by Ari Lieberman
On Wednesday, Hassan Nasrallah of Hezbollah announced (from a secret location) that the P5 + 1 group’s failure to reach an agreement with the Islamic Republic on sanctions will result in a regional war. Clearly, Nasrallah wants and, in fact, needs a deal. Sanctions have already cost Iran 130 billion dollars. That amount not only puts a serious dent into Iran’s economy, sowing discontent among the masses, it adversely affects Iran’s ability to wage war via its proxies, Hezbollah, Syria and Hamas. A cash infusion, the byproduct of sanctions relief, will enable Iran and Hezbollah to carry on with their pillaging.
Strangely, Nasrallah’s “anti-war,” pro-deal stance puts him in the same corner as the Obama administration. Administration officials have even adopted Nasrallah’s rhetoric, claiming that the imposition of stiffer sanctions on Iran, as contemplated by congress, would lead to war.
Reeling from record low favorability ratings, the healthcare fiasco and various foreign policy failures, the administration is desperate for a deal, any deal. According to published reports, however, the French nixed a prospective deal on sanctions for not being tough enough, placing the current state of world affairs clearly within the depths of Twilight Zone territory.
France is not a nation well known for its backbone and its history is replete with examples of French perfidy and spinelessness. From its collaborationist Vichy past to its fiascos in Indochina and Algeria, the French have a rich history of cutting and running. Now, however, the French have suddenly turned into saviors, preventing a deal that would have allowed the mullahs to continue enriching uranium without dismantling any nuclear infrastructure or reducing existing stockpiles of enriched uranium.
So we are now confronted with a bizarre situation where Hezbollah and the United States are advocating the same cause and using the same panicky language, while the French, the traditional authority figures on appeasement, are showing some backbone. If that isn’t strange enough, the leadership void created by the administration’s vacillation and appeasement has generated a peculiar realignment of realpolitik whereby the Saudis, Kuwaitis, Qataris and other Gulf nations are looking to their traditional enemy, the Israelis, to protect their security interests.
All the regional players are acutely cognizant of Iran’s pernicious objectives. They are keenly aware that Iran lied about its enrichment facilities at Fordow and Natanz. That it lied about its heavy water plutonium facility at Arak. That it kept its uranium enrichment activities underground away from prying eyes and that it conducted nuclear implosion experiments and attempted to conceal this from International Atomic Energy Inspectors. The Gulf nations are nervous and with good justification but lacking credible military strength, they are helpless. Abandoned by the administration, they naturally turned to Israel, something that would have been unheard of in times past.
U.S. foreign policy is turning the world on its head in other theaters as well. On August 21, Syria’s serial killer head of state and chief warlord, Bashar Assad, emboldened by a sheepish U.S. president, used chemical weapons against his own people killing at least 1,300, many of them children. The Obama administration hooted and hollered but in the end, it was Russia’s ex-KGB strongman, Vladimir Putin, who came to the rescue and defused the situation in a manner that suited the interests of the Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah axis. In the age of Obama, an ex-KGB thug is suddenly transformed into a peacemaker.
The administration claims to seek regional stability but they’re doing their damnedest to create regional conflagration. Administration officials deliberately leaked information that implicated Israel in an October 31 strike against advanced Russian made Syrian anti-aircraft missiles and related equipment near Latakia. The disclosures threatened to back Assad into a corner leaving him no recourse but avenge “Arab honor” and offer some form of military response.
Israeli officials were furious and called the leaks “scandalous.” Israeli protests to the White House were met with muted response and the Israelis were at a loss to describe the administration’s inexplicable behavior, which at best amounted to gross negligence and endangered the security interests of its closest Mideast ally.
This isn’t the first occasion where administration officials leaked damaging information about Israel’s strategic and tactical initiatives. In March 2012 administration officials disclosed damaging information concerning the burgeoning alliance between Israel and Azerbaijan. The disclosure served no purpose except to damage the close relationship carefully cultivated between the two nations and jeopardize Israel’s strategic initiatives. Allies don’t treat each other that way but this administration has a knack for upsetting allies; Honduras, Columbia, Poland and the Czech Republic just to name a few.
So there you have it. John Kerry and Hassan Nasrallah have teamed up to urge capitulation to the Islamic Republic while the French, historically known as the jellyfish of Europe, are suddenly developing a skeletal structure. The Saudis and the Gulf countries are looking to the Jews for protection and an ex-KGB man has been transformed into a peculiar combination of rainmaker and peacemaker. To top it off the administration is treating its closest regional ally like an adversary and is systematically sabotaging its security interests while providing political cover to its sworn enemies.
We are indeed living in strange times, a product of the leadership void created by the Obama administration. Rod Serling in his finest hour couldn’t conjure up a more convoluted scenario.
In other news, North Korea recently executed 80 people for possessing bibles and watching South Korean films with no protest from the United Nations Human Rights Council. Oh well. It’s good to know that some things will always remain predictable.
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