At a passing glance, President Barack ’s meetings with the leaders of the have borne fruit in terms of furthering mutual respect and as a building block to closer cooperation. But when one digs beneath the flimflam and the verbal pledges - with the exception of a joint missile defence system and a promise that deliveries of US weapons would be fast-tracked – the recent Summit delivered few tangible benefits.
Indeed, more than a few commentators have described the meet as a US-hosted arms bazaar, one that will fill the coffers of American weapons manufacturers with billions of dollars. Plus the P5+1 – Iranian is set to enrich and empower Tehran once economic sanctions are lifted.
says ’s newfound wealth will be used to improve lives rather than end up in the treasure chests of the Yemeni Houthis or other troublemakers under the Iranian wing. Sorry, but to me that smacks of naivety at best, snake oil at worst.
According to a Daily Telegraph investigation, ’s controls “a financial empire” estimated to be worth US $ 95 billion, more than even the grandiose Shah had managed to accumulate. That alone should tell Mr that has no intention of prioritising the needs of its people over its regional mischief makers.
The question is whether the leaders of the countries should rightly feel secure from Iranian aggression now that the US President has promised to come to their defence, militarily if deemed necessary. Naturally, that assessment would be made by the , not by the threatened states.
Without a signed and sealed security pact and in light of ’s track record of hesitancy in ending regional conflicts or eradicating terrorism, I don’t think so. Are we seriously to believe that the US would declare war on were we to be menaced?
’s rhetoric speaks otherwise when he told the New York Times that internal threats to are “bigger than ” and, at , he warned his guests not to “marginalise” Tehran. And even if ’s undertaking was rock solid, his term expires in just over 18 months. What happens then?
In any case, while there is nothing wrong with cementing better relations with the US, we must not on any account rely on its protection or that of any other world power. proves that we are able and willing to protect ourselves and our allies and when the proposed comes into play, our capabilities will be strengthened. We have no need of guardians or bosses in foreign capitals. We have strong, well equipped armies and air forces. We are not helpless, underage youths pleading to be defended, as characterised by sectors of the media.
I would urge heads of state to put under a microscope to ascertain whether it was a genuine attempt on ’s behalf to induce closer ties or merely a public relations exercise to bring on board a bad deal rewarding for its hostility, regional interference and its backing of terrorists.
In my opinion, trusting the administration to rein in would be a huge mistake. US engagement with was exactly the legacy was after even before he moved into the Oval Office. And to that end he surrounded himself with pro-Iranian officials, such as Vice President , Secretary of State and Deputy Secretary-of-State Bill Burns, who have all been championing détente with for many years.
’s personal adviser and family friend, Valerie Jarrett grew up in , speaks Farsi, and was a main player along with Bill Burns in US-Iranian secret talks to pave the way for official negotiations. The President’s National Security Council Director for , Sahar Nowrouzzadeh is a former employee of the National-Iranian American Council, a pro-Iranian lobbying organisation.
The President’s own behaviour with regards to America’s long-time sworn enemy was suspect since the beginning. He has been sending the Iranians video Nawrus (New Year) messages and letters to ’s . This year, actually celebrated the Persian New Year at home with his wife and daughters!
Just as strange was ’s silence concerning ’s crackdown on street protests following elections. And if he condemns Tehran for its abuses and lack of civil liberties, he must be whispering. Because all we hear from him is condemnation of predominately states on those issues.
Stranger still, while comes across as the ayatollahs’ new best friend, just days ago, the Ayatollah attacked the US as “the greatest supporter and plotter of terrorism” and accuses Washington of pursuing its own interests making the region insecure, while branding America as the enemy of both and Muslims. Far from committing to stay out of affairs, stressed that his country would continue supporting “the oppressed people of , and Palestine in every way possible”.
Are we really going to place our trust in America’s Commander-in-Chief when he claims backing the against the Syrian regime partnered with and , even as his Air Force provides air cover to ’s and pro-Iranian militias in ’s Anbar province? This rabble with blood-stained hands - officially known as Popular Mobilisation Forces (Al-Shaabi) - has been deployed by Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi and is directed by the commander of ’s Qassem Soleimani. What is worse is that is poised to send in ground troops as soon as it receives the go ahead from the government.
And what does Mr say about the shocking news revealed by the Times and other papers to the effect that the government in Baghdad is turning away tens of thousands of desperate refugees fleeing the city of Ramadi, recaptured by the ? Nothing much as far as I can tell! families with nowhere to go are being treated worse than foreign foes, barred entrance into their own capital city unless they happen to have a local “guarantor”. This is a plan to reduce the population by sending them into the fray to die; there is no other explanation.
In reality, ’s towns bordering northern are under direct threat from Houthis, while , close to being literally under the Iranian boot, constitutes a grave threat to . Does the administration plan to wait until the horse has bolted before acting? The Iranian plot to dominate the region is taking shape before our eyes. We are being surrounded. Yet the US President asks us to play nice with the plotters.
The bottom line is we did not get what we asked for. ’s commitment to intervene in to stop the regime’s killing spree was off the table along with a joint defence pact on the lines of those the US has with , Japan and South Korea. Moreover, he has turned down the Saudi request to purchase state-of-the-art F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to maintain ’s qualitative military edge over its neighbours.
And we certainly did not get what we need. Most importantly, any final agreement with should be negotiated with the participation of and co-signed by our leaders. Such agreement should not be limited to nuclear issues, but should be conditional upon Tehran’s commitment to quit meddling in the affairs of countries, notably , , , and whether directly (in the case of and ) or via its armed proxies ( and ).
We should not trust any other countries but our own. We must not await instructions from the on how to pursue our own interests, as it is well-known that US friendship is not proffered without strings. We must proceed with our mission to free of rabble, continue with our efforts to destroy the ‘’ and lend every support to that sector of the Syrian opposition fighting for a democratic, inclusive state - as opposed to terrorist groups that seek to drag back to the Middle Ages.
Lastly, we should insist upon the stringent terms outlined above. And if those terms are not put in writing, the should work to weaken the Iranian regime once and for all, beginning with material support for the oppressed citizens of Iranian-occupied Arabistan - a region now calls Khuzestan, which supplies the country with most of its oil and gas.
I fear that was a well timed bluff and its weapons bounty no more than candies to sweeten the pill. I trust and believe that our leaders understand the score and will maintain independent strategies to counteract threats to our very existence. We cannot gamble with tomorrow on the words of one man, even if that man is the President of the United States.
Our region has been burned many times before. If the past is a good predictor of the future, we should recognise that ultimately we must become the masters of our own destiny, which is far too precious to be handed to the safekeeping of fair-weather friends.