After a marathon 17 days, the P5+1 deal with Iran is done. The final American concessions to are beginning to emerge and I can say with all confidence this deal stinks. It places America, our Sunni allies in the gulf region and Israel in grave danger and raised the likelihood of war.
The president gave a speech about the deal early Tuesday morning that contained untruths laced with a lot of spin. History buffs will recognize it as a channeling of Neville Chamberlain which in all likelihood will bring the same result as Chamberlain’s “Munich” agreement with Germany—war.
While there are many issues with the deal, for now we will concentrate on the final U.S. concessions and discuss/comment about the other other Obama capitulations in future posts.
President Obama claimed that the key remaining issues were solved in favor of the U.S. position, in most cases that’s a falsehood. For example in his 7:00 overview (embedded below), president Obama said Iran has agreed to anytime/anywhere inspections. That’s not exactly true because the deal will allow Iran to have a voice in which/when Iranian sites get inspected.
According to Rich Edson of Fox News who is in Vienna reported that per the deal if the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) wants to visit a suspicious site in Iran, it must first submits a request to Iran. Then Iran has fourteen days to respond. That response could end up requiring negotiations between Iran and the IAEA—all the while they can be cleaning up that site.
The Presidents wording was very specific about which sites will be inspected, he said, “inspectors will have 24/7 access to Iran’s key nuclear facilities.” Notice the wording key nuclear facilities. “Key” does not mean all, it does not mean military facilities, it means some. It also means that Iran will be free to do what it wishes in the other.
In other words, the inspection regime is as strong as the paper it will be printed on.
Reuters is reporting that Obama will go around congress for sanctions relief for the U.N. part of the sanctions
The source also said that if the deal is agreed, a U.N. Security Council resolution on it would ideally be adopted this month and the steps to be taken by both sides – including Iranian limitations on its nuclear program and relief from sanctions on Iran – implemented in the first half of 2016.
The deal doesn’t get implemented for 90 days, but within a month the U.N. will vote for sanctions relief even though congress won’t vote on the deal until a month later.
The demand for relief of weapons and missile embargo relief that Iran added last week involved the non-nuclear -related sanctions, something that Americans were promised would not be part of the deal. Those sanctions were originally placed on Iran because of their human rights abuses (not their nuclear program). Now as part of the deal the weapons embargo will be lifted in five years, the missile sanctions in eight years.
On first glance that doesn’t seem so bad. But remember Iran not only wants those embargoes relieved for their own arsenal, but so they could provide more weapons to their terrorist friends such as Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Iran through its satellite organizations, is engaging the United States in multiple hot wars across the Middle East. It is their desire to become the key power in the region. Iran is prosecuting those wars in part to push the U.S. and its allies out of the region. It should be a strategic American goal to deny enemies access to conventional weapons that will be turned against U.S. troops and the armies of allies. Instead this deal will free the Iranians to import long-denied weapons, and provide them the billions with which they can purchase them.
Lifting the embargo will detonate American power projection in the Gulf. The WSJ quotes Andrew Bowen, a security analyst at the Center for the National Interest:
“at its core, the relaxation of the arms embargo would enable Iran to credibly challenge the U.S.’s ability to maintain a military presence in the Persian Gulf… It’s not simply a matter of a balance of power between Gulf states and Iran, but the long-term security of the U.S. and our allies.”
Iranian military doctrine relies on Chinese-style anti-access/area denial tactics to deny the U.S. Navy the ability to operate in the theater. Giving the Iranians functionally unlimited access to precision anti-ship ballistic missiles would pose a staggering challenge to Washington’s ability to put and keep American assets in the Gulf. Iran would then in turn be able to shut down the Strait of Hormuz. Almost 20% of the world’s oil needs to go through the Strait to its final destination.
While the Tuesday’s media reports will concentrate on the statements of objection from Israeli leaders (and they are furious) the lifting of the arms embargo will especially anger Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt, and other key Sunni Islam Middle East States.
This concession threatens to lock in a perception in the Sunni Middle East that the U.S. has shifted from quietly trying to create a balance of Sunni-Shiite power in the region to actively supplying the Iranians with weapons. Within the last few months the Americans have given advanced weapons to the Lebanese Armed Forces, that is dominated by Hezbollah, and to the Iraqi government, that is dominated by Iran. Now the Obama administration will be seen as cutting out the middleman and directly allowing the Iranians access to advanced weapons. American allies in the region can be expected to backlash fiercely.
The president finished his Tuesday morning speech with the claim the deal will prevent nuclear proliferation in the region and guarantee peace. That belies the fact that Sunni Saudi Arabia has already begun talks with Sunni Pakistan to obtain some nuclear weapons.
Speaking to the a meeting of the Likud Party in the Israeli Knesset Monday the Israeli Prime Minister made it clear Israel will not allow Iran to go nuclear deal or no deal:
“Even over the weekend, as Iran continued to receive more and more concessions at the negotiating table, Iranian President Rouhani led a march of hatred in the streets of Tehran in which the masses cried, ‘Death to America! Death to Israel!’.” If the concessions continued even after these unequivocal calls for the destruction of those conducting the negotiations, it seems that there are those who are ready to make an agreement at any price – and this bad agreement is unavoidable.
If there is Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear sites, the Jewish State will not get support from an Obama-led United States but they may get at least tacit support from the Saudi kingdom and Egypt. According the liberal Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz (whose editorial position opposes Netanyahu):
…there is a change in the wind as far as the Arab world is concerned. For some Arab rulers greater enemies than Israel have appeared in recent years. Iran, reaching out for nuclear weapons, Al-Qaida, the Islamic State (also known as ISIS and ISIL), Hamas, and assorted Arab terrorist groups, are aiming for the jugular of the ruling classes in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt. They are a mortal danger to them, the kind of danger that Israel never constituted. Averting this danger is far more important to them than backing the Palestinian cause. From this new perspective, in the eyes of these Arab rulers Israel is beginning to look not like an enemy, but rather like a potential ally.
An Iranian nuclear bomb scares the wits out of them. They see little future for themselves in a Middle East dominated by an Iran with nuclear weapons in its arsenal. Most threatened is the Saudi ruling class who are likely to be the first in line to be toppled as Iranian influence grows. They surely must have quietly applauded Benjamin Netanyahu as he appeared in front of both Houses of the U.S. Congress in March to make the case against a nuclear armed Iran. The Israeli opposition may have criticized him, but the Saudis were surely on his side.
This deal does nothing to to verify a halt of Iran’s nuclear development, while allowing the rogue nation to become a stronger power in the Gulf– threatening not just Israel, but America’s “moderate” gulf state partners. And in the end, it moves the region much closer to war. However Obama will get his “legacy,” just like Neville Chamberlain did when he declared the Munich deal would bring “peace in our time.” A year after Chamberlain made his declaration Europe was at war. In all probability, Obama’s declaration will have the same legacy as Neville Chamberlain’s.