Monday, May 09, 2016

09-May-16: How we got into this incredible mess with the Iranians and who engineered it

Leaders of the US negotiating team: Secretary of
State John Kerry, Energy Secretary  
Ernest Moniz
Image Source]
Plenty of Israelis and friends of Israel are still furious about the way an agreement-that-is-no-agreement was pushed through the US legislature last summer, delivering a stunning victory to the malevolent Iranian regime. (Click on JCPOA for our earlier commentary.)

Two things have happened in the past couple of days that reinforce the very deep misgivings that the Iran Nuclear Enablement Deal™ has caused us to feel.

The deputy commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Hossein Salami, gave an explicit and none-too-polite warning to the U.S. and its allies in the region via an interview aired by Iran's Channel 1 TV last Tuesday, May 3, 2016. The translation from Parsi is from MEMRI whose indispensable coverage of Iran and the Arabic-speaking world fills a hole that no news-reporting organization fills.

Here's what Iran's senior warrior said in Parsi:
If the US or its allies threatened Iran, Iran would prevent their vessels from passing through the Strait of Hormuz. Iran will take whatever steps are necessary. "The [Americans] believe that our navy is dangerous. Indeed, that is true. In my view, this is the first time that the Americans have assessed the might of our navy correctly. If the Americans want to level threats against us, we can be very dangerous to them, as we have declared. They are aware of our tremendous might. We have increased and expanded our naval might, in order to overcome the military might of superpowers like America... After all, we have no other enemy in the region except for America. The other countries and governments are not our enemies, and we are not theirs. Of course, they do not even have the potential to be our enemy.
Watching the Iranian deliver the message is a blood-chilling experience.

Iran's foreign minister Zarif, Vienna [Image Source
In our estimation, this week's disclosure of how the Obama administration pulled off the astonishing feat of an unsigned understanding with an avowed enemy bent on creating an active nuclear arsenal is at least as chilling, and in some ways more dangerous. It's also based on an interview, this time of a civil servant in the Obama administration with the unlikely job title "Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting".

No, this is not a joke.

His name is in the title of a long essay published today by The Federalist, called "Ben Rhodes Reveals How Obama Duped America Into The Dangerous Iran Deal". The author is David Reaboi, Here's an extract:
Obama—with the help of an equally arrogant 38-year-old national security fabulistBen Rhodes (with whom he’s said to “mind-meld”)—succeeded in remaking the Middle East to empower America’s most hated enemy, the only United Nations member state committed to the annihilation of another state: the theocratic Islamic Republic of Iran. Rhodes and Obama knew that, for anyone but the hard-left to accept a deal with America’s bitter enemy in Tehran, a new narrative needed to emerge, even if it was relatively transparent nonsense. As Rhodes explained to his bemused interviewer, David Samuels, in a New York Times Magazine profile this weekend, it was first necessary to lie to a corrupted and inexperienced American media about all sorts of things, beginning with the nature and intentions of the enemy Iranian regime. Subsequent lies were caked on, as the White House took advantage of a dangerous mix of journalists’ ignorance, their ideological and partisan commitment to the administration, and, finally, their career aspirations. Rhodes said, “The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns… They literally know nothing.” Thus they will believe what he tells them. He also tells friendly non-governmental organizations and think tanks what he is telling the journalists. Those outlets produce “experts” whose expert opinion is just what Rhodes wants it to be. These ignorant young journalists thus have quotes that look like independent confirmation of the White House’s lies
If the account is right, all of us need to be walking around with the idea in our heads that, when it serves the political interests of powerful people, even the powerful people in the White House, recruiting useful idiot reporters is an actual strategy.

When we all get past the Iran fiasco safe and well, we need to think through what it means for democratic societies that turning reporters at the most influential media outlets into ignorant but motivated agents in the service of manufactured lies was done, has been done and is being done in the Western world's most powerful places.

Then think about this Iranian regime insider called Salami and how much fun he and his colleagues in Tehran must have had as they pulled off last year's deal. And ponder this earlier public statement of his that we quoted in July 2015: "The Americans have always resorted to bullying because they lack diplomatic skills..."

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