Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Russian move is a direct slap in the face of The United States as was intended


The Russian move is a direct slap in the face of The United States as was intended.  The terrible “deal” described accurately as “historic” by Obama (historic surely as in “Munich”) between the six powers and Iran was certain to collapse the sanctions regime eventually, but the Russians not only are anticipating the collapse by not waiting until after June 30th but are precipitating it precisely in the area which has been forbidden longest, namely weapons systems. 

Which S-300 antiaircraft system will be sold (indeed if any system is ever sold) is not important from this standpoint.  Even if WWII-vintage rifles had been sold it would still have violated UN, US and European sanctions dating back years.  It is to the advantage of Russia to maintain uncertainty as to the system itself as well as to how many, when shipped and all other details.  As one of the great chess masters of all time, in a book entitled “Struggle”, stated:  “The Threat is more powerful than the deed”.  Indeed.

     As a direct result, Israel and the allied Sunni states won’t know how long Israel has to launch an air attack on the Iranian facilities.  Delay might be fatal.  Or then again, it might not.  The threat is more powerful than the deed.  This might precipitate an attack to pre-empt the arrival of the missiles.  Or again, perhaps not.  Or perhaps the whole idea of a military attack should be abandoned.  Or perhaps the Iranian infrastructure should be targeted instead.  And if so, only the military infrastructure or the economic infrastructure also.  Or maybe an EMP attack would be best, which Israel is perfectly capable of launching.  But wouldn’t that perhaps spill over into neighboring countries and it would certainly lead to massive chaos and innumerable casualties in Iran and huge international condemnation expressed by UN Security Council resolutions isolating Israel which the United States WOULD NOT VETO.

     Overlooked in all this is the reiteration of a deal the Russians offered Iran some time ago, to sell Iran agricultural equipment in a barter deal for Iranian oil and gas.  What?  What need does Russia have to import oil and gas, which are its only significant exports aside from weapons?  Why sure; Russia will sell the Iranian oil and gas abroad and pocket the money that otherwise Iran would have paid directly.  Neat.  Sanctions circumvented all around.  Iran gets what it needs and Russia gets what it needs, namely money, and Iran is able to sell oil and gas after all, albeit indirectly.

     The strategic defeat of the West is beginning to reach “historic” proportions, to paraphrase the American president, desperate to finally deserve his Nobel peace prize.  Too bad Chamberlain didn’t get one back in 1938.  The same kinds of mindless idiots would have applauded it than that applauded the Obama award.  The West is losing because it does not just have a bad strategy.  It has no strategy at all, and is playing with powers that do indeed have strategies, some better than others, but strategies none the less.  In the meantime Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the GCC and Egypt are looking on in horror and suspense and desperately trying to figure out what to do in the face of implacable foes and feckless (former?) allies.  Witness the recent revelation that Prime Minister Netanyahu held “secret” meetings with the leader of the Labor Party, Isaac Herzog, exploring the possibility of the formation of a “grand coalition” between their center-right and center-left factions in order to form the next Israeli government, in the face of an existential threat that just became more serious due to decisions made in Lausanne and Moscow. Asia Times Chatham House Rules, Norman A. Bailey


  1. The Russian-Iranian axis in the making
    The Kremlin thoughtfully picked Monday for President Vladimir Putin to formally sign the decree ordering the transfer of S-300 missiles to Iran. On the same day, Ali Shamkhani, formerly Iran’s Defence Minister and presently the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council [SNSC] was on a visit to Moscow to attend, interestingly, a meeting of the national security councils of the countries belonging to Shanghai Cooperation Organization [SCO].
    The SNSC works directly under the supervision of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, which makes Shamkhani a powerful figure in Iran’s security and foreign policy establishment. In sheer optics, the announcement of the momentous Russian decision on Monday afternoon just four hours before Putin received at his official residence at Novo-Ogaryovo the top SCO officials carried much symbolism. Putin’s decision will be understood as an assertion of Russian power all over the SCO territories. Two, Iran’s admission as a full SCO member is now merely a matter of time.

  2. Looking back, the path-breaking visit to Moscow in end-January by the Supreme Leader’s advisor on international affairs Ali Akbar Velayati (formerly Iran’s foreign minister for sixteen years from 1981 to 1997) had aimed at a reset of the compass of Russian-Iranian strategic partnership. (The SCO membership issue was on Velayati’s agenda.) A commentary featured by Iran’s official news agency IRNA at that time assessed that Velayati’s mission had a two-fold objective: a) to prepare a trajectory for Iran’s policies in a probable scenario if the negotiations with the world powers on the nuclear issue were “to hit a deadlock”; and, b) to convince the Russian leadership that Iran’s détente with the West will never come at the cost of the expansion of relations with Russia, which is a cornerstone of Iran’s strategies.
    Of course, the Kremlin would have taken serious note of Velayati’s message, because it de facto originated from Supreme Leader Khamenei himself. Putin received Velayati in a mark of respect. (For the benefit of the uninitiated, it was Velayati who worked shoulder to shoulder with the then Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeniy Primakov to bring to an end in 1997 the Tajik civil war, which was a bleeding wound for the young Russian Federation.) Suffice it to say, Khamenei couldn’t have deputed a better person who enjoyed carried the Kremlin’s trust and confidence to convey to Putin his personal commitment to renewing Iran’s strategic bonds with Russia.

  3. Obviously, Iranians were in the loop when Putin signed the decree on Monday. Shamkhani promptly expressed the hope that the delivery of the S-300 systems will take place within the year. The Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said that the delivery may begin any moment – “The decree stipulates… no delays. It comes to force on the day it was signed [Monday].”
    The Kremlin’s “Executive Order” has been carefully worded to warn that Moscow will not tolerate any interdiction of the consignment on transfer to Iran by extra-regional powers. It says that the transfer will be “via Russian territory (including by air)… using ships or aircraft flying the Russian Federation flag.” The wording suggests that the transfer of the missile systems might in all probability take place across the Caspian Sea.
    Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov rubbed salt into the American wound by assuring Washington that Moscow’s decision is “in the interests of support for consolidated efforts of the six international negotiators to stimulate a maximally constructive process of talks on settlement of the situation around Iran’s nuclear program.” Of course, Lavrov, who is famous for his sardonic sense of humor, explained that this was after all “Russia’s separate voluntary embargo”, which Moscow is now merely lifting — meaning, it is nobody else’s business.

  4. Meanwhile, Moscow has done its work on the abacus. Lavrov said: “S-300 is an air defense missile system, which is of a purely defensive nature. It is not designed for attacks and will not put at risk the security of any regional state, including Israel, of course.
    “Meanwhile, for Iran, taking into account the very tense situation in the region surrounding it, modern air defense systems are very important. This is in particular proven by an alarmingly fast development of events in the past week of the military situation around Yemen.”
    Simply put, Moscow probably senses that given the dysfunctional American political system, President Barack Obama will find it almost impossible to deliver on the hugely important question of the lifting of the sanctions against Iran (which is an absolutely non-negotiable demand by Tehran) and that the nuclear talks are therefore likely entering shark-infested waters.
    Curiously, Shamkhani didn’t sound too optimistic either when he told his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev in Moscow yesterday, “Adoption of unconstructive (sic) positions and excessive demands by certain countries negotiating with Iran will slow the trend of reaching a comprehensive agreement.” Author: M.K. Bhadrakumar