MESOPOTAMIA NEWS TENDENCIES : Will Israel lose its freedom to operate against Iran? – opinion

Israel needs to prepare for this new reality where its ability to combat Iranian forces and proxy groups is concerned.

By RUTHIE BLUM   JANUARY 14, 2021 22:14 –  Jerusalem post

Speculation about the extent to which the incoming American administration will appease Iran has been rampant. But US President-elect Joe Biden’s picks for relevant top positions don’t seem to leave much room for conjecture.

Let’s start with William Burns, Biden’s nomination for CIA director. Burns currently serves as president of the left-wing foreign-policy think tank the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, one of whose donors is the Open Society Foundations network, established by George Soros.

Burns has decades of experience as a career diplomat under both Democratic and Republican administrations. Contrary to false hopes, however, this is not a good sign. Burns is a longtime associate of Biden’s. The two have worked closely together, most recently when the latter was vice president and the former was deputy secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, during the administration of former US president Barack Obama.

The most disturbing thing about Burns, whose posts have included ambassadorships to Russia and Jordan, is his key role in covert talks with the regime in Tehran in 2013. These led to the 2015 signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and the 5+1 countries: the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia and China plus Germany. By that time Burns had retired, but his imprint lived on in the disastrous nuclear deal.

In this context, Biden’s statement about Burns – “[He] shares my profound belief that intelligence must be apolitical” – is amusing, if not downright disdain-inducing. Equally ridiculous, but cause for greater concern, is Burns’s current faith in the JCPOA from which outgoing US President Donald Trump withdrew in 2018.

Even worse is his take on the Trump administration’s policy of “snapping back” and increasing economic sanctions against the ayatollah-led regime in Tehran. He opposes it, of course.

In an August 29 opinion piece in The Atlantic titled “‘America First’ Enters its Most Combustible Moment,” Burns spelled out his objections.

“Any leverage against Iran produced by the UAE-Israel agreement [the Abraham Accords between the United Arab Emirates and the Jewish state that subsequently were signed on September 15 at the White House] is already being swallowed up in the serial diplomatic malpractice of the administration’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign – aimed more at toppling the Iranian regime than at changing its behavior,” he wrote. “Doubling down on failed policy is not a smart diplomatic prescription… but the Trump administration is not likely to see the light. Instead, it will continue to pretend that the United States can participate in only the punitive parts of the Iran nuclear deal… [a strategy that it] tried – and spectacularly failed at.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. Trump’s “maximum-pressure campaign” is anything but “diplomatic malpractice.”

On the contrary, putting a financial squeeze on the regime, while enabling Israel to operate (allegedly) against Iranian targets not only in Syria but within the Islamic Republic’s borders, is exactly the right move when dealing with Islamist leaders engaged in a holy war for regional and global hegemony.

THE SUPPLICATORY language of Western think tanks, particularly those with the word “peace” in their names, does nothing but encourage America’s enemies to step up the pace of their plans to subjugate the world through violent means. Indeed, since the November 3 US presidential election, the Iranian regime has been boasting about its enhancement of uranium enrichment and threatening revenge for the January 3, 2020, assassination of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force (IRGC-QF) commander Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike in Iraq.

It’s also been warning of a serious response to the killing, less than two months ago, of chief Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, whose death has been widely attributed to Israel.

Meanwhile, as Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vows to deal a mighty blow for both of the above, the Iranian people are growing increasingly enraged – and thus emboldened to be open about their dissatisfaction – with Khamenei and his puppets. Impoverished by the powers-that-be in Tehran who invest in their nuclear program and terrorist proxies, the starving public feels that it has nothing left to lose by displaying its displeasure.

One stunning example was an Israeli flag draped on a bridge over a busy thoroughfare in the Iranian capital last month, with an added banner reading: “Thank you, Mossad” – in English. The significance of this open expression of gratitude to the Jewish state for the taking out of Fakhrizadeh cannot be overstated.

Nor can the fact that an American official told the Associated Press on Wednesday that the US had provided Israel with the intelligence for Tuesday night’s airstrikes in Syria, which hit warehouses storing Iranian weapons and components for Tehran’s nuclear program. According to the official, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed the issue with Mossad chief Yossi Cohen when the two met in Washington DC on Monday.

It is highly doubtful that Israel will enjoy such a level of diplomatic and military coordination with the United States after Biden’s inauguration on January 20. Indeed, Burns isn’t the only one of the president-elect’s nominees afflicted with nuclear-deal nostalgia – or the memory of Obama’s belief in keeping “daylight” between Washington and Jerusalem.


Antony Blinken, for instance – who, pending congressional confirmation, will replace Pompeo – is another JCPOA enthusiast. Blinken served under Obama, first as deputy national security advisor and then as deputy secretary of state. Like Burns, he was instrumental in formulating and promoting the deal. He also wants to lift sanctions against Tehran as one of those “goodwill gestures” that American multilateralists so love extending to evil regimes.

He was clear about this in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA. In a thread of tweets on May 9, 2018, Blinken wrote, “By blowing up the Iran nuclear deal, President Trump puts us on a collision course with Iran and our closest allies. It gives Iranian hardliners the excuse to speed again toward the bomb without a united international coalition to oppose them or inspectors to expose them. Or if Iran and Europe stick with the deal, it forces us to sanction the latter to stop them from doing business with the former. Either way we lose.”

AS IF THIS weren’t an illustration of the degree to which Democrats misunderstand – or are willfully blind to – the mindset of the Iranian mullahs, Blinken goes on to make a ridiculous assertion. The cancellation of the JCPOA, he tweeted, “makes getting to yes with North Korea that much more challenging. Why would Kim Jong Un believe any commitments… Trump makes when he arbitrarily tears up an agreement with which the other party is complying? And… Trump’s attacks on the substance of the Iran deal constitute self-imposed pressure to get a stronger outcome with North Korea. Will… Trump get Pyongyang to dismantle the vast bulk of its nuclear enterprise up front, as Obama did with Iran? Will he be able to impose the most intrusive inspections regime ever, again as Obama did with Iran? Not likely.”

In the first place, Trump didn’t “arbitrarily” rip up the deal; he did so as a result of Iranian violations, aggression and a refusal to allow inspections of the nuclear sites. The idea that the “other party” was complying with the JCPOA is laughable, as the more than 110,000 documents retrieved by the Mossad from a warehouse in Tehran revealed. It is likely – as Blinken should know – that Trump made the final decision to exit the deal after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showed him the contents of the trove.

Furthermore, North Korea did not “dismantle the bulk of its nuclear enterprise” when Obama was in the Oval Office. And Kim Jong Un is buoyed by Biden’s election, since it was Trump with whom negotiations for “denuclearization” broke down. With all his protestations of friendship with the dictator in Pyongyang, Trump didn’t concede. Kim expects a different attitude from the next administration.

In preparation for what is a happy turn of events for him, Kim has been rattling his nuclear sabers while calling America a “war monster” and his country’s “worst enemy.” He, like Iran’s leaders, knows that this is the way to get Biden’s team on bended knee – a pose that they’ve been practicing and perfecting for the past four years.

Israel needs to prepare for this new reality in which its ability to combat Iranian forces and proxy groups is concerned. The Democrats in the White House, State Department and Capitol building are lying in wait to lead the world, as Obama proudly did, “from behind.”