Commentary on the economic , geopolitical and simply fascinating things going on. Served occasionally with a side of snark.
Saturday, December 21, 2013
War watch December 21 , 2013 - Syria Peace Talks crumbling as the Syrian rebels crumble , coupled with Iran not attending ....... Pakistan passes symbolic reolution against US drone death dealing , while Pakistan Civilian leadership passively agrees with US drone death dealing policy - and the Government still wants that 1.6 billion in US blood money .... Iran nuclear talks continue even as the US Senate tries its best to derail the nuclear talks with ever more sanctions against Iran...
The Geneva II peace talks were initially scheduled for June, and after months were finally set up for January 22, with a watchmakers’ convention forcing the talks to Montreaux. Even though these talks have been “set” for weeks there remains doubt over whether they’ll actually happen.
Somehow, the SNC remained convinced they’d be given control of the nation at the conference, and the sudden realization that this isn’t going to happen has them considering pulling out of the talks, and insisting they never “formally” agreed to attend.
With every other rebel group refusing to attend (except the Kurds, who haven’t been invited) these aren’t going to be very meaningful talks, and the US is back to arguing that Iran shouldn’t be allowed to attend either, meaning that much like Geneva I, this could end up being little more than the US and Russia and a handful of other foreign powers debating what solution they want to impose on Syria.
In a unanimous vote, the Pakistani National Assembly has passed another resolution demanding the US immediately end US drone strikes against their country.
The resolution cites a UN General Assembly resolution calling on states to only use drones in accordance with international laws, praising the Sharif government for helping secure its passage.
Major public protests continue in northwestern Pakistan against the drone strikes, effectively blocking NATO supplies into and out of Afghanistan through the Khyber Pass.
While ignoring Pakistan’s repeated demands to end drone strikes, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, recently in Pakistan, demanding the government put an end to the demonstrations, warning the US could revoke $1.6 billion in annual aid if the protests continue.
Obama will Veto new Iran Sanctions, Israel War Mandate pushed by AIPAC Senators
In his end-of-the-year press conference, President Obama had to defend his Iran negotiations in the face of a revolt within his own party.
Thirteen Democratic senators and thirteen Republican senators banded together to try to derail President Obama’s negotiations with Iran by slapping new sanctions on that country in the middle of delicate negotiations. This behavior is no surprise coming from the GOP, but the thirteen Democratic senators involved are traitors to the party. They are acting at the behest of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and other American supporters of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who actively wants to torpedo Obama’s Iran talks. They are attempting to make the leader of their party, their president, fail in one of his major diplomatic initiatives. They are disloyal and the Democratic National Committee should pull their funding. They include most prominently Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA). If we could trace the money involved it would go back to billionaire American Likudniks.
The proposed new sanctions split the Israel lobbies in the senate, being opposed by Sens. Diane Feinstein, Carl Levin, Barbara Boxer and seven other committee chairs, as well as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. As Democratic Party committee chairs, they had no choice but to maintain party discipline (and some of them probably don’t like Netanyahu or the prospect of more Middle East wars).
“And so I’m not surprised that there’s been some talk from some members of Congress about new sanctions — I think the politics of trying to look tough on Iran are often good when you’re running for office or if you’re in office. But as President of the United States right now, who’s been responsible over the last four years, with the help of Congress, in putting together a comprehensive sanctions regime that was specifically designed to put pressure on them and bring them to the table to negotiate — what I’m saying to them, what I’ve said to the international community, and what I’ve said to the American people is let’s test it. Now is the time to try to see if we can get this thing done.
And I’ve heard some logic that says, well, Mr. President, we’re supportive of the negotiations, but we think it’s really useful to have this club hanging over Iran’s head. Well, first of all, we still have the existing sanctions already in place that are resulting in Iran losing billions of dollars every month in lost oil sales. We already have banking and financial sanctions that are still being applied even as the negotiations are taking place. It’s not as if we’re letting up on that.
I’ve heard arguments, well, but this way we can be assured and the Iranians will know that if negotiations fail even new and harsher sanctions will be put into place. Listen, I don’t think the Iranians have any doubt that Congress would be more than happy to pass more sanctions legislation. We can do that in a day, on a dime. But if we’re serious about negotiations, we’ve got to create an atmosphere in which Iran is willing to move in ways that are uncomfortable for them and contrary to their ideology and rhetoric and their instincts and their suspicions of us. And we don’t help get them to a position where we can actually resolve this by engaging in this kind of action. ”
Obama in his gentlemanly way excused the senators on the grounds that they might have tough reelection fights coming up in which hawkish posturing on Iran might be useful for fundraising and vote-getting. Nevertheless, the White House had earlier made clear that Obama would veto any such sanctions bill.
In fact, the vast majority of Americans approve of Obama’s Iran negotiations in polling and only a minority is opposed. So the rebel senators aren’t playing to the voters, but rather to determined and very wealthy special interests in the Northeast.
The government of President Hassan Rouhani, elected this past summer, faces its own hard line hawks who want to cause the talks with the US to fail. Maj.-Gen. Mohammad Jaafari, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, criticized Rouhani for being infected with Western ideas.
The question is if Jaafari from his side and Menendez and Schumer from their side can succeed in sinking the talks and ensuring we march off to war instead.
The bill would impose yet more sanctions on Iran’s oil industry, violating the interim P5+1 deal with Iran and likely ruining ongoing diplomacy with the nation. President Obama has promised to veto the bill, warning it would sabotage the talks and might lead to a war.
Senate hawks like Lindsey Graham (R – SC), for whom that is the entire point, have promised to secure a veto-proof majority of 67 Senators for the bill, and early reports are that some 50 are now looking to be co-sponsors, suggesting that’s a real possibility.
In addition to imposing new sanctions on Iran, the bill also expresses Senate support for an Israeli attack on Iran at any time, pledging American support to such a war whenever it is launched.