the first critical tests for his presidency. It will also test the legitimacy of the United Nations Security Council. The American public, like international leaders, should make clear to the president-elect that they do not want to become entangled in yet another military crisis in the Middle East, especially one that the world has already worked so hard to avoid. ››read more
Abu Omar Khorasani, an Isis leader in Afghanistan, is quoted as saying that “our leaders were closely following the US election, but it was unexpected that the Americans would dig their own graves.” He added that what he termed Trump’s “hatred” towards Muslims would enable Isis to recruit thousands of fighters.
The Isis calculation is that, as happened after 9/11, the demonisation and collective punishment of Muslims will propel a proportion of the Islamic community into its ranks. Given that there are 1.6 billion Muslims – about 23 per cent of the world’s population – Isis and al-Qaeda-type organisations need to win the loyalty of only a small proportion of the Islamic community to remain a powerful force. ››read more