You are browsing the archive for Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett.

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Iran, Israel, Libya, and Syria

6:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As the dynamic duo of Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett wrote recently…

The Use of Force, the Reflexive Resort to Economic Sanctions, and the Trials of America’s Hegemonic Mindset

As negotiations toward a “final” nuclear deal between the P5+1 and Iran continue, it is important to consider to what extent the world might be witnessing a fundamental change in American foreign policy. We are inclined to think that the Obama administration would not have gone as far down the diplomatic road with Iran as it has in the absence of President Obama’s self-inflicted debacle over his declared intention to attack Syria after chemical weapons were used there in August 2013. This episode drove home—to the Obama administration as well as to most of the rest of the world—that the United States can no longer credibly threaten to use military force in the Middle East for hegemonic purposes.

After the American public so resoundingly rebuffed Obama’s call for U.S. military action, his administration was compelled to conclude that starting down the diplomatic road with Iran was politically less costly than pushing for more sanctions and continuing to insist that the “military option” was still “on the table.” But can the Obama administration really go all the way to a comprehensive realignment of relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran—and, in the process, show that the United States can shift proactively from a counterproductive drive to dominate the Middle East to serious engagement with all important regional powers, and not just slink out of region in defeat?

Making such a shift will require Washington to relinquish the self-damaging delusion that the United States can actually maintain hegemony in the Middle East on an open-ended basis. America’s reaction to the ongoing Ukraine crisis suggests that American elites are having a very difficult time giving up this delusion.

Interestingly…

Sanctions on Russia over Ukraine not expected to damage delicate diplomacy on Syria, Iran

…The U.S. focus on chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict fulfills Russian President Vladimir Putin’s goal of keeping Syrian President Bashar Assad in power, and Russian influence in the talks on Iran’s nuclear program has diminished, according to analysts who specialize in U.S.-Russian relations.Those conclusions suggest that the State Department’s compartmentalization policy will succeed, avoiding a severing of U.S.-Russian ties but still light years away from what the Obama administration once had envisioned as a “reset” with Moscow…

Moving along…

Israelis suspected of trying to buy Libyan oil from seized tanker

Two Israelis and a Senegalese national were questioned in Cyprus in connection with an oil tanker loaded from a rebel-held port in Libya, the island’s CNA news agency reported Monday.

It said police in the coastal city of Larnaca questioned the three on Saturday on suspicion of negotiating to buy crude from the tanker, Morning Glory.

A Larnaca court declined to issue arrest warrants as authorities in Cyprus had no evidence that the alleged offence was committed within its territorial waters.

Local media said the three flew in to Larnaca on a private jet late Friday, hired a boat from the marina and went out to the tanker to negotiate with the crew.

Police monitored their movements and the boat was intercepted once they were back in Cyprus waters. The trio flew out to Tel Aviv on Sunday night.

In Washington, the Pentagon said US Navy Seals early Monday boarded and took control of the Morning Glory in international waters southeast of Cyprus.

It was to be taken back to Libya.

Meanwhile, in Israel…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: AIPAC, Hillary, Kerry, and Sisi

6:15 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As FDL Alum, Jim White wrote yesterday…

Implementation of Interim Agreement With Iran Begins January 20, Paving Way for Further Negotiations

…Somehow, Obama and/or Kerry will need to find a way to get Menendez and his fellow war mongers to remove the language from their sanctions bill that sets preconditions for the structure of the final agreement. Further, any new sanctions taking effect during this critical six month period would immediately result in Iran exiting the negotiations and negating the interim agreement.

In essence, there will be parallel sets of negotiations. The P5+1 group will be starting work with Iran on the final agreement in early February while the Obama administration will be emphasizing its plan to veto any new sanctions bill that is passed during the negotiations. Of course, it would be best for Congress to merely abstain from interfering during the negotiations, since a virtually unanimous and instantaneous vote on new, stiffer sanctions would be guaranteed should the negotiations with Iran fail. But since Congress has already shown that they fully intend to pass some sort of bill, I would look for Obama to make a big push to get the automatic triggers, especially any that require Iran to halt even low level enrichment, removed from the bill. A bill requiring verification from Obama or Kerry that the negotiations have failed before the new sanctions are implemented might escape an Obama veto. Posturing on this second set of negotiations has already started.
{…}

Note that even Schiff, who seems to be taking Obama’s side in preferring to let the negotiations continue before Congress acts, reserves some skepticism over Iran giving up pursuit of nuclear weapons. The inability of Congress to see that even before Rouhani was elected there were signs that Iran was slowing its nuclear work is disappointing. In fact, I fear that the Menendez bill, or a similar bill calling for new stiffer sanctions even if a final agreement allows low level enrichment could override an Obama veto. Such a bill would be an unmitigated disaster and lead to a war with Iran, but it seems like a very distinct possibility unless there is a rare outbreak of sanity on Capitol Hill.

Meanwhile, b at MOA, further pointed out the obvious…

Obama’s Pivot Requires Serious Negotiations With Iran

…Obama has no other sane option but to seriously go for a permanent deal. If he does not get one the sanction regime will surely fall apart. Neither is a war on Iran a viable alternative. Attacking Iran, which is not developing nuclear weapons, under some ‘non-proliferation’ argument would destroy the U.S. moral-political position in the world while such an attack could not hinder but would justify Iran to start striving for a nuclear deterrent. Additionally a war in the Persian Gulf would be devastating for the world economy. ‘Containment,’ without an effective sanction regime, is no containment at all and not serious option.

Obama wants a U.S. ‘pivot to Asia.’ To achieve such a reduction of U.S. engagement in the Middle East is a necessity. Neither Israel nor Saudi Arabia want that. They want to keep U.S. attention on their perceived enemies. But the U.S. can not further engage in Asia and stay fully deployed in the Middle East. It is either or.

The Zionists are pressing Congress to blow up the negotiations with Iran by legislating new uni-lateral U.S. sanctions on third parties. Obama can blame himself for having enabled such self defeating ‘suffocating sanction’ strategy. That strategy is failing and the way out of it will be difficult for him. But Congress will not dare to vote directly for a war on Iran.

If Obama would negotiate in good faith with Iran the United States could acquire a serious and reliable partner in the Gulf and enable its pivot to Asia. But playing games, as Obama again tried last week until Russia stepped in, will leave it with a mostly unenforceable Iran ‘containment’ strategy that will drain its resources and leave the pivot to Asia an under-resourced dream.

Hillary Mann-Leverett slams our failed Syrian FP…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Our Failed FP, Noam Chomsky, Bibi, and, Iran

4:46 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

That RT clip is an object lesson in how obtuse our MSM FP press and/or Think Tank advisers are…!
Consider Judith Kipper‘s bio… Judith Kipper is the adviser for Middle East Programs and director of the Energy Security Group at the Council on Foreign Relations(CFR) and a longtime consultant on international affairs for ABC News Then, on the other hand you have Flynt Leverett(and Hillary)…!

From their most recent post…

Iran and American Foreign Policy: Where Did the US Go Wrong?”— Noam Chomsky and The Leveretts at MIT…

…It was in this critical spirit that we came to MIT. We left deeply inspired by Prof. Chomsky, an incarnation of that spirit, whose comments were simultaneously powerful, profound, and delightful. One example:

“It’s now sixty years since the U.S. overthrew the parliamentary government in Iran. And since that time, not a single day has passed in which the U.S. hasn’t been torturing Iran, constantly. Jimmy Carter was asked about this, and he said, ‘Well, it didn’t really matter, it’s ancient history.’ Obama’s standard line is, ‘Let’s not look to the past; let’s look to the future.’

That’s a very convenient position for criminals. ‘Let’s forget everything that happened.’ Somehow, victims don’t feel that way. They have memories. You see this all over the world. The victims have memories which the perpetrators don’t know about, or like to forget: ‘It’s all in the past; let’s forget it.’ I think it’s useful to remember a quip of William Faulkner’s, who said, ‘The past is never dead. It’s not even past.’ And that’s true in this case. For victims, the past isn’t past.”

But, while deeply appreciating the past, Prof. Chomsky is also very much forward looking, telling his audience that Americans have the power to demand different policies from their government. In that regard, we will always treasure Chomsky’s verdict on our book, Going to Tehran, offered at the beginning of his remarks:

“The most important thing I can say tonight is actually very brief. Three words: Read this book. That’s good advice. You’ll find a lot of information that’s not generally available, some that’s not available at all, also very valuable insights and understanding which is sharply different from views in the United States, attitudes in the United States that are so conventional and unchallenged they can fairly be called a ‘party line.’ [You’ll also find] perspectives that may help, if they’re widely enough understood, to halt a very clear drift towards what could be a terrible war.”

To rebut some of Kipper’s obtuseness…Lavrov Discussed Iranian Role in Syria Peace Talks

…The Russians and Americans agreed during Kerry’s visit to Moscow to set up a conference of international players to end the war in Syria. Moscow wants to involve all the nations which took part in the Geneva conference on Syria last summer, and says without Iran’s participation the conference cannot succeed.

Saudi Arabia and Iran were not involved in the Geneva talks, Lavrov recalled.

“Our American partners blocked Iran, and the Saudis were not invited as ‘compensation’ for the absence of Iran,” Lavrov said in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta to be published on Monday.

“If we admit that Iran has a very solid influence on what is going on, then it is obliged to be represented in the negotiations as a participant in the ‘external ring’ [of neighboring states],” Lavrov said. “I said this to John Kerry. He kind of agreed with this, but said that a number of states in the region were categorically opposed to this.”

All the Syrian opposition groups should be represented in the talks, Lavrov said, including those struggling for a division of Syria.

As Assad stated yesterday…

US-Russia-led meet welcomed by Assad

Syrian president says he welcomed a US-Russian peace initiative to end the civil war. However, it won’t end up in success because of the fragmented opposition, according to the embattled leader…

U.S.-Russian peace initiative to end Syria’s civil war is welcome but not likely to actually succeed, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said May 18, while ruling out any resignation from his post in an interview with an Argentine newspaper.

“To resign would be to flee,” he told daily Clarin when asked if he would consider stepping aside as called for by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. “I don’t know if Kerry or anyone else has received the power of the Syrian people to talk in their name about who should go and who should stay. That will be determined by the Syrian people in the 2014 presidential elections,” al-Assad said…

Funny thing about those 2014 elections… CIA: Assad to Get 75% of Votes in Next Term, Syrian Gov’t in Advance…

Anyways, the foreign f*ckery continues apace…

Read the rest of this entry →