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Thursday, July 30, 2015

What fundamentally worries the Israelis and the Saudis is that Iran will rejoin the community of nations as a diplomatic and trading partner of the United States, Asia, and Europe.


Iran Deal: The Calculus of Power in the Mideast just Changed Forever

By Peter Van Buren | (Tomdispatch.com) | – –
Don’t sweat the details of the July nuclear accord between the United States and Iran. What matters is that the calculus of power in the Middle East just changed in significant ways.
Washington and Tehran announced their nuclear agreement on July 14th and yes, some of the details are still classified. Of course the Obama administration negotiated alongside China, Russia, Great Britain, France, and Germany, which means Iran and five other governments must approve the detailed 159-page “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.” The U.N., which also had to sign off on the deal, has already agreed to measures to end its sanctions against Iran.
If we’re not all yet insta-experts on centrifuges and enrichment ratios, the media will ensure that in the next two months — during which Congress will debate and weigh approving the agreement — we’ll become so. Verification strategies will be debated. The Israelis will claim that the apocalypse is nigh. And everyone who is anyone will swear to the skies that the devil is in the details. On Sunday talk shows, war hawks will fuss endlessly about the nightmare to come, as well as the weak-kneedness of the president and his “delusional” secretary of state, John Kerry. (No one of note, however, will ask why the president’s past decisions to launch or continue wars in the Middle East were not greeted with at least the same sort of skepticism as his present efforts to forestall one.)
There are two crucial points to take away from all the angry chatter to come: first, none of this matters and second, the devil is not in the details, though he may indeed appear on those Sunday talk shows.
Here’s what actually matters most: at a crucial moment and without a shot being fired, the United States and Iran have come to a turning point away from an era of outright hostility. The nuclear accord binds the two nations to years of engagement and leaves the door open to a far fuller relationship. Understanding how significant that is requires a look backward.
A Very Quick History of U.S.-Iranian Relations
The short version: relations have been terrible for almost four decades. A slightly longer version would, however, begin in 1953 when the CIA helped orchestrate a coup to oust Iran’s democratically elected prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddegh. A secular leader — just the sort of guy U.S. officials have dreamed about ever since the ayatollahs took power in 1979 — Mosaddegh sought to nationalize Iran’s oil industry. That, at the time, was a total no-no for Washington and London. Hence, he had to go.
In his place, Washington installed a puppet leader worthy of the sleaziest of banana republics, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The U.S. assisted him in maintaining a particularly grim secret police force, the Savak, which he aimed directly at his political opponents, democratic and otherwise, including the ones who espoused a brand of Islamic fundamentalism unfamiliar to the West at the time. Washington lapped up the Shah’s oil and, in return, sold him the modern weapons he fetishized. Through the 1970s, the U.S. also supplied nuclear fuel and reactor technology to Iran to build on President Dwight Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” initiative, which had kicked off Iran’s nuclear program in 1957.
In 1979, following months of demonstrations and seeing his fate in the streets of Tehran, the Shah fled. Religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini returned from exile to take control of the nation in what became known as the Islamic Revolution. Iranian “students” channeled decades of anti-American rage over the Shah and his secret police into a takeover of the American Embassy in Tehran. In an event that few Americans of a certain age are likely to forget, 52 American staffers were held hostage there for some 15 months.
In retaliation, the U.S. would, among other things, assist Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein (remember him?) in his war with Iran in the 1980s, and in 1988, an American guided missile cruiser in the Persian Gulf would shoot down a civilian Iran Air flight, killing all 290 people on board. (Washington claimed it was an accident.) In 2003, when Iran reached out to Washington, following American military successes in Afghanistan, President George W. Bush declared that country part of the “Axis of Evil.”
Iran later funded, trained, and helped lead a Shiite insurgency against the United States in Iraq. In tit-for-tat fashion, U.S. forces raided an Iranian diplomatic office there and arrested several staffers. As Washington slowly withdrew its military from that country, Iran increased its support for pro-Tehran leaders in Baghdad. When Iran’s nuclear program grew, the U.S. attacked its computers with malware, launching what was in effect the first cyberwar in history. At the same time, Washington imposed economic sanctions on the country and its crucial energy production sector.
In short, for the last 36 years, the U.S.-Iranian relationship has been hostile, antagonistic, unproductive, and often just plain mean. Neither country seems to have benefited, even as both remained committed to the fight.
Iran Ascendant
Despite the best efforts of the United States, Iran is now the co-dominant power in the Middle East. And rising. (Washington remains the other half of that “co.”)
Another quick plunge into largely forgotten history: the U.S. stumbled into the post-9/11 era with two invasions that neatly eliminated Iran’s key enemies on its eastern and western borders — Saddam Hussein in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan. (The former is, of course, gone for good; the latter is doing better these days, though unlikely to threaten Iran for some time.) As those wars bled on without the promised victories, America’s military weariness sapped the desire in the Bush administration for military strikes against Iran. Jump almost a decade ahead and Washington now quietly supports at least some of that country’s military efforts in Iraq against the insurgent Islamic State. The Obama administration is seemingly at least half-resigned to looking the other way while Tehran ensures that it will have a puppet regime in Baghdad. In its serially failing strategies in Yemen, Lebanon, and Syria, Washington has all but begged the Iranians to assume a leading role in those places. They have.
And that only scratches the surface of the new Iranian ascendancy in the region. Despite the damage done by U.S.-led economic sanctions, Iran’s real strength lies at home. It is probably the most stable Muslim nation in the Middle East. It has existed more or less within its current borders for thousands of years. It is almost completely ethnically, religiously, culturally, and linguistically homogeneous, with its minorities comparatively under control. While still governed in large part by its clerics, the country has nonetheless experienced a series of increasingly democratic electoral transitions since the 1979 revolution. Most significantly, unlike nearly every other nation in the Middle East, Iran’s leaders do not rule in fear of an Islamic revolution. They already had one.
Why Iran Won’t Have Nuclear Weapons
Now, about those nukes. It would take a blind man in the dark not to notice one obvious fact about the Greater Middle East: regimes the U.S. opposes tend to find themselves blasted into chaos once they lose their nuclear programs. The Israelis destroyed Saddam’s program, as they did Syria’s, from the air. Muammar Qaddafi’s Libya went down the drain thanks to American/NATO-inspired regime change after he voluntarily gave up his nuclear ambitions. At the same time, no one in Tehran could miss how North Korea’s membership in the regime-change club wasn’t renewed once that country went nuclear. Consider those pretty good reasons for Iran to develop a robust nuclear weapons program — and not give it up entirely.
While, since 2002, Washington hasn’t taken a day off in its saber-rattling toward Iran, it isn’t the only country the clerics fear. They are quite convinced that Israel, with its unacknowledged but all too real nuclear arsenal, is capable and might someday be willing to deliver a strike via missile, aircraft, or submarine.
Now, here’s the added irony: American sabers and Israeli nukes also explain why Iran will always remain a nuclear threshold state — one that holds most or all of the technology and materials needed to make such a weapon, but chooses not to take the final steps. Just exactly how close a country is at any given moment to having a working nuclear weapon is called “breakout time.” If Iran were to get too close, with too short a breakout time, or actually went nuclear, a devastating attack by Israel and/or the United States would be a near inevitability. Iran is not a third world society. Its urban areas and infrastructure are exactly the kinds of things bombing campaigns are designed to blow away. So call Iran’s nuclear program a game of chicken, but one in which all the players involved always knew who would blink first.
The U.S.-Iran Nuclear Accord
So if Iran was never going to be a true nuclear power and if the world has lived with Iran as a threshold state for some time now, does the July accord matter?
There are two answers to that question: it doesn’t and it does.
It doesn’t really matter because the deal changes so little on the ground. If the provisions of the accord are implemented as best we currently understand them, with no cheating, then Iran will slowly move from its current two- to three-month breakout time to a year or more. Iran doesn’t have nukes now, it would not have nukes if there were no accord, and it won’t have nukes with the accord. In other words, the Vienna agreement successfully eliminated weapons of mass destruction that never existed.
It does really matter because, for the first time in decades, the two major powers in the Middle East have opened the door to relations. Without the political cover of the accord, the White House could never envisage taking a second step forward.
It’s a breakthrough because through it the U.S. and Iran acknowledge shared interests for the first time, even as they recognize their ongoing conflicts in Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere. That’s how adversaries work together: you don’t have to make deals like the July accord with your friends. Indeed, President Obama’s description of how the deal will be implemented — based on verification, not trust — represents a precise choice of words. The reference is to President Ronald Reagan, who used the phrase “trust but verify” in 1987 when signing the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with the Russians.
The agreement was reached the old-school way, by sitting down at a table over many months and negotiating. Diplomats consulted experts. Men and women in suits, not in uniform, did most of the talking. The process, perhaps unfamiliar to a post-9/11 generation raised on the machismo of “you’re either with us or against us,” is called compromise. It’s an essential part of a skill that is increasingly unfamiliar to Americans: diplomacy. The goal is not to defeat an enemy, find quick fixes, solve every bilateral issue, or even gain the release of the fourAmericans held in Iran. The goal is to achieve a mutually agreeable resolution to a specific problem. Such deft statecraft demonstrates the sort of foreign policy dexterity American voters have seldom seen exercised since Barack Obama was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize (Cuba being the sole exception).
It’s All About the Money
While diplomacy brought the United States and Iran to this point, cash is what will expand and sustain the relationship.
Iran, with the fourth-largest proven crude oil reserves and the second-largest natural gas reserves on the planet, is ready to start selling on world markets as soon as sanctions lift. Its young people reportedly yearn for greater engagement with the West. The lifting of sanctions will allow Iranian businesses access to global capital and outside businesses access to starved Iranian commercial markets.
Since November 2014, the Chinese, for example, have already doubledtheir investment in Iran. European companies, including Shell and Peugeot, are now holding talks with Iranian officials. Apple is contacting Iranian distributors. Germany sent a trade delegation to Tehran. Ads for European cars and luxury goods are starting to reappear in the Iranian capital. Hundreds of billions of dollars worth of foreign technology and expertise will need to be acquired if the country is to update its frayed oil and natural gas infrastructure. Many of its airliners are decades old and need replacement. Airlines in Dubai are fast adding new Iran routes to meet growing demand. The money will flow. After that, it will be very hard for the war hawks in Washington, Tel Aviv, or Riyadh to put the toothpaste back in the tube, which is why you hear such screaming and grinding of teeth now.
The Real Fears of the Israelis and the Saudis
Neither Israel nor the Saudis ever really expected to trade missile volleys with a nuclear-armed Iran, nor do their other primary objections to the accord hold much water. Critics have said the deal will only last 10 years. (The key provisions scale in over 10 years, then taper off.) Leaving aside that a decade is a lifetime in politics, this line of thinking also presumes that, as the calendar rolls over to 10 years and a day, Iran will bolt from the deal and go rogue. It’s a curious argument to make.
Similarly, any talk of the accord touching off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East is long out of date. Israel has long had the bomb, with no arms race triggered. Latent fears that Iran will create “the Islamic Bomb” ignore the fact that Pakistan, with own hands dirty from abetting terror and plenty of Islamic extremists on hand, has been a nuclear power since at least 1998.
No, what fundamentally worries the Israelis and the Saudis is that Iran will rejoin the community of nations as a diplomatic and trading partner of the United States, Asia, and Europe. Embarking on a diplomaticoffensive in the wake of its nuclear deal, Iranian officials assured fellow Muslim countries in the region that they hoped the accord would pave the way for greater cooperation. American policy in the Persian Gulf, once reliably focused only on its own security and energy needs, may (finally) start to line up with an increasingly multifaceted Eurasian reality. A powerful Iran is indeed a threat to the status quo — hence the upset in Tel Aviv and Riyadh — just not a military one. Real power in the twenty-first century, short of total war, rests with money.
The July accord acknowledges the real-world power map of the Middle East. It does not make Iran and the United States friends. It does, however, open the door for the two biggest regional players to talk to each other and develop the kinds of financial and trade ties that will make conflict more impractical. After more than three decades of U.S.-Iranian hostility in the world’s most volatile region, that is no small accomplishment.
Peter Van Buren blew the whistle on State Department waste and mismanagement during the Iraqi reconstruction in We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. A TomDispatch regular, he writes about current events at We Meant WellHis latest book is Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99Percent. His next work will be a novel, Hooper’s War.
Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Nick Turse’s Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa, and Tom Engelhardt’s latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.
Copyright 2015 Peter Van Buren
Related video added by Juan Cole:


  1. Iran says it will from now on pick and choose its trade partners , adding that it does not want an expected opening of its doors to investors in a post-sanctions period to lead to excessive imports of foreign goods.

    “Our conditions today are different from the past,” Mohammad-Baqer Nobakht, Iran’s government spokesman, has told reporters.

    “In the post-sanctions period, we are not forced to deal with only a handful of countries. Rather, there are various businesses [that are interested to enter the Iranian market] and we have the power to choose the best,” he added.

    Nobakht further emphasized that many things have changed compared to the past when companies and countries treated Iran “from the position of exclusivity”.

    He said there were even countries that implemented restrictions in trading with Iran that were tougher than what the sanctions required over the years that Tehran has been subject to what officials have occasionally referred to as a cruel regime of bans.

    “The countries that had been calling for implementing tougher sanctions on Iran are today overtaking each other in a rush to Tehran in search for business opportunities,” Nobakht has been quoted as saying by IRNA news agency.

    “But they should realize that Iran will pursue its own interests.”

    The official further emphasized that European trade delegations that plan to visit Iran should first inform the country whether they can answer three essential demands.

    They should make it clear how far they can answer Iran’s investment as well as technology needs in areas that Tehran desires as well as how they can help Iran market its non-oil export products.

    “We never get overexcited about the arrival of any trade delegation,” Nobakht said. “We have the power to choose [the best]”.

  2. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius declared during a landmark visit to Iran that the time has come for improved relations.

    He called his visit “an important trip” in the wake of a key nuclear deal reached with Tehran earlier this month.

    Iran’s state news agency IRNA described the visit _ the first visit by a foreign minister of France in over a decade _ as the start of a “new era” in bilateral ties.

    That optimism was echoed by President Hassan Rouhani, who told Fabius during a meeting that the nuclear deal could “bring better relations with Europe,” IRNA reported.

    “Tehran and Paris want to bridge their previous differences and take a new path toward cooperation and constructive interaction,” IRNA said.
    However, the visit was marred by a protest by Iranian hard-liners in Tehran who calling Fabius an “obstacle” because of France’s tough position during the nuclear negotiations.

    The French diplomat was widely seen as the “bad policeman” and even accused by Iranian hard-liners of being a “Zionist lackey” who at one point reportedly threatened to derail the emerging accord.

    Fabius said France wants to see progress in Iran.

    “What we aimed for in the nuclear talks was to reach an agreement that not only would benefit Iran, France, the world and relieves Iranians from punishments and sanctions and allows them to make progress, but also prevents nuclear proliferation among other regional countries so that no one even thinks about having a nuclear bomb,” he told reporters at a press conference with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.

    Fabius also said he carries an invitation from French President Francois Hollande for Rouhani to visit France in November and that a French economic delegation is expected to arrive in Iran by the end of summer.

    France’s hosting of Iran’s late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini during his exile in the 1970s facilitated France’s economic dealings with the Islamic Republic. French energy giant, Total, and automakers Renault and Peugeot had a strong presence in Iran before they withdrew in 2012 after sanctions were imposed over Iran’s nuclear program.

  3. The Lobby must be obeyed in New York

    Gov. Andrew Cuomo today told reporters he would not make a trade visit to Iran if the Obama administration-brokered peace deal passes and economic sanctions are dropped—a departure from the trip he took to Cuba in April after the United States renewed relations with the island nation. The governor briskly brushed off a question from a reporter about whether he would lead a state economic envoy to Iran, with which the Western world hopes to restore contact in exchange for a decade-long pause in the former pariah state’s nuclear program. The Islamic theocracy is larger, more populous and more resource-rich than the communist Caribbean isle. “No,” he said quickly after speaking at an unrelated event in Lake George. “We’re going to be looking at Italy, China, Israel, I believe are next. I have to run, guys!” Besides Cuba, the only foreign nation Mr. Cuomo has visited while in office is Israel, where he flew last summer with other state leaders in a show of solidarity with the Jewish state. Israel at the time was engaged in a war with Hamas militants in the Gaza strip. “Israel is under siege,” said Mr. Cuomo. “Our message is clear: we stand with Israel and we support Israel’s right to defend itself.”

    Read more at http://observer.com/2015/07/unlike-cuba-cuomo-wont-lead-a-new-york-trade-mission-to-iran/#ixzz3hM1BFJJr Follow us: @observer on Twitter | Observer on Facebook Read more at: http://tr.im/pMdvR

  4. What Israel really fears the most: Europe and the US will not just invest heavily in infrastructure and industry in Iran. Iran will also become a large market for consumer goods from Europe and the US, since Iran has a large population of more than 81 million.

    Iranian economic relations are expected to evolve as follows, according to experts and analysts:

    -Iranian economic relations with Arab countries will not witness a notable change, as oil and gas comprise the largest sector of the country’s economy. The sector also accounts for the largest part of Arab countries' economies as well. But Iran is expected to diversify its economy into industries and services, becoming like countries such as Turkey.

    Moreover, the UAE is forecast to lose its position as the principal trading partner for Iran, and many other countries, like Turkey, will compete with the UAE for a position in this market. But Iran will have to compete with other major players in the Middle East like China, and that competition will be challenging.

    -Iran will seek to import western industrial technology from the US and Europe, to which sanctions have denied it access until now.

    -Iran will seek membership of the World International Trade Organization, which is dominated by the US. This will launch Iran in a new direction, in which new structural, legislative and economic reforms will be put in place.

    -Iran will acquire new gas production technologies from Europe and Russia. Iran possesses the largest gas reserves in the world, which could enable it to become Europe’s main supplier of gas, as it achieves a technological upgrade.

    -Europe and the US are the main players in the mining and manufacturing industries, and Iran will seek to develop trade with them once the sanctions are lifted.

    However, Europe and the US will not just invest heavily in infrastructure and industry in Iran. Iran will also become a large market for consumer goods from Europe and the US, since Iran has a large population of more than 81 million.

  5. Investment and trade as well as personal human contacts with 81 million people will expose the lies and propaganda about Iran foisted by Israel and the US Israeli-firsters. Cuba is a current example.People are asking what was the fifty years of propaganda all about?

    1. As Iran hangs gays, stones women, kidnaps westerners and those that speak about the mullahs it will be clear.

      they have a holiday in Iran

      "Day without America"

      I am sure you will be standing there with your fist pumping into the sky screaming "death to america' "death to israel"

      I am sure Iran will use it's newly released cash to buy weapons, jets and increased munitions to spread it's Revolution.

  6. As usual, Israel has nothing positive to add.

    Israel perpetually lies in the liability column of US interests and will continue to do so but World events are passing it by.

    Iran has a population 12x the size of Israel. The US, EU, China, India, Russia and all other like minded countries will be expanding trade and relationships with Iran while continued Israeli policies against the Palestinians will further isolate Israel.

    1. Enjoy Iran, may the mullah's show you the love.

    2. Iran (with the help of it's stooges) have murdered more arabs than almost Saddam...

      You are an Iranian Firster.


    July 29, 2015 | 2:12 p.m. EDT + More

    By: Bruce Riedel, Columnist for Al-Monitor

    The debate about the P5+1 agreement with Iran on its nuclear program has already produced a storm of angry rhetoric and a tsunami of opinion pieces. But one issue is notably absent from the debate: the fact that Israel has a nuclear weapons arsenal and sophisticated delivery systems that are decades ahead of anything Iran could develop in the foreseeable future. Iran should be constrained by a global regime from getting the bomb, but the notion that Israel is a weak powerless state like Czechoslovakia in 1938 is ludicrous.

    The American intelligence community first detected the development of the Israeli nuclear weapons program through U-2 overhead imagery at the end of the 1950s. President John F. Kennedy pressed Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion very hard not to proceed with a weapons program, arguing it would precipitate a regional nuclear arms race. Under pressure from Kennedy, Israel agreed to American inspections of its French-supplied Dimona reactor, but then systematically blocked any serious inspection process.

    Israel has never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has never admitted it has a nuclear weapons arsenal. The United States stopped protesting the Israeli program in the Nixon administration. Neither Jerusalem nor Washington publicly discusses Israel's arsenal. If pressed, US officials refer to an alleged nuclear arsenal.

    The Economist this year estimated Israel has 80 nuclear weapons in its arsenal. That puts it just behind India and far ahead of North Korea in terms of the number of bombs.

    Israel has a triad of nuclear delivery systems. Its US-supplied F-15 and F-16 aircraft can deliver nuclear weapons anywhere in the Middle East. The Israeli air force has a well-deserved reputation as the best air force in the region with the best pilots. It has twice destroyed incipient nuclear programs in Iraq (1981) and Syria (2007).

    France provided the early Israeli missile program with the technology for what is now the Jericho medium-range missile system. The latest version of the Jericho has a range of 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles), according to experts.

    The German magazine Der Spiegel has written about the third leg of the triad: German-built submarines. According to Der Spiegel, these U-boats called Dolphins are equipped with nuclear-armed cruise missiles. Five Dolphins have been delivered so far, a sixth is due in 2017. They can target Iran from the Mediterranean and from the Arabian Sea.

    1. Israel has a right to develop a nuclear arsenal; it has been at war since its birth. It lives in a dangerous neighborhood that is getting more dangerous and chaotic. It has chosen to adopt an ambivalent posture about its deterrent for decades.

      But it is not an impotent defenseless country. To suggest it is a Czechoslovakia-like weak state facing Hitler's Germany in 1938 is to completely ignore the real balance of power in the Middle East. The Iranian deal may be flawed, but it is not Munich redux.

      Moreover, Israel has the benefit of enormous amounts of American intelligence and military support, including more than $3 billion in grant aid every year. President Barack Obama has been very proactive in assuring Israel's qualitative edge over any combination of foes. He has made clear he is prepared to do more if Israel asks.

      The Iran nuclear deal will allow Tehran to increase its support to Hezbollah and Hamas. Both pose a threat to Israel. The Israeli military has demonstrated repeatedly that it is capable of dealing with these threats. The balance of power in both cases favors the Israel Defense Forces. Additional Iranian aid to Hezbollah will probably be used more in Syria to prop up Bashar al-Assad than to fight Israel.

      Some have argued the Vienna deal will start a nuclear arms race in the region. In fact, a nuclear arms race has been underway in the Middle East for 65 years. Israel won it.

      Others allege Iran is a crazy state that cannot be deterred like normal states. The history of the Islamic Republic demonstrates that Iran is a rational actor, however, not a suicidal one. For example, in the Iran-Iraq War, when Israel secretly armed Iran, the ayatollahs demonstrated a rational approach to war with Saddam Hussein. When confronted by a superior Iraqi army backed by the United States, Iran accepted defeat. Iran's preferred method of warfare is proxy wars where Iran fights to the last Lebanese, Palestinian, Syrian, Iraqi or Yemeni.

      The debate about the Iran deal should be conducted within the context of an understanding of the balance of power in the Middle East. A comprehensive and thorough discussion of the balance of power should include Israel's real strategic situation. Hysteria is not the answer when the stakes are high.

      More from Al-Monitor.com:

    2. Al-Monitor.com

      Is not the American press.

    3. reported and printed in Newsweek

    4. Newsweek?


      That says it all…

      Printed? LOL

      Really PRINTED?


      Deuce you are getting dumber by the day..

      It's funnier than shit..

    5. Listen asshole, it was published on their website. The relevance is that your team, the Israeli-first era have just about run out that tether. You won't beissed

  8. 3 months ago, looking at a very negative GDP number, I said that the 1st qtr. would be revised up to 0.7%

    Today, it was revised up to 0.6%.


    Who's your daddy? :) :) :)

  9. So, the vote in the EU was 28 - 0.

    1. 15 - 0 at the U.N.

      28 - 0 in the EU

      I guess it's pretty much the GOP Likuds Party against the World, isn't it?

    2. Oh, wait, I guess they still have the Sauds on their side.

      And, Exxon.

    3. Rufus, I suggest you stop using anything that Israel creates, innovates or produces.

    4. That'll be easy. I'll start with you. Go away.

    5. Sorry Rufus, I am as American as you.

      Get used to it.

    6. But seriously Rufus, please when you go to the hospital, turn on your cell phone, MAKE SURE there is no Israeli products or innovations.

      Dont be a hypocrite.

    7. The fuck you are. Please keep your evil, Israeli nonsense off of my comments.

    8. Sorry Ole Drunk…

      Born in Philadelphia PA…

      JUST as American as your sorry drunk ass…

      Admit it, you are just a hater..

    9. When my Uncle was DYING in Vietnam? You were at home getting high and spitting on the flag.

    10. My family has served, bled and died for this nation.


      Are just a hater. If fact you said, if you lived in gaza you'd be a member of Hamas.

    11. You are so full of crap. No one that was in Viet Nam believes that they were fighting or dying for their country. They were there with one purpose, to get out of there. You get no credit for what your uncle did or did not do, no more than you get credit for what your brother did in the third grade. You are the first person I know of that thinks you get credit for the deeds of another.

      You do get credit for your stated support for Israel. Your loyalties are to Israel. Your interests in America are tertiary to Israel and to what You can extract from America for Israel.

  10. What is enlightening is that those that profess such a hatred of all things Israeli, really think that this is all about Israel's economic fear of Iran.

    Amazing amounts of delusion…

  11. Rufus IIThu Jul 30, 11:02:00 AM EDT
    The fuck you are. Please keep your evil, Israeli nonsense off of my comments.

    So IF I said, Rufus please keep your evil Indian nonsense off my comments you'd have called me a racist.


    1. No, I would call you "nuts."

      I never respond to your supremacist, racist bullshit comments.

      I did this time, because you addressed your comment to me (but, it's the Last time, starting now.)

    2. LOL Rufus, you are so full of shit...

      I am not a "supremacist"

      I advocate that Jews have a right to live just like everyone else.

      It's you that has issues with jews defending themselves.

  12. What fundamentally worries the Israelis and the Saudis is that Iran will rejoin the community of nations as a diplomatic and trading partner of the United States, Asia, and Europe.

    Now let's look at that statement...

    what utter crap it is...

    Will Iran JOIN the world?

    " Iran will rejoin the community of nations as a diplomatic and trading partner of the United States, Asia, and Europe."

    Does this mean that Iran will no longer invade Embassies? Hold hostages for ransom?

    When Iran says that Israel is a cancer than needs to be cut out of the world is it JOINING the world?


    So IF Iran continues to supply terrorists with rockets, arms, cash, sanctuary and training, is it rejoining the world?

    How many hundreds of thousands of civilians is Iran allow to butcher and still be an OK trading partner?

  13. Can we get some more virgins over here, boss?

    An international coalition led by the United States targeted Islamic State militants in Iraq with 22 air strikes on Wednesday, the U.S. military said on Thursday.

    The attacks were concentrated near Haditha, where eight strikes hit an Islamic State tactical unit, five staging areas, a command-and-control site and also destroyed Islamic State vehicles, structures, and mortar systems, according to a statement from the Combined Joint Task Force. The coalition also targeted the militant group with strikes near Kirkuk, Makhmur, Mosul, Ramadi, Sinjar and Tal Afar.

    The coalition also conducted nine air attacks in Syria, with eight hitting Islamic State tactical units and destroying a fighting position, an explosive device, motorcycles and vehicles near Al Hasakah, the statement said.

    Mo' Virgins, Boss, Mo' Virgins

  14. Over the past 13 years, Turkey has changed in many ways, all for the better. With a thriving young population, a robust economy and a full-fledged democracy underpinned by all the necessary checks and balances, including a feisty press and civil society, Turkey is a success story.

    Geography is indeed destiny, and we will remain, with our allies and partners, steadfast against the threats that emanate from our region. As our history teaches, we will always look for ways to peacefully resolve potential conflicts.

    But when we are threatened, we will act unreservedly, with every means at our disposal, until the enemy is defeated.

    - Davutoglu (prime minister of Turkey)

  15. .

    Why Cecil and Not Cecile?

    Cecil the Lion died in Africa and David Muir of ABC News and his Executive Producer, Almin Karamehmedovic, made sure the world knew.

    But here at home, Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood is leading an organization that is crushing the heads of children, harvesting their brains, hearts, lungs, livers, and other viable organs, and selling them for a significant amount of money.

    Planned Parenthood has hired a Democratic communications firm that has been pressuring the media to avoid covering the scandal at all. It appears to be working. Muir and Karamehmedovic have avoided the story like the plague. According to the Media Research Center, their network and the others gave more coverage to Cecil the Lion in twenty-four hours than to the Planned Parenthood story since July 14th to now...


  16. .

    Pollard: Israel versus US

    This difference of opinion regarding the about-to-be-sprung Pollard presents Americans with a teachable moment. Sadly, we can count on American politicians of both parties to close their eyes to what that moment has to offer. Here is an opportunity sure to go to waste.

    Israelis have no problem grasping why their take on Pollard and ours should differ. They fully understand that on many occasions U.S. and Israeli security interests are at odds. And when that occurs they do not doubt what comes first. It’s Americans, insisting that “no daylight” exists between the United States and Israel, who perpetuate a false understanding of this relationship — a pretense that may benefit Israel, but certainly does not benefit the United States.

    Their hero is simultaneously our traitor because the prerequisites of Israeli safety and well-being differ from the prerequisites of American safety and well-being.

    That the government of Israel paid an employee of the United States government to provide it with exceedingly sensitive intelligence is but one example of Israeli actions that should puncture that pretense. Israeli officials make no bones about the fact that they will do anything necessary to ensure the security of the Jewish state. The Pollard case reminds us that they mean what they say, even to the point of compromising the security of their principal (and perhaps only) ally.

    Their hero is simultaneously our traitor because the prerequisites of Israeli safety and well-being differ from the prerequisites of American safety and well-being. Those differences, on matters ranging from nuclear weapons to settlement expansion to the creation of a Palestinian state, are anything but trivial or cosmetic. They are, in fact, fundamental, comparable to Washington’s differences with Moscow over Ukraine or with Beijing over the South China Sea...



  17. .

    On all matters touching on security, Israel plays hardball. It does not view itself as beholden to the United States or bound by American concerns, a reality that Israeli governments regularly affirm in word and deed. That seriousness ought to command respect. It should also elicit an equally serious American response. That response should take the form of a candid acknowledgment that where U.S. and Israeli security interests diverge, the United States need not be bound by Israeli concerns.

    In negotiating a nuclear accord with Iran, of course, the Obama administration has done just that, which is what makes the deal such a startling departure from standard American practice. Obama has refused to defer to the demands of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and he just might get away with it.

    Opponents of that deal have responded with a torrent of criticism. What’s so striking about their objections is that they consist largely of talking points that Netanyahu himself might have drafted. Obama’s American critics fail even to make any effort to distinguish between the U.S. interests and Israeli interests involved, preferring to sustain the fiction that those interests align.

    Indeed, the critics seem less interested in evaluating the pros and cons of the agreement than in affirming their own “passionate attachment” to Israel. That phrase, coined by George Washington, warns of the dangers that result from indulging in misplaced affection for another country.

    In what has become one of the most bizarre rituals of American politics, those aspiring to high office seek to establish the legitimacy of their candidacy by proclaiming to the heavens their depthless regard for Israel. Any U.S. politician out on the stump publically professing undying love for Canada or Mexico, America’s nearest neighbors, would be considered a whack job. A candidate declaring his or her love for Israel evokes bipartisan applause.

    To their credit, Israelis profess no comparable passionate attachment to the U.S. Their fealty is to the state of Israel and rightly so. They reserve their admiration and gratitude for the likes of Jonathan Pollard, the American traitor.

    In doing so, they make an important point, which Americans would do well to contemplate. Israelis understand that we and they are two different nations and two different peoples. The Pollard case and the Israeli response to news of Pollard’s impending release testify to the enduring nature of that separation.


  18. Replies
    1. It is a bare faced look at the level of cynicism and corruption in the US political system.

  19. Professor Bessma Momani, a Senior Fellow with the Centre for International Governance Innovation, in Waterloo, Ontario, says combatting the Islamic State “requires a great deal of coordination”. ”Not just militarily”, she says, ”from financing, to stemming the ideology, to removing the appeal in western countries to go fight for ISIS, all of that is a multi-national effort and requires consistent update and I think the tension that we see in Quebec today is reflective of that.”


    Bessma Momani says “sadly the Yazidi’s have paid a very heavy price as an ethnic religious minority for the brutality of ISIS but sexual violence is very much a part of war and too often is the case.” She says “the origin of this is the fact that you had two governments, both the Iraqi and the Syrian governments that pretty much annihilated, in the case of the Syrians, and alienated in the case of the Iraqi’s, their people….


    When asked about Canada’s vulnerability to terrorist attacks here, Momani says we’re already part of the coalition, and known to be. She says ”all western countries are, unfortunately, both the potential target of ISIS but more importantly perhaps, a recruiting ground for ISIS fighters which is something that we need to be very concerned about.”

    1. .

      When Obama says we will destroy ISIS, there is a certain amount of hyperbole involved. It will likely be impossible to destroy ISIS even if we recapture the territory it has taken, kill its leaders, and destroy most of its bureaucracy. Through the use of social media, they can exploit what is admittedly a clever game plan. They simply recruit other nutjobs around the world and tell them to go out as lone wolves and conduct jihad on their own.

      The beauty of the plan is that there is an endless supply of nut jobs in the world.



  20. The White House is mounting a vigorous push to convince liberals to back the Iran deal.

    In recent days, President Obama, Vice President Biden and other top officials have made a number of outreaches to persuade Democrats — especially in the House — to back the agreement, amid signs that the crucial bloc may be splintering.

    On Thursday evening, Obama spoke by phone with thousands of people affiliated with liberal activist groups Organizing for Action, the Center for American Progress and Credo Action.

    He warned his allies that if they don’t speak up, the same people who got the U.S. into the Iraq War could sink the Iran deal, which would lift sanctions against the country in exchange for it scaling back its nuclear program.

    “As big of a bully pulpit as I have, it’s not enough,” the president told his supporters. "I can’t carry it by myself."

    “The facts are on our side, but the politics are going to be tough if all of you don’t get involved and get active,” Obama said, adding that he has “never been more certain about a policy decision than this one.”

    He noted that Democratic lawmakers he meets with do not buy opponents’ arguments, but some are wavering under pressure that is "fierce, well-financed and relentless," he warned.

    “I can tell when they start getting squishy,” he said.

  21. Opponents are spending $20 million on television ads lobbying against the deal and flooding lawmakers with calls and letters, Obama said.

    The critics are backed by “billionaires who happily finance super-PACs, and they are putting the squeeze on members of Congress,” the president said. “If they don’t hear from you, this opportunity could slip away.”

    Thursday’s call was part of a last-minute personalized lobbying pitch Obama and Biden are making to lawmakers before Congress leaves Washington for its August recess.


    1. Obama has held multiple one-on-one meetings with lawmakers, and he hosted a group reception with most of the House Democratic Caucus on Wednesday.

      That meeting was cut short when lawmakers were called back to the Capitol for the final votes before the five-week recess, though a few dozen came back later and discussed the details of the deal for nearly two hours, according to the White House.

      On Thursday morning, Biden had a breakfast meeting with House Democrats to discuss the agreement as well.

      The vigorous outreach is a change of pace for the White House, which has been criticized for keeping Congress at arm's length for most of Obama’s tenure. The current tone is reminiscent of the administration’s efforts this past spring, during the congressional fight over fast-track trade authority.

      As the days tick by until a September vote on the Iran deal, the White House is making clear that it will pull out all the stops to ensure that the agreement — a top priority Obama wants for his legacy — isn’t undone by members of his own party.

      Republicans are expected to vote en masse to kill the nuclear deal in September, setting up a veto from the president. After that, it will fall to Democrats to make sure that there aren’t two-thirds majorities in each chamber to override the veto.

      “We have concluded we’re not going to spend a whole lot of time trying to persuade [Republican lawmakers],” White House press secretary Earnest acknowledged Thursday.

      Earnest said officials would continue to share information with . . . . .

      not a done deal

  22. Obama Has A Plan To Protect The Iran Deal In August, His Least Favorite Month

    The message being sent: In its importance, this vote "is comparable to the Iraq War resolution vote."

    WASHINGTON -- The White House and allied groups are preparing a robust campaign to protect President Barack Obama's nuclear deal with Iran during August recess.

    The effort comes as support for the deal has faded in some recent public opinion polls and as criticism has heightened in Congress. Organizers don't see the deal as facing an existential threat -- at least not currently. But they aren't leaving anything to chance as Congress gets set to vote on the matter, cognizant that past initiatives have taken huge blows during the dog days of summer.

    "The White House will be aggressive across the board, from regional media, to Hispanic and African-American media, to the national press and anyplace else Americans are hearing about this deal," a senior administration official told The Huffington Post.

    1. On its surface, the campaign to protect the Iran deal is quite simple. Defenders must maintain the support of at least one-third of one congressional chamber. If successful, the president can confidently veto any rejection of the deal, knowing it will be upheld, and ensuring the deal's survival.

      With this in mind, organizers working with the White House say they are not just targeting on-the-fence lawmakers but also working with those who support the deal but could potentially buckle under criticism.

      "There are a set of senators and representatives who we think are likely to end up supporting the deal but haven’t yet," said Nick Berning, communications director at the progressive group MoveOn.org. "Those are the key set of targets … and then there does seem to be a smaller number of folks who actually are on the fence and could end up breaking either way."

      As a method of persuasion, organizers are choosing a two-pronged message. The vote, they will argue, is not just a choice between war and peace; it is also a moment that could torpedo careers years after the fact.

      "This is comparable to the Iraq War resolution vote," said Zack Malitz, campaign manager at CREDO Action, echoing the group's message to lawmakers. "If you vote the wrong way, it will haunt you for the rest of your career."

      "It is a binary choice," Malitz added. "Whatever you think about how we got here, or the substance of the deal, we now have two choices: war or peace. There is no better pathway out."

      The surrounding presidential primary, organizers believe, will give this pitch additional resonance for Democrats, whom they are targeting exclusively. They hope that as Democrats watch Hillary Clinton campaign, they'll recall how the vote she cast to authorize the Iraq War in 2002 tripped up her first presidential bid in 2008.

      "This is partially about preventing a war with Iran," said Berning. "It also partially about a paradigm shift in our country’s foreign policy. Instead of engaging in wars of choice like we did in Iraq, it is important that presidents try diplomacy as a . . .

      Objects in Mirror May Be Closer Than They Appear.

  23. Highlights

    In a shocking result, the employment cost index rose only 0.2 percent in the second quarter which is far below expectations and the lowest result in the 33-year history of the report. Year-on-year, the ECI fell to plus 2.0 percent from 2.6 percent in the first quarter. The record low for this reading is plus 1.4 percent back in the early recovery days of 2009.

    Crappy Wages


  24. Reuters

    The United States and its allies hit Islamic State forces with 41 air strikes in Iraq and Syria on Thursday, concentrating the attacks on the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor, a joint command statement said on Friday.

    Seventeen air strikes were carried out near Deir ez-Zor, hitting Islamic State staging areas, bridges, checkpoints, a training center and a logistics site. Seven strikes near Hasakah were aimed at tactical units, fighting positions, vehicles and a command center, the statement from the Command Joint Task Force said.

    In Iraq, 17 allied air strikes near nine cities targeted staging areas, tactical units, weapons and other Islamic State assets.

    US Brigadier General Kevin Killea, referring to Islamic State as Daesh, said in the statement the strikes in eastern Syria would reduce the freedom of movement of militant group in the area and beyond Syria's border

    "These strikes will have a profound impact on the ability of Daesh in Syria to affect operations in Iraq, particularly in Ramadi," he said. "Denying Daesh the ability to use these targets severely reduces their efforts to destabilize the region."

    41 Strikes

  25. What an absurd situation that a country with 330,000,000 people, a military budget of $500 billion, an economy of $15 trillion allows itself to be ruled by a band of fools that permits a country of 7,000,000 people manipulate and roll the US Congress with $20 million.
    They should all be in orange jumpsuits awaiting trial for treason.

    1. You are hysterical.

      But what is weirder?

      That a nation of 30,000,000 can murder Americans and hold them hostage, supply hundreds of thousands of rockets, billions in cash for all sorts of terror and America bends over and gives them hundreds of billions more for NOT changing their murderous ways.

      Deuce, you have Israelis on the brain.

      You do not see how the oil industry, the arms industry, the arabs, the russians, heck, even the chinese all have input into the system.

      Israel doesn't "rule" america. After all you are the one saying that Israel wanted the USA to bomb Iran (which is bullshit) so if Israel RULED AMerica?

      Why is the American Embassy not open in Jerusalem?

      Why does Israel permit Pollard to be in jail longer than any other spy that spied for an ally?

      Why does Israel permit the USA giving Iran (already) 11.6 billion dollars?

      Why does Israel permit America from giving any military or economic aid to any nation hostile to Israel?

      Why does Israel permit you to speak?

      As for the 20 million?

      Obama has given iran (already) 11.6 billion. which is 11,600,000,000 which is 11 thousand 600 million dollars.

      and you BITCH that American citizens are spending 20 million?

      You are a joke.

  26. .

    Absurd but what can you do about it. Unless you have the money to invest in fighting it all you ca do is pt pressure on your reps and senators.

    Since I don't have any money, the only question is do I contact them now or wait for August, closer to the vote.


    1. You can stop buying all Israeli products, you can vote for anyone that stands against Israel.

      Now I might think you a fool, but it's your choice.

      Of course you could always move to Iran!

      Or Gaza!


  27. .

    Pentagon Turns Its Anti-ISIS Rebels Into Cannon Fodder

    Is Washington really trying to train a rebel army in Syria? Or are they just marking fighters for death—and worse?

    The Pentagon’s plan to train and equip Syrian rebels to fight ISIS had already devolved into farce, with U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter informing Congress this month that a mere 54 had so far graduated from a program meant to produce 5,000 by the end of this year. But now the inevitable has happened: America’s new-minted counterterrorist proxies have been abducted by al Qaeda.

    Colonel Nadim al-Hassan and as many as 20 other members of his U.S.-backed “Division 30” faction of Free Syrian Army rebels were kidnapped in the northern Aleppo countryside Thursday. The culprit, apparently, was Jabhat al-Nusra, the official al Qaeda franchise in Syria. A statement put out by Division 30 called for their comrades’ immediate release “to avoid bloodshed between Muslims.”

    Jabhat al-Nusra has yet to comment as of Thursday afternoon.

    However, a senior U.S. defense official confirmed to The Daily Beast the snatched fighters had gone through the initial vetting process to receive training in Turkey. But then, for reasons that remain unclear, they traveled to Syria before they were ready to do battle with ISIS. According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, eight Division 30 members were grabbed at a checkpoint near the city of Zahart al-Malkia, about 25 miles northeast of the city of Homs. (Other reports have estimated that the number could be as high as 20.)

    This latest setback to the train-and-equip program has only realized the quiet fears percolating throughout the Pentagon for months that the U.S. was essentially creating cannon fodder—rebels it was not prepared to defend in the likely event they needed defending. The raison d’ĂȘtre of all Syrian rebels, after all, is to overthrow at the regime of dictator Bashar al-Assad, not fight jihadists. And any inductees of the program were bound to have targets painted on their backs from all other comers in a complicated and gruesome four-year-old civil war with many attendant sideshow conflicts. Pro-Assad forces including Lebanese Hezbollah and Iranian-built militias, Nusra, ISIS and even other independent rebels—all were bound to try to kill or capture Sunni Arab proxies of Washington.

    “If you wanted to sabotage your strategy, this is a pretty good way to do it,” said one official advising on the process. “None of this is about achieving the objective. It is about going through the motions...”


    A reconfirmation of Reason # 2 (incompetence) why the U.S. should not be involved militarily in the ME.


  28. .

    A summary of the Politico article partially posted above.

    1. The prerequisites of Israeli safety and well-being differ from the prerequisites of American safety and well-being. That is, key interests of the US are different from those of Israel. This should be obvious to anyone given the different capabilities of each country as their neighborhoods.

    2. The prime responsibility of the government of any country is to protect their own national interests. The Israelis understand this and act accordingly. However, the US does not seem to understand that the interests of the US and Israel often differ. It’s Americans, insisting that “no daylight” exists between the United States and Israel, who perpetuate a false understanding of this relationship — a pretense that may benefit Israel, but certainly does not benefit the United States.

    3. All one has to do is look at the current debate over the Iran to see this on full display. If you look at the first words out of every presidential candidates mouth it is to express concern for Israel not the US. Any reasons they offer are those offered by Netanyahu.

    Truly absurd.



    1. .

      I mentioned the presidential candidates but this also applies to most of the GOP in Congress (if there are any that are not running) as well as conservative pundits.


    2. What is absurd is your analysis.

      You don't listen very well do you?

      The Iran deal stinks on many issues and levels.

      To suggest "If you look at the first words out of every presidential candidates mouth it is to express concern for Israel not the US" is specious..

      Par for your course.

    3. As Iran continues it's spending spree on russia and chinese fighter jets and other military equipment, as Iran continues to deny America assess to it's nuke bases nor even allowing America access to the AGREEMENTS that it made with the IAEA, as Iran continues to hold American hostages, as Iran continues to take over Syrian combat troops, as Iran continues to up armor and load it's proxies with cash and weapons…

      Quirk, Deuce and Rufus will circle jerk themselves about Israel...

    4. What is also absurd is that an agreement (not treaty) with the Islamic Republic of Iran should be enjoined without Israel having a seat at the table.


    5. .

      Once more you ignore what is said and merely go into your anti-Iran rant.

      Look at the three points above and tell me which is incorrect.


    6. .

      What is also absurd is that an agreement (not treaty) with the Islamic Republic of Iran should be enjoined without Israel having a seat at the table.

      This is the P5+1 agreement with Iran. It involves countries that are part of the NPT.

      If Israel wants a deal with Iran they can work out their own. But you and I know that Israel not only doesn't want a agreement with Iran they also want to make sure no one else has one.


  29. I just heard how this is going to go down. McConnell will put the deal in a spending bill, House and Senate will pass it, Obama will Veto it, and, since it's a spending bill it will go to the House first, whereupon Pelosi will deliver the needed votes, and it will never go to the Senate for an over-ride vote.

  30. .

    Sorry, why would Pelosi deliver the votes?


    1. So the Chuckie Shumers in the Senate won't have to cross AIPAC, I suppose.

    2. Being a spending bill, the House votes first, and Pelosi has the votes.

    3. .

      I understand the rules but I don't understand the rationale for Pelosi kicking Obama under the bus especially for Chuck Schumer.


    4. No, no, the House Doesn't Override the Veto. Obama (and, Pelosi) Wins.

    5. BOTH the House, and the Senate, have to produce 2/3 Majorities to Override the President's Veto. Once the House fails to reach 2/3rds the deal is done, the Veto stands.

    6. .

      Sorry, misunderstood you.