Weaning Ourselves Off War in the Middle East? Or Preparing for Israel’s War?

Gary Sick speculates that all the seeming confusion in the Obama Administration’s policy on Iran may be an attempt to create political space to shift our policy on Iran. After laying out some Leon Panetta flip-flops in December and the latest scientist assassination and the “False Flag” response, he describes Obama’s political problem with trying to shift relations with Iran.

The Obama administration has three problems with the Iran issue.

First, it is an election year, and the Congress is determined to impose total sanctions against Iran’s petroleum sector. In a sense, this is the ultimate stage of the sanctions process. For 16 years, the United States and its allies have piled more and more sanctions on Iran for the avowed purpose of getting Iran to change course on its nuclear program. It didn’t work. When the sanctions started, Iran had zero centrifuges. Sixteen years and many sanctions later, Iran has about 8,000 operational centrifuges and a substantial stock of low enriched uranium.

In this process of ever-accelerating sanctions, we have arrived at a point where sanctions begin to blur into actual warfare. If the sanctions succeed in their purpose of cutting off nearly all oil exports from Iran, that is the equivalent of a blockade of Iran’s oil ports, an act of war.

It was always said that the failure of sanctions would leave nothing but war as an option. It was not always appreciated that, at a certain level, sanctions and warfare would converge. With the latest sanctions rider on the Defense Authorization Bill, reluctantly signed into law by President Obama, the Congress has maneuvered the executive branch into a tacit declaration of war.

Second, it is my judgment that the Obama administration has looked hard at the potential effects of getting dragged into a war with Iran and has decided that a return to the negotiating track is essential.

But third, the Netanyahu government distrusts the diplomatic track. Israel signals as strongly as possible that it is prepared to strike unilaterally if necessary; and it uses those threats as leverage to keep the situation at a constant crisis pitch, while pressing for the most extreme sanctions. Israel’s influence is not to be underestimated, particularly in an election year and with an Israeli prime minister who makes no attempt to conceal his disdain for President Obama.

As illuminating as I think Sick’s speculation to be, even there the story is muddled. He links to Jim Lobe’s post describing that an Israeli-US joint defense operation planned for March has been delayed. The CNN story reporting that suggests the US postponed the operations just before Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey visited Israel. But as Laura Rozen reported, Israel, not the US, postponed the exercise.

A major U.S.-Israeli missile defense exercise that had been planned to take place in the spring has been postponed due to a request by the Israeli Defense Ministry, American and Israeli officials told Yahoo News Sunday.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak issued a request to the Pentagon last month that the planned joint exercise be postponed, a U.S. official told Yahoo News Sunday.

“It was Barak,” the U.S. official said on condition of anonymity.

The Jewish Telegraph Agency’s Ron Kampeas reported earlier Sunday that the exercise was being postponed, ostensibly because of “Israeli budget cuts.”

But American officials are privately concerned that the Israeli request for a postponement of the exercise could be one potential warning sign that Israel is trying to leave its options open for conducting a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in the spring. In that case, it would not wish American forces to then be on the ground, the thinking goes.

Meanwhile, a key Knesset committee chairman ended a meeting today by accusing Bibi Netanyahu, who was at the meeting, of lying about the economy, diplomacy, and the defense budget. (h/t Laura)

Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Shaul Mofaz put an end to a committee meeting that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was participating in Monday afternoon, yelling at the prime minister. He later told reporters, “The citizens of Israel should know that their prime minister is a liar.”
An hour earlier, a spokesman from the Prime Minister’s Office put out a statement alleging that Mofaz said IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz did not report truthfully about the defense budget and expenses. Mofaz vehemently denied making the statement.


What Netanyahu did in the committee, the Kadima MK added, “no prime minister has ever allowed himself to do … He is lying to Israel about the economy, lying about diplomacy, and as of today he is also lying about the most sensitive parts of the defense budget.”

It sounds like they’ve got false flag operations going on even within the Knesset in Israel!

And rather than executing some kind of master chess move, the Administration seems, instead, to be desperately pushing both sides not to start a war–with less success convincing Israel.

U.S. officials briefed on the military’s planning said concern has mounted over the past two years that Israel may strike Iran. But rising tensions with Iran and recent changes at Iranian nuclear sites have ratcheted up the level of U.S. alarm.

“Our concern is heightened,” a senior U.S. military official said of the probability of an Israeli strike over U.S. objections.


The planned closing of Israel’s nuclear plant near Dimona this month, which was reported in Israeli media, sounded alarms in Washington, where officials feared it meant Israel was repositioning its own nuclear assets to safeguard them against a potential Iranian counterstrike.

Despite the close relationship between the U.S. and Israel, U.S. officials have consistently puzzled over Israeli intentions. “It’s hard to know what’s bluster and what’s not with the Israelis,” said a former U.S. official.

And while Sick portrays this as three-dimensional chess, there are at least two more key dimensions. First, there’s the election, with key Bibi allies like Sheldon Adelson dumping huge money into a now-aborted attempt to take Mitt out. All that money–and  not just the money in Newt’s SuperPAC–will soon be focused on Obama. And as Sick knows better than anyone, this crowd won’t necessarily stop at political ads.

Then there’s the Chinese, who thus far have balked at the latest round of sanctions, all the more so as the US sanctioned a Chinese firm last week. And even as the Obama Administration has struggled to pressure Iran in an effort to prevent Israel from starting a war, China and Saudi Arabia have been getting cozy.

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia said Monday it inked an agreement with China to enhance cooperation between the two countries in the development and use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes.

The deal, signed Sunday, sets a legal framework that strengthens scientific, technological and economic cooperation between Riyadh and Beijing, according to a joint statement. It seeks to enable cooperation in areas like maintenance and development of nuclear power plants and research reactors, manufacturing and supply of nuclear fuel elements.


Saudi Arabia plans to spend more than $100 billion on 16 nuclear reactors planned to be built by 2030 to meet its growing domestic energy needs, the kingdom’s former Saudi intelligence chief and former ambassador to Washington, Prince Turki Al Faisal, said last year.

The cooperation agreement between Saudi Arabia and China comes amid intensifying international pressure on Iran over its controversial atomic energy program, which the Islamic republic says is only for peaceful purposes, while the U.S. and other Western states suspect it’s aimed at developing nuclear weapons capabilities.

Ultimately, of course, China will do what it needs to make sure its energy needs aren’t hindered by American global and Israeli regional hegemonic goals. Which means it may well hold the most important cards–and could well aim to bring out a realignment while we’re distracted. Unlike Americans, after all, the Chinese are noted for their skill at playing multi-dimensional chess.

It’s not clear what’s going on–or whether even the Obama Administration knows what’s going on. It might well work out with some space for new efforts in the Middle East. But it’s not sure we’d be the ones to benefit from it.

37 replies
  1. MadDog says:

    I’ll throw one additional thought into the mix. The rationale behind the most recent assassination of the Iranian scientist was not to slow down or derail Iran’s nuclear program.

    Instead, it was an effort to induce Iran to overreact. In particular, by inducing Iran to make some kind of a visible and public attack as a response either directly against Israel or Israeli interests.

    I’m not suggesting that Iran would perform the attack itself. It’s more likely to have one of its proxies do the deed(s) (Hezbollah, Hamas, etc.).

    The upshot would be that such an attack against Israel or Israeli interests would not only garner Western sympathies for Israel (the PR component), but would also form a casus belli for Israel’s unilateral strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

    Make no mistake but the handful of assassinations of the Iranian scientists involved in Iran’s nuclear program are unlikely to cause anything but a minor hiccup in the grand scheme of Iran’s nuclear efforts. With a population of almost 75 million people, there would have to be the assassinations of hundreds if not thousands of Iranians before one could meaningfully retard Iran’s nuclear program.

  2. Jim White says:


    With a population of almost 75 million people, there would have to be the assassinations of hundreds if not thousands of Iranians before one could meaningfully retard Iran’s nuclear program.

    Funny you should mention that. Just posted this afternoon at Mehr News:

    Over 1000 students apply to change major to nuclear physics, engineering
    TEHRAN, Jan. 16 (MNA) – A number of students at the Sharif University of Technology have announced their readiness to work in the nuclear industry promising to rob the enemies of sleep, Mehrdad Bazrpash, an official at the university, said on Monday.
    The news came five days after Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, a graduate of Sharif university in chemical engineering and an official at the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility, was assassinated in Tehran.

    Minister of Science, Research, and Technology Kamran Daneshjo also told a press conference on Monday that “three hundred talented students at Sharif university and about a thousand brilliant students at the country’s universities have applied in recent days to change their major and start studying nuclear physics and nuclear engineering.”

  3. Arbusto says:

    If there’s a way to make the situation worse, the US seems uncanny in its ability to do so, with the aid of AIPAC, End of Dayers and ultra Zionists of course. Even with the dumbing down of the Israeli electorate and the simultaneous immigration of many Haredi from Eastern Europe, maybe a realization by said electorate that Bibi and the Likud are bad for Israel is forming.

  4. P J Evans says:

    @Jim White:
    It makes me wonder how many of them are doing it voluntarily, and how many were asked by government to do so, possibly with strong hints that their families would be much better off if they did.

  5. rosalind says:

    ot: another Domestic Drone usage – real estate! from the H’wood Reporter:

    It reaches an altitude of 600 feet, operates stealthily and has a range of about two miles. HeliMalibu’s aerial drone isn’t the latest device used in the war on terrorism — it’s helping real estate agents sell houses. And it’s one of several new tools brokers are experimenting with to boost sales in a stagnant market.

    From the HeliMalibu website:

    HeliMalibu provides high quality aerial imagery using cost effective, safe and friendly technology that enables our clients to use aerial photography/video where once it would have been prohibitive, inefficient or highly expensive. We can design camera mounts for specific client requirements, we can fly over dangerous situations and obtain both live and recorded pictures and video. Our remote controlled copter can fly for up to 20 minutes on one battery charge depending camera weight.

    The UAV is quiet and unobtrusive which makes it suitable for use in residential areas. Low noise levels mean that it is unlikely to cause a disturbance or even be noticed.

    (emphasis mine)

  6. orionATL says:

    just posted at “false flag” below, but more at home here:

    orionATL on January 16, 2012 at 5:10 pm said:

    let’s be clear what the u.s.’ “iranian problem” is:

    it is NOT iran.

    it IS netanyahu foreign policy.

    it is lack of foreign-policy leadership in the american congress.

    it is a money-saturated congressional election process.

    it is the israeli-american domestic political lobby.

    gary sick’s article was thoughtful and informative.

    the question it raised in my mind, though, is:

    what can iran give the u.s.?

    what does the u.s. expect iran to give it?

    iran has no nuclear weapons and has not pursued them for years, possibly since 2001.

    iran has every right to develop nuclear power. is the u,s, expecting iran to forego nuclear power? (though if japan and russia are any example, doing so might be in the long term interests of the iranian people.)

    what do the iranians give the americans? hezbollah? no terrorism? over-flight rights for drones?

    if i were the iranians, i’d be moving toward china (and egypt if possible) as fast as possible, maybe with long-term oil contracts, testing to see if the u.s., israel, and the western europeans have a stomach for dragon meat.

  7. P J Evans says:

    There’s that, too.
    When all the news you get is filtered, it’s really hard to know whether it’s even partly true.

    (I remember, as a freshman in college, the school asking for volunteers to put off the second part of freshman English for a term because they were going to have a lot of students coming in who had just finished remedial English (‘English 1A’), with the clear implication that if the number of volunteers was insufficient they’d be choosing people at random to wait. That kind of ‘volunteering’.)

  8. Gitcheegumee says:


    Rosalind, have you ever read the LA Times article from some years back entitled “Secret Agent Insurance Man”?(Of especial interest is the delineation of the AIG/OSS connection.) *

    I have long wondered about drones and today’s banking/insurance industry.

    *The Secret (Insurance) Agent Men – Featured Articles From The Los

    Sep 22, 2000 – They knew which factories to burn, which bridges to blow up, which cargo ships could be sunk in good conscience. They had pothole counts for …

  9. GKJames says:

    Can you elaborate on (i) the extent to which US policy is driven by Israeli threats or, conversely, to which the US has its own policy and simply uses Israel as the front man; (ii) how much (or little) of the public rhetoric coming from the US government is credible; (iii) policy differences, if any, between the White House and the US military, particularly with respect to the purported “red line” of an Iran with nukes; (iv) the factions, if any, within the US government who oppose a policy that makes US military action virtually inevitable and who oppose Israel’s efforts to drag the US into an assault on Iran; and (v) the degree to which the US has the capability (separate and apart from the political will) to force Israel to stand down. Thanks.

  10. rg says:

    Considering Saudi Arabia’s nuclear reach, one has to decide whether that reach is for electricity to replace declining oil reserves, or for weapons to deal with emerging democracies, and other hegemonic forces in the region. That same question applies to Iran. Some have concluded that it is the latter, and thus the push toward preemptive war. One has to wonder to what extent there is any definitive data on this. Further, one has to wonder to what extent such matters relate to Gary Sick’s speculation about the Obama admin attempting a negotiation strategy. It seems to me that such a strategy could be a sane way of addressing a reach toward nuclear weaponry as a means of dealing with a hostile world. Such a view would be in keeping with the famous Cairo speech heralding a new middle east posture for America. Too bad it comes about 3 years and a lot of deaths too late.

  11. orionATL says:

    a little bit about iranean oil and its position in world oil production. interruption of iranian oil supplies, whether by deliberate act or as collateral damage would have some implications for both western and eastern economies. it would also be devastating for the iranian economy.

    from a paper by “the united states institute for peace” **


    “…  Oil
              Iran is the second largest OPEC producer and the fifth largest globally (after Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United States and China). In 2010, it produced some 3.7 million barrels per day. Its oil sector is one of the oldest in the world. Production started in 1908 at the Masjid-i-Suleiman oil field. As a result, Iran has one of the world’s most mature oil sectors. About 80 percent of its reserves were discovered before 1965. Iran has already produced 75 percent of its reserves, so the likelihood of other major discoveries is low. Iran has made some important new discoveries in the past decade, such as the Yadavaran and Azadegan fields, but they have not been sufficeint to alter the trend in oil reserves depletion.
              The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has held crude production within the 3.8 million to 4.0 million barrels per day range for the last several years. This has been a major achievement since most oil sectors with depletion rates of 75 percent usually witness steep declines in production. Indeed, Iran’s base production is declining around 4 percent per year. The recently discovered new sources have allowed Iran to hold oil production relatively steady, and they may even help production levels to grow somewhat in the immediate future. But new sources will not be able to offset natural declines beyond the short-term. As a result, Iran will have to rely heavily on proven but undeveloped reserves, which will require major new investments. Production capacity is likely to fall because of geological constraints, the lack of domestic technical capacity, financial constraints and international sanctions.
               In the 1990s, Iran attempted to attract foreign companies to develop its crude oil reserves, partly because it lacked the technical and financial resources to develop them. The contract terms were called buy-back arrangements, whereby foreign oil companies developed the field and were paid back in crude oil produced. The field under development was returned to NIOC’s control after repayment was completed. These arrangements were unpopular with foreign companies, even though several large oil and gas fields were developed. The threat of renewed sanctions and Iranian refusal to provide better terms has led most private Western companies to leave.
               In the last few years, Tehran has increasingly looked East to attract national oil companies into the Iranian upstream industry. The greatest activity has been with China, which has held talks on major projects since Sinopec signed the contract for the Yadavaran field in 2007. But proceeding to actual development has been slow, even for Yadavaran. It remains to be seen whether these other projects will move forward in the near term… ”

    **i have no knowledge of where usip is coming from.

  12. sona says:


    agree with your overall assessment
    but bibi doesn’t play multi-dimensional chess, he plays a two dimensional drafts game where israel loses but bibi wins – for now

  13. orionATL says:


    thanks for the input. that is very intetesting.

    sounds like politics in israel is pretty much the same game as politics here.

  14. sona says:

    was it wolfowitz who wondered publicly why an oil rich country like iran would want to develop civil nuclear capability?
    those neocons are awfully quiet re sa’s plans to develop civil nuclear capability for energy generation – the country that the US is adamant will make up the shortfall in oil supplies if the straits of hormuz are blocked

  15. matt carmody says:

    Oh, it’s still OK for Israel to have nuclear weapons and now the Saudis are gonna arm up? Nothing like pushing towards Armageddon, as long as our favorites win.

  16. orionATL says:

    what is the united states institute of peace?

    it is a federally funded, neutral think tank, authorized by congress during the reagan administration, whose charter is to focus on reducing the chance for war.

    wikipedia has this summary on the history of the organization.

    note that the first wiki paragraph below shows:

    – it was targeted by the tea-party barbarians when they over-ran the house of reps in 2011


    – it was targeted very early on in those savages sack of intelligent governing in this country.

    about USIP, from wikipedia:

    “… On February 17, 2011, the House of Representatives for the 112th U.S. Congress voted to eliminate all funding to USIP in FY 2011 as part of a broader effort to cut federal spending.[3][4]


    The idea behind the formation of a peace organization in the United States dates to the first years of the republic. In 1783, George Washington called for the adoption of a “proper Peace Establishment.” Two-hundred years after Washington circulated his vision to the states President Ronald Reagan signed the United States Institute of Peace Act in 1984.

    Prior to USIP’s creation in 1984, there was a campaign to create a “Department of Peace” by Sen. Jennings Randolph in 1946. In the 1970s and 1980s, Randolph joined Senators Mark Hatfield and Spark Matsunaga and Rep. Dan Glickman in an effort to form a national peace academy. That followed a recommendation of a commission appointed by President Jimmy Carter and chaired by Matsunaga.

    The charter Congress wrote for the new Peace Institute said it must “serve the American people and the federal government through the widest possible range of education and training, basic and applied research opportunities, and peace information services on the means to promote international peace and the resolution of conflicts among the nations and peoples of the world without recourse to violence.”

    In 1996, Congress authorized the Navy to transfer jurisdiction of the federal land – a portion of its Potomac Annex facility on what has been known as Navy Hill – to become the site of the permanent USIP headquarters, across the street from the National Mall at 23rd Street and Constitution Ave., NW, in Washington, D.C. Officials broke ground for the new headquarters building in 2008. President George W. Bush, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid attended the event. Pelosi quoted President John F. Kennedy’s commencement speech to American University in 1963: “The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war,” Kennedy told the crowd, as Pelosi recounted. “We shall be prepared if others wish it. We shall be alert to try to stop it. But we shall also do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are safe and the strong are just.” George P. Shultz, former Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan, spoke about preventing war. As President Bush stood by his side, he said: “In your time, I think this is one important idea that has real legs and staying power…”

  17. sona says:

    @matt carmody:
    sometimes i think nuclear capability deters open warfare whereas lack of it invites illegal invasion and occupation leading to asymmetric warfare that the occupiers can never win and have not to date
    what is the armageddon you dread? continuing skirmishes that cost lives? illegal invasions?
    let’s not forget there is only one country that has ever used nuclear weapons in warfare and now it wants (selectively) to prevent others from acquiring that capability

  18. sona says:

    no, not yet – they are too reliant on a migrant workforce to do the jobs
    their education system is all f***** up that does not train many for relevant technological skills
    perhaps they are getting worried that pakistan is going to the dogs so its islamic nuclear deterrent is increasingly unreliable

  19. shekissesfrogs says:

    People that are into the RC aircraft hobby aren’t allowed to fly over residential neighborhoods, and they have to carry insurance just in case they accidentally crash and hit a car or something.

    No one will likely notice at first until some drop out of the sky. I wonder what price the insurance will be on those machines.

  20. shekissesfrogs says:

    We (Panetta) admit that Iran isn’t working on a bomb, but we’re punishing them with sanctions to keep the pressure on them so they don’t build the bomb… to get them to the table for dialog/negotiations after we have passed AIPACs legislation forbidding discussion, because this might give their positon a semblance of legitimacy.

    This is like beating your kid before he misbehaves, because you want to make sure he he doesn’t do it, or because you suspect he might be thinking about it.

    It’s like trying to reason with a crazy person.

    Negative reinforcements without an alternative for the subject don’t work. Do they want Iran to stop not working on the bomb?

  21. rosalind says:

    @shekissesfrogs: yeah, i’m interested in how a commercial application like this is regulated, or if it’s flying under the radar and rules haven’t caught up with it yet.

  22. CasualObserver says:

    Gareth Porter / Jim Lobe

    However, Rozen reported Monday that “several current and former American officials” had told her Sunday that the delay had been requested last month by Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak. One official suggested privately that there is concern that the alleged Barak request could be aimed at keeping Israel’s options open for a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in the spring.

    But it would make little sense for Netanyahu and Barak to commit Israel to war with Iran before the shape of the U.S. presidential election campaign had become clear. And Barak would want to have knowledge gained from the joint exercise in tracking and intercepting Iranian missiles with the U.S. military before planning such a strike.

    Moreover, the Israeli Air Force was still touting the planned manoeuvres as recently as Thursday and, according to Israeli media, was taken by surprise by Sunday’s announcement.

  23. emptywheel says:


    (i) the extent to which US policy is driven by Israeli threats or, conversely, to which the US has its own policy and simply uses Israel as the front man;

    I think it depends on the Administration. I do think Obama is trying to get some distance. But I also suspect some Americans–certainly out of govt, possibly some in govt–are still working closely with the Israelis such that even if O succeeds, it may be turned into an October Surprise.

    (ii) how much (or little) of the public rhetoric coming from the US government is credible;

    Approximately half, but we don’t know which half.

    (iii) policy differences, if any, between the White House and the US military, particularly with respect to the purported “red line” of an Iran with nukes;

    I do believe most in the O Admin see that war is not a winning proposition for us. I think the military types ALSO have concerns about how such a war would gut their abilities.

    (iv) the factions, if any, within the US government who oppose a policy that makes US military action virtually inevitable and who oppose Israel’s efforts to drag the US into an assault on Iran;

    Couldn’t tell you that, for sure, see also my answer to ii.

    and (v) the degree to which the US has the capability (separate and apart from the political will) to force Israel to stand down

    That’s why they play the game! Who knows??? We’re rushing resources out there and making sure our Arab allies are armed to the teeth, but is that to make sure an Israeli strike DOESN’T turn into full scale war? Or does that just provide more targets for Iran to attack in response?

  24. Bob Schacht says:


    (iii) policy differences, if any, between the White House and the US military, particularly with respect to the purported “red line” of an Iran with nukes;

    I do believe most in the O Admin see that war is not a winning proposition for us. I think the military types ALSO have concerns about how such a war would gut their abilities.

    Could the budget debate affect this? That is, significant reductions in the military budget are scheduled– unless there is a new “situation” requiring additional military expenses?

    Bob in AZ

  25. Justina says:

    @P J Evans:

    Before the 9-11 attacks, George Bush’s presidency was extremely unpopular. After the attacks, his popularity skyrocketed and thousands of Americans rushed to join our military.

    Why do we assume the Iranian populations is reacting differently? Iran has been demonized by the U.S. and Israel, which have made numerous sub rosa violent attacks, both paramilitary and cyber, against Iran. Iranian scientists have been assassinated. How would Americans react to such actions, even if they hated our current government?

    The U.S. fomented sanctions, now tantamount to acts of war, coupled with Israel’s military threats are making Iran’s theocratic regime virtually impregnable to change by secular democratic forces within that country, which suits our big war mongering corporations just fine.

  26. jawbone says:

    Re: Drones for civilian use, even commercial use —

    William Bratton was on The Leonard Lopate Show on WNYC today and mentioned that he saw drones as useful for observing possible criminal behavior and that drones would be cheaper than having PD personnel up in helicopters.

    I hope he’s aware of the Nick Turse piece on Tom Englehardt’s site, about the number of drone failures and how they can have mechanical failures which lead to crashes, can go rogue (infrequently, but not a negligible percentage), and sometimes they just…crash or get away from their controllers.

    Insurance costs? Might be quite high….

  27. Gitcheegumee says:

    Saudi Arabia, China Ink Nuke Cooperation Deal

    RTT News‎ – 1 day ago

    (RTTNews) – The world’s biggest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia has signed an agreement with China for cooperation in the development and use of atomic energy …
    1347 related articles————–

    China, Saudi ink energy deals during Wen visit

    Economic Times‎ – 1711 related articles

    (According to the article,the deal was inked on Sunday.)

  28. GKJames says:


    Thanks for this. Unavoidable is the sense that the President — purportedly “the most powerful man in the world” — is in fact at the mercy of forces beyond his control, particularly the national security apparatus. As is the sense that Israel has access into US thinking at all levels while the US is forced to rely on what Israel elects to tell us. Finally, patently obvious is the short-sightedness of not having a direct relationship with Iran.

  29. P J Evans says:

    You do know that a lot of the younger Iranians would like more contact with Western countries?
    (Iran is not a backwoods country. They’re fairly sophisticated, outside of, possibly, the extremely-conservative religious types. They also have a very long history.)

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