Qatar, North Korea, and the Dangers of American Gullibility

March 12 2018

Americans leaders and statesmen, argues Yigal Carmon, have long suffered from a “syndrome” that presumes the trustworthiness of their foreign counterparts even in the absence of evidence. Reviewing numerous instances of such naïveté—from Franklin D. Roosevelt to the present—Carmon focuses on current dealings with North Korea and Qatar: two countries that have proved themselves to be anything but trustworthy:

This syndrome, which stubbornly denies reality, compounds other cultural differences between democracies and dictatorships and renders the West almost unable to contend with evil. Only a few days ago, when the North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un invited the United States to “a heartfelt dialogue,” the Western media swallowed it whole and celebrated it with great fanfare. . . . When the American syndrome meets Arab, Muslim, and other authoritarian regimes, the American side stands no chance, despite the disparity of power. . . .

Qatar is an unelected, family-run authoritarian regime that stamps out domestic freedom of expression. For years, it has been the unapologetic breeding ground of anti-American, anti-Semitic, and anti-Israel incitement, as well as a major promoter of Islamic extremism and terrorism. . . . [I]t has promoted al-Qaeda and its various offshoots, as well as the Muslim Brotherhood and its branches, especially Hamas. For decades, it has sheltered the notorious spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Yousuf al-Qaradawi, who advocates a second Holocaust “at the hands of the believers, God willing.” . . .

Qatar is allied militarily with Turkey’s extreme Islamist president Recep Tayyip Erdogan [and] has also come out of the closet as a staunch ally of Iran. . . . Like other authoritarian regimes, it has weaponized its totally state-controlled media, [Al Jazeera], to fight its enemies and to support its allies. Qatar rebuilt southern Lebanon on Hizballah’s behalf after the 2006 war, and did the same for Hamas in Gaza after its wars with Israel. . . . [Furthermore], virulent incitement against America and its allies continues to dominate Al Jazeera’s broadcasts to the entire Arabic-speaking world. . . .

[Most recently, taking its inspiration from the claims about hidden Jewish influence found in] the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, [Qatar] extended invitations to the leader of the Zionist Organization of America, Orthodox rabbis, and the vice-president of the Conference of Presidents of American Jewish Organizations to come visit. However, . . . it prepared a standby: a documentary by Al Jazeera TV targeting Jewish organizations in America that can be broadcast if and when necessary. As an Arabic saying regarding Americans goes: screw them, collaborate with them, and double-cross them all at once.

Read more at JNS

More about: American Jewry, Muslim Brotherhood, North Korea, Politics & Current Affairs, Qatar, U.S. Foreign policy


The Danger of Hollow Fixes to the Iran Deal

March 20 2018

In January, the Trump administration announced a 120-day deadline for the so-called “E3”—Britain, France, and Germany—to agree to solutions for certain specific flaws in the 2015 agreement to limit the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. Omri Ceren explains why it’s necessary to get these fixes right:

[Already in October], the administration made clear that it considered the deal fatally flawed for at least three reasons: a weak inspections regime in which the UN’s nuclear watchdog can’t access Iranian military facilities, an unacceptable arrangement whereby the U.S. had to give up its most powerful sanctions against ballistic missiles even as Iran was allowed to develop ballistic missiles, and the fact that the deal’s eventual expiration dates mean Iran will legally be allowed to get within a hair’s breadth of a nuclear weapon. . . .

A team of American negotiators has been working on getting the E3 to agree to a range of fixes, and is testing whether there is overlap between the maximum that the Europeans can give and the minimum that President Trump will accept. The Europeans in turn are testing the Iranians to gauge their reactions and will likely not accept any fixes that would cause Iran to bolt.

The negotiations are problematic. The New York Times reported that, as far as the Europeans are concerned, the exercise requires convincing Trump they’ve “changed the deal without actually changing it.” Public reports about the inspection fix suggest that the Europeans are loath to go beyond urging the International Atomic Energy Commission to request inspections, which the agency may be too intimidated to do. The ballistic-missile fix is shaping up to be a political disaster, with the Europeans refusing to incorporate anything but long-range missiles in the deal. That would leave us with inadequate tools to counter Iran’s development of ballistic missiles that could be used to wipe Israel, the Saudis, and U.S. regional bases off the map. . . .

There is a [significant] risk the Trump administration may be pushed to accept the hollow fixes acceptable to the Europeans. Fixing the deal in this way would be the worst of all worlds. It would functionally enshrine the deal under a Republican administration. Iran would be open for business, and this time there would be certainty that a future president will not act to reverse the inevitable gold rush. Just as no deal would have been better than a bad deal, so no fix would be better than a bad fix.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Donald Trump, Europe, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy