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by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: AIPAC, ISIS, and, Iran

7:15 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Honestly, it truly is tiresome exposing AIPAC’s undue influence over our elected critters, time after time…!

Let’s take a gander at the latest shenanigans…

Franks legislation authorizes military force against Iran

Recent talks between the West and Iran have created an important opportunity to resolve the Iran nuclear standoff. U.S. officials have expressed cautious optimism that a deal may be reached that protects U.S. interests. However, some in Washington seem determined to undermine the diplomatic process.

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) introduced legislation on October 15 that, among other things, would authorize the president of the United States to use military force against Iran. During the past several weeks, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has mentioned his plans to introduce a similar bill in the U.S. Senate. {…}

The headline of Franks’ own press release indicating his intention to introduce the bill read: “Franks Calls for Authorization of Military Force in Iran.”

In the section entitled “Support for United States Diplomatic Efforts,” the act specifies a number of preconditions on any agreement with Iran concerning its nuclear program.They include not only a virtual end to all Iranian nuclear activity, but also an insistence that Iran stop its support of terrorist groups, demonstrate a peaceful foreign policy, and recognize Israel’s sovereignty. Such preconditions, while praiseworthy objectives, are so stringent within the context of the current negotiations that they could severely diminish the chances of reaching a satisfactory diplomatic settlement with Iran on the nuclear issue.

It is so unhelpful for Iranian negotiations to advance, that…

Kerry, Lew to brief U.S. senators on Iran nuclear talks

Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will hold a briefing on Thursday on the status of nuclear talks with Iran for members of a U.S. Senate committee considering tough new sanctions on Tehran, Senate aides said on Friday.

President Barack Obama’s administration has been pushing the Senate Banking Committee to hold off on the new sanctions in order to give negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear program a chance.

Iran, Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany will meet November 7-8 in Geneva, after a round of talks there earlier this month.

Washington and its allies believe Tehran is developing the ability to make a nuclear weapon, but Tehran says the program is for generating power and medical devices.

The secret briefing for members of the banking panel with Kerry and Lew on the status of the talks with Iran will take place on Thursday at 4 p.m. (2000 GMT), according to a document obtained by Reuters.

The House of Representatives passed its version of a stiffer sanctions package in July by a 400-20 vote. The House bill seeks to slash Iran’s oil exports by another 1 million barrels a day a year.

The Senate bill could reduce the ability of the Obama administration to offer waivers to the sanctions. But the measure has not come to a vote in the banking committee, a prelude to its consideration by the full Senate. The two versions would then be reconciled before being sent to Obama for his signature.

It appeared on Friday that banking committee leaders, who had already put off consideration of the package from September, agreed to at least some further delay.

Interestingly…

Israel Intel Minister: Not pessimistic about Iran deal

Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said Tuesday that he believes Iran is “serious” about wanting to make a nuclear deal to save its economy. But he pressed for no let-up in economic pressure unless Iran agrees to terms for a deal that many US national security experts believe could preclude a diplomatic compromise.

“I think they are serious,” Steinitz, speaking to al-Monitor in an interview Tuesday, said of the Iranians. “They want an agreement.”

But the deal they are aiming for, he said, is a “North Korea-type,” under which Iran would freeze, rather than dismantle, major elements of its nuclear program, and offer “better inspections procedures.”

“Nuclear energy without enrichment is the only reasonable compromise,” he said.

Steinitz was in Washington leading an Israeli delegation attending two days of high-level talks with US counterparts as part of the US-Israel Strategic Dialogue. US Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns and Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman addressed the gathering Wednesday, the State Department said.

So…

U.S. negotiator in nuclear talks assures Iranians she’ll be fair

America’s chief negotiator with Iran promised in a broadcast intended for Iranians that she will be a “fair, balanced” participant in talks over Tehran’s nuclear program, despite her comment this month that “deception is part of the DNA” among Iranians.

Facing criticism from hard-line news media and some lawmakers in Iran, Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman said Friday in an interview with Voice of America’s Persian Service that her comments reflected American distrust of the Iranian government that has built up since the breach in relations after the Islamic Revolution of 1979. But she insisted that she and others in the administration respect Iranians and believe the talks offer a path for both sides to improve mutual understanding.

Asked what she meant by the statement, Sherman said, “I think it referred specifically to what our history of mistrust has been…. I think these nuclear negotiations will help us get over that mistrust.

Are you kidding…? So why on Earth is Albright and his ISIS pushing this absolute bovine manure…?

Iran may be one month from nuclear bomb

‘Shortening breakout times have implications for any negotiation with Iran,’ says new assessment by the U.S. Institute for Science and International Security.

Iran could build a nuclear bomb within as little as a month, a new report issued by the U.S. Institute for Science and International Security says.

According to the assessment, Iran’s weapons-grade uranium production capabilities are developed to a degree that its ‘breakout time’ – the time needed to convert enough uranium to weapon-grade so as to build a bomb – stands at between one and 1.6 months – and is shortening further.

“Shortening breakout times have implications for any negotiation with Iran,” states the report, adding that lengthening the breakout times should be a central concern of the current negotiations.

Such a goal could be achieved in a number of ways, the report says – all of which would involve a significant reduction in the number of centrifuges active at the Natanz and Fordo facilities.

And if that wasn’t enough scaremongering about Iran…

U.S. charges man with seeking to buy missiles for Iran

U.S. prosecutors brought criminal charges on Friday against a man they said had tried to acquire surface-to-air missiles that he planned to smuggle into Iran in a threat to U.S. national security.

Reza Olangian, a dual citizen of the United States and Iran, was charged with four counts, including trying to acquire and transfer anti-aircraft missiles, violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, and two conspiracy counts.

The defendant was arrested at an airport in Tallinn, Estonia, on October 10, 2012, and extradited to the United States on March 26, 2013, according to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in New York, who announced the charges.

And, finally, if you had any lingering doubts on AIPAC’s sway…

Senate Dems May Spurn Obama’s Call for Delay, Push Iran Sanctions

AIPAC Heavily Lobbying Congress to Continue Sanctions

…That’s not easy, as Congress imposes new sanctions on Iran every few weeks as a matter of course, and with Israel opposed to the negotiations AIPAC has been heavily lobbying Congress not to allow any delays, and to nip the diplomacy in the bud for Israel’s sake.

There are plenty of hawks who don’t need much convincing in Congress, and the Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee are scheduled to push those sanctions next week. Whether they will spurn Obama’s call for time remains to be seen, but in a lobbying battle between the White House and AIPAC, it’s hard to imagine that the Israel lobby doesn’t have the edge.

*gah*

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Bandar Bush, Code Pink, and Friends of Syria

7:10 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

I’ve been absent too long, pups! My apologies…!

There has been a slew of foreign f*ckery afoot and a whole bunch of it leads up to the House of Saud’s stoop…

Saudi Arabia warns of shift away from U.S. over Syria, Iran

* Riyadh signals anger over U.S. policy in Middle East

* Source says shift could affect arms, oil trade

* Prince Bandar set to end cooperation over Syria war

* In Washington, Saudi prince assails Obama’s Mideast moves

…Prince Bandar bin Sultan told European diplomats that the United States had failed to act effectively against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was growing closer to Tehran, and had failed to back Saudi support for Bahrain when it crushed an anti-government revolt in 2011, the source said.

“The shift away from the U.S. is a major one,” the source close to Saudi policy said. “Saudi doesn’t want to find itself any longer in a situation where it is dependent.” {…}

The growing breach between the United States and Saudi Arabia was also on display in Washington, where another senior Saudi prince criticized Obama’s Middle East policies, accusing him of “dithering” on Syria and Israeli-Palestinian peace.

In unusually blunt public remarks, Prince Turki al-Faisal called Obama’s policies in Syria “lamentable” and ridiculed a U.S.-Russian deal to eliminate Assad’s chemical weapons. He suggested it was a ruse to let Obama avoid military action in Syria.

“The current charade of international control over Bashar’s chemical arsenal would be funny if it were not so blatantly perfidious. And designed not only to give Mr. Obama an opportunity to back down (from military strikes), but also to help Assad to butcher his people,” said Prince Turki, a member of the Saudi royal family and former director of Saudi intelligence…

As the ever-intrepid, Pepe Escobar wrote today…

The self-beheading House of Saud

…As much as the House of Saud is completely paranoid regarding the Obama administration’s latest moves, throwing a fit will not change the way the geopolitical winds are blowing. Iran’s geopolitical ascent is inevitable. A Syrian solution is on the horizon. No one wants batshit crazy jihadis roaming free from Syria to Iraq to the wider Middle East.

The Saudi spin about creating “a new security arrangement for the Arab world” is a joke – as depicted by Saudi-financed shills such as this.

The bottom line is that an angry, fearful House of Saud does not have what it takes to confront benign protector Washington. Throwing a fit – as in crying to attract attention – is for geopolitical babies. Without the US – or “the West” – who’s gonna run the Saudi energy industry? PhD-deprived camels? And who’s gonna sell (and maintain) those savory weapons? Who’s going to defend them for smashing the true spirit of the Arab Spring, across the GCC and beyond?

Perennial Foreign Minister Prince Saud is gravely ill. He will be replaced by a recently appointed deputy prime minister.

Guess who?

Prince Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the king’s son. Instead of a “principled” stance against “double standards”, the House of Saud move at the UN feels more like nepotism.

Emptywheel delved further into Bandar’s perfidy today…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

AIPAC, Barak, Hagel, Kerry, and Mattis

4:01 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Mahalo to Medea Benjamin, for that RT interview and all of Code Pink’s efforts, along with these brave souls…!

Americans protest against AIPAC

Now, lest you thought the US Military was averse to starting a war with Iran…

Top US commander: Iran sanctions not working

Head of US Central Command says diplomatic efforts against Islamic Republic are useless, but it’s not too late to bring Iran ‘to its senses’

Top US commander in the Middle East, General James Mattis, said the current sanctions and diplomatic efforts to stop Iran from gaining nuclear capabilities are not working. He said Tehran has a history of denial and deceit and is enriching uranium beyond any plausible peaceful purpose…

That’s absolute Bullsh*t…! But wait, there’s more BS Mattis…

U.S. efforts on Iran not working, Syria planning underway: Mattis

…A top U.S. general said on Tuesday that American efforts aimed at preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon were not working, even as he voiced support for crippling sanctions and diplomatic efforts aimed at isolating the Islamic state.

“I still support the direction we’re taking. I’m just paid to take a rather dim view of the Iranians, frankly,” General James Mattis, the head of the U.S. military’s Central Command, told a Senate hearing…

A Freudian slip, perhaps…? To be sure… “Iran remains the single-most significant regional threat to stability and prosperity.”

Anyways, if you’re not pissed off enough… In Qatar today, SoS Kerry confirmed the blatantly obvious… ‘US now openly supports Syria militants’

Now, getting back to the Pentagon, I was truly flabbergasted by this Lovefest…

Chuck Hagel meets Ehud Barak (and wants to make sure the Israel lobby knows it)

New U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel hosted Defense Minister Ehud Barak at the Pentagon on Tuesday, making a special effort to express warmth and friendliness toward his Israeli counterpart during their first meeting together since the prior assumed office.

Hagel assured Barak during their meeting that he was committed to the security of Israel and of preserving the Israel Defense Forces’ qualitative advantage over the armies of the Arab world. He also said that he would work to ensure that U.S. funding toward Israel, particularly with regard to its defense systems, would continue “despite fiscal uncertainty.”

Where’s all that “I’m not Israel’s Tool Senator” rhetoric now…? *sigh*

Now, in closing on a humorous note, Phil and Annie, at Mondoweiss, wrote a great post on Stephen Colbert and the real Israeli tool, Michael Oren… Did Oren’s iron dome of affability stop Colbert’s brilliant strikes?