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Does the Islamic Republic of Iran collapse?

Sajad Abedi

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Pay attention to the following trends in the community: urbanization, bureaucracy, size of social classes, the severity and weakness of civil institutions, the rate of political invasion and obstruction, abundance and economic recession, rule of law, and secularism, religiosity and separationist, trust and deregulation, from the sociological point of view can be somewhat recognizable and aware of the fact about these trends and their future Gained. But contrary to the notion that at the end of the nineteenth century, the sociology of today does not claim that it can definitely predict the “movement of the entire society” (including Iran).

Today, sociology explicitly and modestly states that one cannot predict from the scientific standpoint an end to the future of society. There are many reasons for this humble sociology, one of which is reflexive, more so than society.

Communities are more likely to be exposed to information and awareness and respond to their interests in response to this awareness, and this reflection, and subsequently the redevelopment of individual and collective life (and especially the unintended consequences of individual and collective behavior of social actors) makes it difficult to predict a community called community.

According to the above introduction, the question arises as to how the sociology of medicine is affected? The answer is that although sociology cannot predict the “movement of the whole society,” as mentioned, it can describe and explain the status of important trends within society (examples of which are mentioned).

Even though sociology cannot make a definitive statement about the future of the entire Iranian society, different and possible situations can be empirically guessed (based on the existing trends of the society) and through this possible knowledge of the active and sympathetic forces of society can take into account the general situation of society To a more favorable position. One of the ways that helps us examine the current situation and speculation about the future status of the entire movement is to let us say that this community is moving in its direction (towards the future, in light of the visible features (or trends) of the Iranian society) Which of the really existing communities in the world is approaching, but this method requires more explanation.

The society and its movement towards the future are not solely due to the will and the plan of individuals and groups in the state apparatus (even within the state apparatus, there are usually conflicting plans and plans for shaping society), but due to The result is the activity of active forces in the government as well as active forces in society.

It is subtle that active forces in society and the government are cooperating, competing and hostile to maintain their position in the hierarchy of society, and in their challenges constantly examine the situation and change their behavior, so each one of society They are killing one another. Therefore, the future must come as a result of various forces in society. If we look carefully, the precise study of these forces within the community, especially considering the reflection, rethinking and reproduction of society, is not an easy task in terms of empirical evidence, and it is almost impossible. One of the ways to overcome this problem is to compare the studied community with the status of a number of really existing societies, in other words, to see if the Iranian society has a general interest in terms of its characteristics. One of the really existing communities is getting closer.

Now, with this introduction, our main point in this article is that the movement of Iranian society is a challenge between what happened in Cuba and South Korea. Therefore, we will first try to describe the characteristics of the two concepts of the Cuban and South Korean type in relation to the Iranian society. Then we will explain how the South Korea definition is closer to today’s reality in Iran.

What does Cubanism mean?

Iran, like Cuba (through its neighbors on the Iraqi border on the Gulf and Afghanistan’s borders), is a neighbor of the United States. Both countries are in constant controversy with the United States (Cuba has fifty years and Iran thirty years). At the home of the Cuban government, for over fifty years, the patriotic policy and opposition to the mechanisms of political development have been well nesting. Anti-American propaganda is the main essence of its official propaganda.

In Iran, populist politics and pessimism have become rooted in the mechanisms of political development, and anti-American politics is the official form of Iranian propaganda. The eight years of foreign policy of Hashemi Rafsanjani’s government during the period of construction (1988-1986) and eight years of foreign policy based on Khatami’s confidence-building during the reform period (2004-1984) failed to win over the foreign policy of anti-American propaganda and normalization.

Cuba, as a country that embodies the fight against America, is dominated by Latin Americans, especially among the poor in the region, and it is counting on this influence. Iran is also influential as a manifestation of the struggle against America among the people of the world, especially among the poor of the Islamic countries, and is extremely pleased with this influence.

But both Cuba and Iran, despite the influence of the world’s poor, cannot use this popular influence at the United Nations to draw the attention of the effective members of the United Nations (while defending their national interests). For example, at the beginning of the year2007, Indonesians were hooraying for the presidency of Iran, but the country’s envoy voted in the UN Security Council to issue a resolution against Iran (No. 1747).

Cuba, despite the constant struggle with the United States and having gained political independence, is among the less developed countries of Latin America, and countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Chile have a more developed status than Cuba, and are more effective in real equations of the region and the world. Iran, despite fighting with the United States and gaining political independence from its similar countries, is far behind the Islamic countries like Turkey, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

After over 50 years of its revolution, Cuba has become an illiterate society in terms of raising the standard of living of its people, which means that it has some weaknesses in some of the trends.

Cuba, for example, has grown dramatically in terms of rural development, healthcare and sugar cane industry, but has gained other indicators such as GDP growth, per capita income, increasing growth, brain drain, growing prostitution, weakness of civil institutions, media And the independent parties have a terrible situation. But other countries in the Latin American region, such as Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Mexico, have a much better status than Cuba in terms of the trends.

Iran, after thirty years of revolution, has been promoting the quality of life of people in the society. As an example, Iran has made significant advances in the development of military, general and excellent education (especially in women), the expansion and spread of health and health skills, rural development, the strengthening of economic infrastructure and the political recruitment of people. On the other hand, Iran is suffering from social dangers such as six million marginalized populations, twelve million people below the poverty line, more than four million unemployed, between two and five million drug addicts, an increasing erosion of moral values among people, especially the prevalence of distrust in the relations between people with the government. There is also a steady and growing flow of elites and financial resources of the country abroad, with a massive and non-government state of three million diaspora

The United States has followed Cuba’s policy of isolation in the last 50 years. Although the United States was able to militarily hit Cuba, it seems that the United States is a sign that wants Latin Americans to show the effectiveness of state socialism. The United States has followed Iran’s isolation policy, although it has not been able to isolate Iran like Cuba, Iran has not been able to improve its position vis-à-vis countries like Turkey and Malaysia. In other words, Iran is leading in the fight against America among Islamic countries, but in terms of its development, it is not currently a leader.

The South Korea meaning

1) South Korea’s position on South Korea against Japan and North Korea (which is also atomic) is a sensitive position and should be able to defend itself. Therefore, after World War II, the military and security forces in South Korea have played an increasingly important role, and Iran is also threatened by Western countries (America and Britain), Israel, and even Russia.

Therefore, the role of the military and security forces in this Arab country (Iraq, the time of Saddam) has been increasing. As there are currently some 5 million Iranian people in some way (full-time, part-time, part-time or volunteering) available to the country’s security forces, Iran is among the most armed countries in the world for personnel.

2) In South Korea, over the past 20 years, these were military forces that did not see the real power in South Korean military power alone, and to gain economic power (compared to Japan’s and China’s economic strength) for the South Korean leadership in the region and World recognized. Therefore, Korean military commanders moved to the barracks from the 1960s onwards and supported Korea’s ongoing policies for economic development (and, to some extent, political development).

But in Iran, the involvement of a number of security agencies in electoral affairs and economic affairs (rather than contractors in the private sector) and the lack of support for a part of the country’s security carriers from the policies of economic and political development of Hashemi and Khatami’s government in the past indicate that the process of economic development And Iran’s political system does not enjoy the undisputed support of all the security forces of the country. However, the adoption of the 20-year vision of Iran aimed at gaining superior power among the countries of the region, and the announcement and commitment of the government to the implementation of Article 44 of the Constitution on the strengthening of the private sector shows that the government in Iran as a future design also important Development of Iran, especially economic development, is not overlooked (although in practice the process is not accelerated and generalization is strengthened instead of privatization. In Iran, to be successful, it should not be fought in a competitive and efficient market, but somehow it should be rented the oil was connected to the government).

(3) South Korea has faced and is growing with the growth of the workforce (the growth of the new and most skilled middle class). Iran is faced with a growing skilled labor force, and the most important factor in responding to this massive demand is Iran’s entry into the ongoing process of economic-political development (labor migration abroad is neither possible nor appropriate). Is). South Korea cannot retreat from its neighbors (China, Japan, Singapore, etc.), and Iran cannot ignore the growing progress of Islamic countries such as Malaysia, Turkey and the Gulf states.

4) Korea’s spatial orientation (its neighbors with China and Japan) places the energy reserves of the Middle East, Korea and Iran at the center of US foreign policy attention. But South Korea faces interactive policies with the United States, and Iran has entered a policy of counter-propaganda.

The Challenge of Iranian Society

Given some of the similarities of Iranian society with Cuba and South Korea, we can illustrate the movement of Iranian society in the challenge between one of these two patterns. This means that a large part of Iran’s society (especially the growing and educated middle class) and a part of the elites in the Iranian government know the path to confronting backwardness, unemployment and poverty in the development of Iran (such as South Korea), so that Iran No more left than countries like Turkey and Malaysia.

On the other hand, part of the Iranian elite in the government, with the continuation of American-style advertising on the international scene and the hypocritical and hypocritical policies of the interior, especially with the hope of attracting the votes of 12 million people below the poverty line, oppose the development processes of the country. By relying on their oil bureaucracy, they keep themselves in the political arena.

But the consequence of their work is to slow down the development and retention of Iran from similar countries, such as Turkey and Malaysia. It should now be clarified how will Iran move towards South Korea in the challenge of Cubanization or South Korea’s rise to the Middle East?

The first condition is the peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear file in the international system, especially with the United States in the short term, because if the current situation continues or the current situation changes to serious crises resulting from the sanctions, the process of Iranian cubism will be accelerated. . In this sense, Iran becomes the center for the spread of anti-American propaganda in the world, and the poor people of the world are caught up in these anti-American stances.

But internally, because of the impossibility of moving the country in line with the 20-year perspective, one of which is the annual economic growth of over 8% (now less than 5%), the development process of the country has slowed down, and the number of addicts, the unemployed, The poor (and the increase in the size of a group that is subject to dense social damage). In other words, in such a situation, the Iranian papal elites are chanting against global arrogance, and in front of our people, they have to burn and to build the system.

The second requirement is to play all Iranians in the development process of the country, that is, South Korea, the lower classes, the middle and upper classes, all should be encouraged to participate in the development process of Iran (at least within the framework of the twenty year perspective). As long as elite elites make poor strata against the upper and middle strata, instead of strengthening the private sector and the middle section of society (civil institutions, the press and independent parties), they are pleased with the presence and support of street people in the streets. Instead of developing the country, the process of Iranian cubism in the region will be strengthened.

The third is the direct connection or the two previous conditions, and that the patrolling of the elite and the military and clerical elites of the country is a mechanism of democracy until the elections in Iran are manipulated in various ways and as long as the elites are free and They will be forced to take anti-American slogans against this monopoly and, as a result, lead Iran to further Cubanism. From this perspective, the election of the eighth Majles and the free and fair amount of holding it is a good indicator of how far Iran is being drawn.

Individuals and groups that make Iran Cuban (unfortunately, during the ninth era, this process has been accelerated), it is not bad to know that the main forces of Iranian society do not want to be Cuban and think of a development that is grateful to Iran. .

It is subtle that Iran’s Cuban bearers are not only opposed to the development of the country, but also face Iran with unwanted situations. One of the unwanted situations is that the current disagreements (among women, teachers, students, workers and relatives of Iran) turn into inconsistent opposition and confront the Iranian government with uncontrollable crises. While economic and political development, free and fair elections, and resolution of problems through reforms, channel the legitimate demands of the strata and, instead of slowing down the country’s development process, adds to its speed.

Conclusion

It seems that the advent of Iranian society on the roof of the world (which the people are promising) and the advent of the Iranian society to the state of social collapse (which is part of the critics of the status quo) are not the likely destiny of our society, but The probable fate of the Iranian society should be sought in a situation between Cubanism and South Korea.

It is wise to keep all the compassion of the Iranian society (both governmental and non-governmental) from expanding the Iranian society from the Cuban pattern of the Middle East. Of course South Korea’s pattern in the Middle East does not mean parading the community. All modern societies, including South Korea, are faced with a variety of crises and challenges, and should constantly identify these crises and act to curb them. But the difference between Cuban or South Korea is that in the former, the number of unemployed, addicts, the poor, sex workers and depressed people is increasing.

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Israel’s new Global Strategy

Giancarlo Elia Valori

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If we want to study Israel’s political and military positions, we must at first analyse Syria.

For Israel the problem in Syria is Russia, although it is apparently Iran.

In fact, one of the de-escalation areas is in the Golan Heights  and certainly the Jewish State does not like that Iran and Hezbollah can easily and quietly operate in the Golan area, even without warlike acts but under the protection of Russia, which is also the guarantor of the whole area.

In particular, the Israeli government wants the Russian Federation to never intervene in favour of Iran.

However, if Iran and the Shiite forces leave Syria, Russia’s control to ensure Syrian stability will weaken and probably even crumble.

Hence Israel wants Russia and even Syria to push Iran away from Syria, by threatening a real war on Syrian soil, along with the United States.

The United States and Israel could overthrow Assad and, in any case, remove Russia from the area, and hence from the Middle East. This is one of Russia’s primary aim, i.e. to stay in the Greater Middle East and in the Mediterranean region with strong and decisive power. But would the United States accept this anti-Russian operation? I do not think so. The United States would initially participate and later move away, after having completed the first operations successfully. After the first headlines on the New York Times, it would go back home. The United States either takes possession of an area for twenty years -as was the case in Afghanistan – or confines itself to quick strategic operations.

In the current Syrian situation, however, will the United States still be a reliable partner for Israel, apart from the possible war?

Probably not. The United States already has its Kurds who, after the US withdrawal from Syria, immediately decided to fall into Assad’s arms, with a view to opposing Turkey.

Furthermore, what would be the configuration of the Syrian-Iranian system after this attack on the Syrian Baathist regime? Probably more dangerous than it is today.

A great coalition is needed to destroy Shiite Iran’s  hegemonic designs, certainly with the United States, but also and above all with Islamic partners, not only Saudi Arabia.

Russia would never accept such a project.

Russia wants to avoid not only the stabilization of current Syria, which, in fact, is now a Russian client State, but also a new war in the Greater Middle East.

Hence Israel’s friendship with Russia is possible and desirable, but the only true and realistic possibility of containing Iran within Syria, or on the Israeli borders, is anyway to strongly isolate the Shiite power within Assad’s area, which may also be Russia’s goal.

This also in view of strengthening Russia’s increasingly close relations with Saudi Arabia, a fierce competitor and opponent of Iran, which could be decisive in a post-war reorganisation and reconstruction of Syria.

Hence any realistic strategy for harshly containing Iran must be based on a preliminary agreement between Russia and Israel.

Moreover, it should be recalled that Russia absolutely needs the Jewish State at economic, technological and strategic levels.

These are some of the topics I had the opportunity of discussing openly and frankly with my friend Moshe Ya’alon, when I recently presented the Israeli edition of my latest book in Jerusalem.

Hence a preventive war on Syria to destroy the Iran-Hezbollah axis? Probably so. I also believe that, in all likelihood, there could be a substantial military disregard and disinterest of Russia, which would thus no longer have many contacts with a dangerous oil competitor, namely Iran, which has very different oil and gas policies from Russia.

Not to mention, however, that Saudi Arabia is already making its war in Yemen, certainly with a view to avoiding the pressure of a Shiite group such as the Houthi, but also and above all to taking possession of the new (huge) oil reserves of Kharkhir and Najran – apart from the fact that currently 60% of Yemeni oil is already “stolen” from Saudi Arabia, through former Yemeni President Mansour Hadi.

Obviously the clash in Yemen also regards control over the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, through which 3,800 million barrels of Middle East crude oil transit.

Syria, however, is still a big, polymorphic country, which has always been politically unstable and, in any case, with Christian minority areas -Druze and Shiite or para-Shiite areas – that could turn out to be too hard a nut to crack in view of waging the blitzkrieg, the lightning war that has always been in the style of the Israeli strategic thinking.

Moreover, given the current presence of many Iranian armaments in the Lebanon and, probably, in the Golan Heights, a very quick attack should be based on an extremely careful analysis of the positions and forces of Shiite groups by the Israeli intelligence services.

Anyway, a quick attack should avoid Israel’s countermove on its Northern borders.

Hence, to date the only logical operation would be to define a Syrian geopolitics shared with Russia, which has parallel interests and controls the Shiite forces on the field.

Indeed Russia is looking for a reliable ally to counter Iran’s territorial claim on Syria itself.

The agreement signed by Israel with the USA and Russia, at the end of July 2018, also enabled Israel to accept the presence of the Syrian army on the Golan border, albeit over eighty kilometres away from the boundary line.

This implies that the Israeli Armed Forces will not wage  war to undermine Russia’s prospects and Syrian operations outside the borders with Israel. A clear  acceptance of Russian protection over Assad’s armies.

The United States has now abandoned its Southern client States, namely the “democratic jihadists”, if any, which is a sign of the clear US inability to think in a strategically correct way.

In fact, both Russia and Israel know that the Syrian clash is a war that can affect the whole world, not just the Middle East. It is not the usual story of “democracy” against “terrorism”.

The Syrian clash has been the trigger of a possible world war.

The United States has instead interpreted the war in Syria as a mere war on terror, a sort of geopolitical tranquilizer.

Obviously Israel has greatly strengthened its positions in the Golan area, but will it be enough? I do not think so.

The possibility for Iran (which funds and trains also the Islamic jihad south of Israel) to start a regional clash against the Jewish State also from the Gaza Strip is such as not to allow excessive confidence in the current status quo.

Meanwhile, in Asia there is Israel’s economic, but also political opening.

Obviously Israel’s motivation lies in the fact that Asia will be the dominant region at economic, but also at political and military levels.

Hence the opportunity – to be seized in the near future – of a geopolitical connection between China and Israel, which could easily influence also the Greater Middle East.

Except for Singapore and Burma, all Israeli official relations with the Asian countries date back to the period following the collapse of the USSR.

Trade with China and the other Asian powers is already significant: in fact, it amounts to 15 billion US dollars.

Considering the current trade tensions between China and the USA, the relationship between China and Israel could become crucial, especially in the high-tech field.

There is also a project at stake, i.e. the Med-Red, a Eilat-Ashdod railway line that could be a terrestrial alternative to the Suez Canal, with very noticeable strategic effects, which are barely imaginable today. Chinese investment would be relevant in this respect, considering the geographical and political symmetry of Red-Med with the New Silk Road.

While the EU – with its current trade laws, substantially punishing the Jewish State – remains a substantially enemy area, Israel is opening to Asian trade – and China’s, in particular – which largely replaces trade with the EU.

These economic facts have wide strategic implications:  unlike the old “Rhine” Europe, not reached by the new “Silk Road”, Israel is connecting to Central Asia’s great development area and hence is slowing down its ties with the USA and, even more, with Europe, which is now hypocritically anti-Semitic.

Asia is therefore a sort of insurance policy – also at geopolitical level – of the Jewish State against the West, which will be ever less friendly in the future.

In any case, Israel can always open up preferential channels in the East, if they are closed in the West.

Nevertheless the Jewish State does not certainly want to diminish its relations with the USA and Europe today, although its relations with the East will certainly increase, including those having a security nature.

Hence if the relations with the USA cool down, even from a political viewpoint, Israel could establish good contacts with India while, due to its excellent relations with Iran, China may not be Israel’s exclusive partner in the East.

Again at regional level, a long-term – if not definitive – solution to the Palestinian issue could be useful.

If the borders between the Jewish State and the PNA are not made safe, that strategic link will always be used as a thorn in the flesh against Israel, which will never become a global player unless it quickly gets rid of the old geopolitical memories of so many regional wars.

How can we resolve tension with Palestine, which could be exploited in the future by anyone who wants to weaken the Jewish State?

The solution of placing the PNA in Jordan’s hands is not very rational.

The Hashemite Kingdom has not the economic, and probably not even the military, strength  to swallow the whole Palestinian area up.

Jordan can certainly become an element of control over the Palestinian territories, but nothing more.

The solution of the State to be built, however, has now failed and certainly not because of Israel.

Hence what could be the solution? We could think about an area controlled and economically supported by Islamic countries – pro quota – but certainly not by Iran.

I see no other possible options.

It is certain, however, that the strengthening of good economic relations with Egypt, Jordan, even with Saudi Arabia, would be useful also for solving the Palestinian issue.

Another fact to be considered is the strategic superiority of the Jewish State in the field of active and passive cybersecurity, which can harshly remove many tensions before they arise.

Certainly, for the Jewish State, cyberwarfare gives the possibility of weakening the infrastructural and protective networks of the enemy so as to make it unable to fight.

It is also certain that Israel is a world leader in this sector, but it must always keep up, because the pace of change in this field is very fast.

Nevertheless cyber-mercenaries are also coming – and there will much work here.

Obviously, although the excellence of the Israeli cyberstrategy is well-known, we shall keep and further improve it and, above all, target and direct remote operations – even temporarily – against new enemies and adversaries, never targeted before.

Enemies change, but it is good to never trust eternal friendship.

It will be good, however, to currently move away from the Western model of the “showbiz society”, which does not make young people focus on technical, scientific, rational and historical education and training – as today happens also in Israel- and go back to of our parents’ and grandparents’ model, with better education and hence more effective “nationalization of the masses” also in the Armed Forces.

We also need to invest even more in schools and universities although Israel has not yet reached the disastrous situation of many European countries and, above all, of Italy.

It will also be very useful to improve the relationship between universities and the productive and military system.

This is very difficult, but I really believe that the Jewish State will succeed once again.

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Inside the Beltway: Iran hardliners vs Iran hardliners

Dr. James M. Dorsey

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Alarm bells went off last September in Washington’s corridors of power when John Bolton’s national security council asked the Pentagon for options for military strikes against Iran.

The council’s request was in response to three missiles fired by an Iranian-backed militia that landed in an empty lot close to the US embassy in Baghdad and the firing of rockets by unidentified militants close to the US consulate in the Iraqi port city of Basra.

“We have told the Islamic Republic of Iran that using a proxy force to attack an American interest will not prevent us from responding against the prime actor,” Mr. Bolton said at the time.

Commenting on the council’s request, a former US official noted that “people were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran.”

Then US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, like Mr. Bolton an Iran hawk, worried that military strikes would embroil the United States in a larger conflagration with Iran.

The request, moreover, seemed to call into question US President Donald J. Trump’s promise to America’s European allies that he would rein in Mr. Bolton who has a long track record of advocating military action against Iran.

Months before joining the Trump administration in the spring of 2018, Mr. Bolton drafted at the request of Mr. Trump’s then strategic advisor, Steve Bannon, a plan that envisioned US support “for the democratic Iranian opposition,” “Kurdish national aspirations in Iran, Iraq and Syria,” and assistance for Iranian Arabs in the oil-rich Iranian province of Khuzestan and the Baloch who populate the Pakistani province of Balochistan and Iran’s neighbouring Sistan and Baluchistan province.

Frustrated by the Trump administration’s failure to respond to his suggestions, Mr. Bolton published the memo in December 2017.

Almost to the day two years after the publication and two months before the 40th anniversary of the Iranian revolution, Mr. Bolton asserted in a policy speech in Cairo, that the United States had “joined the Iranian people in calling for freedom and accountability… America’s economic sanctions against the (Iranian) regime are the strongest in history, and will keep getting tougher until Iran starts behaving like a normal country.” Mr Bolton was referring to harsh US sanctions imposed in 2018 by Mr. Trump after withdrawing the United States from the 2015 international agreement that curbed Iran’s nuclear program.

Mr. Bolton’s plan stroked with Saudi thinking about the possibility of attempting to destabilize Iran by stirring unrest among its ethnic minorities. The thinking was made public in a November 2017 study by the International Institute for Iranian Studies, formerly known as the Arabian Gulf Centre for Iranian Studies, a Saudi government-backed think tank.

The study argued that Chabahar, the Indian-backed Iranian deep-sea port at the top of the Arabian Sea, posed “a direct threat to the Arab Gulf states” that called for “immediate counter measures.” Pakistani militants claimed in 2017 that Saudi Arabia had stepped up funding of militant madrassas or religious seminaries in Balochistan that allegedly serve as havens for anti-Iranian, anti-Shiite fighters.

Mr. Bolton’s memo followed an article he wrote in The New York Times in 2015 headlined ‘To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran’ at the time that President Barak Obama was negotiating the international agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

Mr. Bolton argued in the op-ed that diplomacy would never prevent the Islamic republic from acquiring nuclear weapons. “The inconvenient truth is that only military action like Israel’s 1981 attack on Saddam Hussein’s Osirak reactor in Iraq or its 2007 destruction of a Syrian reactor, designed and built by North Korea, can accomplish what is required. Time is terribly short, but a strike can still succeed,” Mr. Bolton wrote.

The memo was written at about the same time that Mr. Bolton told a gathering of the Iranian opposition group Mujahedin-e-Khalq that “the declared policy of the United States of America should be the overthrow of the mullahs’ regime in Tehran” and that “before 2019, we here will celebrate in Tehran.”

While Mr. Bolton has remained outspoken even if he has been careful in his wording as national security advisor, other past advocates of military action against Iran have taken a step back.

Mike Pompeo has since becoming secretary of state hued far closer to the Trump administration’s official position that it is pursuing behavioural rather than regime change in Iran. But as a member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Pompeo suggested in 2014 launching “2,000 sorties to destroy the Iranian nuclear capacity.”

While the Trump administration has largely explained its hard line towards Iran as an effort to halt the country’s missile development, roll back its regional influence, and ensure that the Islamic Republic will never be able to develop a nuclear weapon, Mr. Bolton has suggested that it was also driven by alleged Iranian non-compliance with the nuclear accord.

“Report: Iran’s secret nuclear archive ‘provides substantial evidence that Iran’s declarations to IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency) are incomplete & deliberately false.’ The President was right to end horrible Iran deal. Pressure on Iran to abandon nuclear ambitions will increase,” Mr. Bolton tweeted this month, endorsing a report by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security.

Based on Iranian documents obtained by Israel, the report identified an allegedly undeclared Iranian nuclear site. “Documentation seized in January 2018 by Israel from the Iranian ‘Nuclear Archive’ revealed key elements of Iran’s past nuclear weaponization program and the Amad program more broadly, aimed at development and production of nuclear weapons. The material extracted from the archives shows that the Amad program had the intention to build five nuclear warhead systems for missile delivery,” the report said.

Similarly, Mr. Bolton this month told Israeli prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu on a visit to Jerusalem that “we have little doubt that Iran’s leadership is still strategically committed to achieving deliverable nuclear weapons. The United States and Israel are strategically committed to making sure that doesn’t happen.”

Mr. Bolton’s assertion contrasted starkly with then Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats’ assessment in his 2017 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community that “we do not know whether Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.”

Mr. Bolton’s hardline position within the Trump administration could be cemented if Iran were to decide that upholding the nuclear agreement no longer served its interest. Anti-agreement momentum in Iran has been fuelled by the European Union’s seeming inability or unwillingness to create a financial system that would evade US sanctions and facilitate trade with Europe.

Mr. Bolton’s hard line has also been bolstered by the imposition of European Union sanctions on Iran’s ministry of intelligence and two individuals on charges of plotting to kill leaders of an Iranian Arab separatist movement in Denmark and the Netherlands.

An Iranian abrogation of the nuclear agreement would likely lead to a reshuffle of the Iranian cabinet and the appointment of hardliners that would in turn bolster Mr. Bolton’s argument that the Iran issue has to be resolved before the United States can militarily truly disengage from the Middle East and South Asia.

Hardliners like Mr. Bolton may have one more development going for them: Disillusionment in Iran with the government of President Hassan Rouhani is mounting.

The disappointment is being fuelled not only by the failure of the nuclear accord to drive economic growth and the government’s mis-management of the economy and inability to take on nepotism, vested interests such as the Revolutionary Guards and the growing income gap accentuated by the elite’s public display of ostentatious wealth, but also the fact that Mr. Rouhani appears to have lost interest in reform and implementing change.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Rouhani´s second term has been extremely ignorant (about the demands) of the twenty-four million people who make up Iranian civil society. Most of the reformists believe that he no longer wants to interact (with the reform movement). All that concerns him is to emerge from the remaining two years (of his second term) undamaged, and thus maintain his privileged spot in the pyramid of power,” said Abdullah Naseri, a prominent reformist and adviser to the former president Mohammad Khatami. Mr. Naseri was referring to the 24 million people who voted for Mr. Rouhani.

A reformist himself, Mr. Khatami warned that “if the nezam (establishment) insists on its mistakes… (and) reform fails, the society will move toward overthrowing the system.”

The roots of Mr. Bolton’s thinking lie in a policy paper entitled US Defense Planning Guidance that has been in place since 1992. The paper stipulates that US policy is designed “to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources under consolidated control be sufficient to generate global power.” The paper goes a long way in explaining why the US and Saudi Arabia potentially would be interested in destabilizing Iran by stirring unrest among its ethnic minorities.

Iran scholar Shireen Hunter suggests that squashing Iran’s ambition of being a regional and global player may be one reason why senior Trump administration officials, including Mr. Bolton, Mr. Pompeo and Rudolph Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, alongside the Saudis support the Mujahedin e-Khalq even if its domestic support base is in question.

“The MEK was willing to support Saddam Hussein and cede Iran’s (oil-rich) Khuzestan province to Iraq. There is no reason to think that it won’t similarly follow U.S. bidding,” Ms. Hunter said referring to the Mujahedeen’s support of Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

Mr. Bolton appeared to be fortifying what amounted to the most hard-line approach towards Iran in an administration that was already determined to bring Iran to its knees by elevating Charles M. Kupperman, a long-time associate and former Reagan administration official, to deputy national security adviser.

Mr. Kupperman, a former Boeing and Lockheed Martin executive, previously served on the board for the Center for Security Policy, a far-right think tank advocating for a hawkish Iran policy founded by  Frank Gaffney, a former US government official who is widely viewed as an Islamophobe and conspiracy theorist.

Similarly, Mr. Trump, reportedly on Mr. Bolton’s advice, hired this month Richard Goldberg as the national security council’s director for countering Iranian weapons of mass destruction.

As a staffer for former Senator Mark Kirk, Mr. Goldberg helped write legislation that served as the basis for the Obama administration’s sanctions regime on Tehran prior to the nuclear deal. He went on to work for the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which advocates a hard line towards Iran.

Earlier, Mr. Bolton hired Matthew C. Freedman, who in March 2018, together with Messrs. Kupperman and Bolton registered the Institute for a Secure America as a non-profit organization on the day that Mr. Trump announced Mr. Bolton’s appointment as national security advisor.

A long-standing Bolton associate and one-time member of Mr. Trump’s transition team, Mr. Freedman worked in the 1980s and 1990s as a foreign lobbyist with Paul Manafort, who managed Mr. Trump’s election campaign for several months and was last year convicted as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion between the campaign and Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

Messrs. Bolton, Kupperman and Freedman also established in 2015 the Foundation for American Security and Freedom to campaign against the Iran nuclear deal.

David J. Rothkopf, a former Clinton administration official who wrote a definitive history of the National Security Council described Mr. Bolton as a man “who has never crossed a bridge he hasn’t burned behind him, who is surrounding himself with what appears to be a second-tier group of advisers who have spent a disproportionate amount of time on the swamp side of things — as consultants or working on his extreme political projects.”

Said journalist and political commentator Mehdi Hasan: “You underestimate John Bolton at your peril… In 2003, Bolton got the war he wanted with Iraq. As an influential, high-profile, hawkish member of the Bush administration, Bolton put pressure on intelligence analysts, threatened international officials, and told barefaced lies about weapons of mass destruction. He has never regretted his support for the illegal and catastrophic invasion of Iraq, which killed hundreds of thousands of people. Now, he wants a war with Iran.”

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Middle East

Syria’s Kurds: The new frontline in confronting Iran and Turkey

Dr. James M. Dorsey

Published

on

US President Donald J. Trump’s threat to devastate Turkey’s economy if Turkish troops attack Syrian Kurds allied with the United States in the wake of the announced withdrawal of American forces potentially serves his broader goal of letting regional forces fight for common goals like countering Iranian influence in Syria.

Mr. Trump’s threat coupled with a call on Turkey to create a 26-kilometre buffer zone to protect Turkey from a perceived Kurdish threat was designed to pre-empt a Turkish strike against the People’s Protection Units (YPG) that Ankara asserts is part of the outlawed Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), a Turkish group that has waged a low-intensity war in predominantly Kurdish south-eastern Turkey for more than three decades.

Like Turkey, the United States and Europe have designated the PKK as a terrorist organization.

Turkey has been marshalling forces for an attack on the YPG since Mr. Trump’s announced withdrawal of US forces. It would be the third offensive against Syrian Kurds in recent years.

In a sign of strained relations with Saudi Arabia, Turkish media with close ties to the government have been reporting long before the October 2 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul that Saudi Arabia is funding the YPG. There is no independent confirmation of the Turkish allegations.

Yeni Safak reported in 2017, days after the Gulf crisis erupted pitting a Saudi-UAE-Egyptian alliance against Qatar, which is supported by Turkey, that US, Saudi, Emirati and Egyptian officials had met with the PKK as well as the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey says is the Syrian political wing of the PKK, to discuss the future of Syrian oil once the Islamic State had been defeated.

Turkey’s semi-official Anadolu Agency reported last May that Saudi and YPG officials had met to discuss cooperation. Saudi Arabia promised to pay Kurdish fighters that joined an Arab-backed force US$ 200 a month, Anadolu said. Saudi Arabia allegedly sent aid to the YPG on trucks that travelled through Iraq to enter Syria.

In August last year, Saudi Arabia announced that it had transferred US$ 100 million to the United States that was earmarked for agriculture, education, roadworks, rubble removal and water service in areas of north-eastern Syria that are controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces of which the YPG is a significant part.

Saudi Arabia said the payment, announced on the day that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in the kingdom, was intended to fund stabilization of areas liberated from control by the Islamic State.

Turkish media, however, insisted that the funds would flow to the YPG.

“The delivery of $100 million is considered as the latest move by Saudi Arabia in support of the partnership between the U.S. and YPG. Using the fight against Daesh as a pretext, the U.S. has been cooperating with the YPG in Syria and providing arms support to the group. After Daesh was cleared from the region with the help of the U.S., the YPG tightened its grip on Syrian soil taking advantage of the power vacuum in the war-torn country,” Daily Sabah said referring to the Islamic State by one of its Arabic acronyms.

Saudi Arabia has refrained from including the YPG and the PKK on its extensive list of terrorist organizations even though then foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir described in 2017 the Turkish organization as a “terror group.”

This week’s Trump threat and his earlier vow to stand by the Kurds despite the troop withdrawal gives Saudi Arabia and other Arab states such as the United Arab Emirates and Egypt political cover to support the Kurds as a force against Iran’s presence in Syria.

It also allows the kingdom and the UAE to attempt to thwart Turkish attempts to increase its regional influence. Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt have insisted that Turkey must withdraw its troops from Qatar as one of the conditions for the lifting of the 18-month old diplomatic and economic boycott of the Gulf state.

The UAE, determined to squash any expression of political Islam, has long led the autocratic Arab charge against Turkey because of its opposition to the 2013 military coup in Egypt that toppled Mohammed Morsi, a Muslim Brother and the country’s first and only democratically elected president; Turkey’s close relations with Iran and Turkish support for Qatar and Islamist forces in Libya.

Saudi Arabia the UAE and Egypt support General Khalifa Haftar, who commands anti-Islamist forces in eastern Libya while Turkey alongside Qatar and Sudan supports the Islamists.

Libyan and Saudi media reported that authorities had repeatedly intercepted Turkish arms shipments destined for Islamists, including one this month and another last month. Turkey has denied the allegations.

“Simply put, as Qatar has become the go-to financier of the Muslim Brotherhood and its more radical offshoot groups around the globe, Turkey has become their armorer,” said Turkey scholar Michael Rubin.

Ironically, the fact that various Arab states, including the UAE and Bahrain, recently reopened their embassies in Damascus with tacit Saudi approval after having supported forces aligned against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for much of the civil war, like Mr. Trump’s threat to devastate the Turkish economy, makes Gulf support for the Kurds more feasible.

Seemingly left in the cold by the US president’s announced withdrawal of American forces, the YPG has sought to forge relations with the Assad regime. In response, Syria has massed troops near the town of Manbij, expected to be the flashpoint of a Turkish offensive.

Commenting on last year’s two-month long Turkish campaign that removed Kurdish forces from the Syrian town of Afrin and Turkish efforts since to stabilize the region, Gulf scholar Giorgio Cafiero noted that “for the UAE, Afrin represents a frontline in the struggle against Turkish expansionism with respect to the Arab world.”

The same could be said from a Saudi and UAE perspective for Manbij not only with regard to Turkey but also Iran’s presence in Syria. Frontlines and tactics may be shifting, US and Gulf geopolitical goals have not.

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