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Friday, November 8, 2013

Heading Toward War

I had noted just the other day that Saudi Arabia is readying to receiving nuclear weapons from Pakistan. Now, the Daily Beast reveals that the Obama Administration had begun lifting sanctions against Iran several months ago:

A review of Treasury Department notices reveals that the U.S. government has all but stopped the financial blacklisting of entities and people that help Iran evade international sanctions since the election of its president, Hassan Rouhani, in June. 
On Wednesday Obama said in an interview with NBC News the negotiations in Geneva “are not about easing sanctions.” “The negotiations taking place are about how Iran begins to meet its international obligations and provide assurances not just to us but to the entire world,” the president said. 
But it has also long been Obama’s strategy to squeeze Iran’s economy until Iran would be willing to trade relief from sanctions for abandoning key elements of its nuclear program.
One way Obama has pressured Iran is through isolating the country’s banks from the global financial sector, the networks that make modern international commerce possible. This in turn has led Iran to seek out front companies and cutouts to conduct routine international business, such as selling its crude oil.
 
In this cat and mouse game, the Treasury Department in recent years has routinely designated new entities as violators of sanctions, forcing Iran to adjust in turn. In the six weeks prior to the Iranian elections in June, the Treasury Department issued seven notices of designations of sanctions violators that included more than 100 new people, companies, aircraft, and sea vessels. 
Since June 14, however, when Rouhani was elected, the Treasury Department has only issued two designation notices that have identified six people and four companies as violating the Iran sanctions.
 This is on top of the results of talks in Geneva that have resulted in a sweet-heart deal for Iran:

The Telegraph reported on Thursday that America has proposed a short-term nuclear agreement with Iran at a meeting in Geneva which would allow Tehran to continue enriching uranium at low levels, according to an aide briefed on the talks. 
The goal is to freeze Iran’s nuclear programme for perhaps six months in order to create a breathing space for a comprehensive agreement to be negotiated.
 Also, yesterday:

US Secretary of State John Kerry launched an unusually pointed public attack on Israeli policies in the West Bank Thursday, calling settlements “illegitimate” and warning that if current peace talks fail, Israel could face a third intifada and growing international isolation.
 Kerry also stated that building Israeli settlements was pointless because the land was going to be part of Palestine.

In short, the Administration is forcing Israel (and, to a lesser extent, Saudi Arabia) into an existential corner, where they will have no choice but undertake their own action against Iran. And, to be sure, the Administration will probably feed intelligence to Iran to make any such attack a failure.

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