Putin and Obama destabilize Mideast


The S-300 air defense system

News item:

The Russian president has repealed the ban prohibiting the delivery of S-300 missile air defense systems to Iran, according to the Kremlin’s press service. The ban was introduced by former President Dmitry Medvedev in 2010. …

The decree enters into force upon the president’s signature.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov commented on the decision, saying that Moscow’s voluntary embargo on S-300 deliveries was no longer necessary, due to the progress in Iran’s nuclear talks made in Lausanne on April 2.

The S-300 system is considered a game changer. It can track aircraft, cruise or ballistic missiles at a distance of 300 km (185 miles). It can engage up to six targets at the same time. Its mobile launchers can traverse unimproved roads and launch within five minutes of stopping. The capabilities of the S-300 system would make an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities much more difficult — and possibly costly in lives and aircraft.

So it seems that the ‘agreement’ which is not an agreement that the Obama Administration has negotiated with Iran on behalf of the P5+1 will not only fail to significantly impede Iran’s development activity, allow it to ignore the several Security Council resolutions against it for violating the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty that it signed, and provide sanctions relief, but has also served as an excuse for Putin to make a few bucks while destabilizing the region.

You may be asking “but aren’t there sanctions against arms sales to Iran that haven’t been lifted yet?” Unfortunately, back in 2010 when UN sanctions were applied, the Obama administration cut a deal with Russia in order to gain its support. The deal lifts sanctions previously applied to various Russian suppliers of arms and material for nuclear and missile development, and includes a “loophole” that specifically exempts the S-300 purchase from the Iran sanctions. In return Russia promised to voluntarily suspend the delivery of the S-300s, which were originally ordered in 2005.

It is reasonable to assume that if Israel is planning to attack Iranian nuclear facilities, it would prefer to do so before the S-300 systems become operational.

Combined with the probability that the non-agreement agreement will quickly clear the path for Iran to become a nuclear weapons state, this development makes it more likely that Israel will take action sooner rather than later.

Such an attack and Iran’s response will be bad for Iran, bad for Israel and absolutely terrible for southern Lebanon where Hizballah’s missiles are ensconced among civilian dwellings.

It’s almost as if this is the outcome desired by our friends in Washington and Moscow!

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4 Responses to Putin and Obama destabilize Mideast

  1. Robman says:

    Well, your final sentence is perhaps more prescient than you might imagine, particularly concerning Russia.

    Why is Putin doing this now?

    My own theory is that Putin is trying to goad Israel into attacking Iran. As in, ‘Alright already. Enough talk. You make your move already, or we set up our S-300s in Iran and you can all but forget about stopping them’.

    Putin’s Russia is experiencing grave economic problems. They depend heavily on oil sales – and higher oil prices – to keep their economy afloat. The recent plunge in world oil prices has been disastrous for him.

    And what better and faster sure-fire way to jack up the price of oil than for Israel to attack Iran?

    Even Obama won’t be so terribly unhappy about this as one might think.

    I don’t believe Obama ‘wants’ Iran to have nuclear weapons, as an issue taken in isolation. I would say, rather, that Obama’s evolving policies towards Iran are merely the inevitable consequence of his longstanding threat to Israel: ‘Give us what we want on the Palestinians, or we let Iran go nuclear.’ His former Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel, clearly articulated this linkage early on during Obama’s first term. There was a big uproar over this – and rightly so – so Obama & Co. stopped talking openly about this. But the policy never changed.

    We hear a lot nowadays from various pundits and analysts concerning Obama’s apparent “shift” away from traditional Sunni Arab allies towards Iran, as if Obama has “dumped” Saudi Arabia for Iran. This simply is not true; such analysts are ‘overthinking’ this situation. Under Obama, for example, we sold $60 billion in arms to Saudia, the most they U.S. has ever sold to one country in history. Last time I checked, we haven’t sold a dime’s worth of weapons to Iran.

    Per Obama’s calculus, if he stopped Iran from getting nukes – or backed an Israeli effort to do the same – BEFORE a Saudi-style “peace” [surrender] agreement were signed between Israel and the PA, then Israel would be ‘getting over’, getting something for nothing. Obama’s credibility vis-a-vis Russia, China, Syria, etc., mean nothing to him…but his credibility vis-a-vis the Israeli leadership must be maintained at ALL costs! When Obama said a couple of years ago that he ‘wasn’t bluffing’ on Iran, that was directed at Israel, not Iran. What he ‘wasn’t bluffing’ about was that he would indeed permit Iran to go nuclear if Israel didn’t capitulate to the PA.

    But following through on this threat is causing Obama all sorts of political problems. He now has a majority Republican Congress to contend with, and “letting Iran go nuclear” may not be so easy for him as he thought it might have been. And, I don’t think that even he would see this as a “positive” development.

    His real goal, failing to ram his “peace” deal down Israel’s throat, is to destroy the U.S.-Israeli alliance. Now, an experienced and savvy political animal such as Obama cannot fail to see that the Iran issue is raising U.S. public support for Israel, and may prove to be an effective issue the GOP can use against a Democrat successor to Obama. Leading GOP candidates are putting Obama’s lack of support for Israel in the front tier of their criticisms of his presidency.

    If Israel hits Iran in defiance of Obama, this will cause all sorts of negative outcomes in the short term. Chief among these will be a huge spike in the price of oil that will negatively impact the U.S. economy in a big way. This will work as effective camouflage for Obama’s failed economic policies…now he – and his anointed successor – can blame a lousy economy on the eve of the next election on Israel. This will also create trouble for GOP candidates in the eyes of some voters, who will question their support of such a “reckless” ally as Israel.

    While I expect most Americans to understand and accept an Israel action, a large minority will not…and they may turn out to vote for an ‘Obama third term’ candidate who promises to ‘punish’ Israel for hurting America in this way.

    This is why it is soooo vital for Obama to keep these sham “negotiations” with Iran going, by the way. As long as they continue, the political costs for Israel to strike Iran are that much – quite a bit – higher than if the talks fail.

    None of this is to suggest that this writer does not support Israeli action against Iran if this is necessary, which I believe it is. First, while I’m describing political calculations above, I’m not necessarily saying they’ll fall out as Obama may think they will. For example, the people that will be enraged at Israel for touching off another big stock market crash are likely people who hate Israel anyway…polls show that most Americans don’t trust Iran and don’t think these negotations are going to be effective in stopping Iran, so if anything, I’d expect that most Americans will blame Obama for letting things get to the state where Israel strikes and all sorts of chaos results. But there is no doubt that this situation will bring out many, many Joo haters into the public domain in terms of volume and intensity…a result I think Obama does want as this pertains to Israel, just for his own obsessive, visceral reasons. I strongly suspect he’s betting that cornering Israel into striking Iran may give him enough political cover to deep-six the U.S.-Israeli relationship in an unprecedented manner.

    For my part, I expect this gambit to backfire in the end. Wouldn’t be the first time Obama miscalculated and failed.

    Stout Hearts…

  2. Shalom Freedman says:

    This piece seems to suggest that Israel is the center of Obama’s concerns. I see it otherwise. Israel is one piece, one very problematic piece for him in his whole foreign policy structure.
    As I understand it the first element for him was bringing American soldiers home, the end of foreign entanglements insofar as this was possible. His haste in doing this is supposedly partly responsible for the debacle in Iraq. His unwillingness to engage is in some sense responsible for the ongoing slaughter in Syria.
    Obama’s overall posture is toward avoidance of military conflict, certainly that involving American soldiers on the ground. The ISIS war is long- distance and without cost in manpower.
    Because of his point- of- view there is for the U.S. no military option in Iran. This is his mantra, that he is getting a deal because this is the only real option possible. Of course Prime Minister Netanyahu has pointed out repeatedly another option, intensifying sanctions but Obama does not wish to see this.
    As for us in Israel we have defied him repeatedly- rightfully in most cases.
    But U.S. Israel military cooperation is as I understand it still firm. Our prevailing in the Gaza war was in part the result of that Iron- Dome.
    He may be more sympathetic to the Palestinians who he never criticizes but he probably now sees that a ‘two-state solution’ is not something that is going to happen as he likes to put it ‘on his watch’.
    As for Iran he is going the route of appeasement, he is doing the wrong thing, and perhaps even the cowardly thing but it is not primarily because of Israel but because of his own way of looking at the world.
    He is a misfortune for us and let us pray not a disaster but it’s not because we are his first concern.

  3. I don’t think Israel is Obama’s primary concern, but I do think that it must be taken into account in calculating how to avoid war in the Mideast, assuming that he wants to do this.

    By appeasing Iran, he is bringing about an Israeli reaction. Maybe he thinks he can sit on us hard enough so it won’t happen, but I think this is a mistake. He is too ignorant to understand history and too egotistical to grasp how it affects others.

    Putin is just accelerating the process.

  4. Robman says:

    Guys, you are whistling in the dark. I don’t know how you can look at the six plus years of this disastrous and surreal “presidency” and not see that Israel is Obama’s sole serious foreign policy concern, and not in a nice way. The most predictive model for Obama’s behavior in foreign policy goes like this:

    -If it increases coercive pressure on Israel, do it (e.g., overthrow Mubarak and replace with the MB clown, Morsi).

    -If it relieves coercive pressure on Israel, don’t do it (e.g., backing off from enforcing “red line” on chemical weapons with Syria..doing so would have forced Obama to treat Israel as a genuine ally in the context of an active shooting war, something he WILL NOT DO…better Syrian kids should get gassed).

    – If it has nothing to do with Israel one way or the other, ignore it as much as possible (e.g,. Russia’s actions in the Ukraine, China’s belligerent assertiveness vis-a-vis Japan and other neighbors…Obama does not want any distractions from his “screw Israel project”).

    If Obama is so “anti-war”, why did he attack Libya? What possible strategic objective was served by this? He created a MUCH bigger humanitarian/human rights mess by deposing Qaddafi. ANSWER: Qaddafi was no longer an active player in the ongoing regional war against Israel…he had ‘moderated’ and was limiting his participation in the same to lip service…this development served to ‘reduce’ coercive pressure on Israel. Obama wanted a virtually unlimited arms cache that would supply Gaza and other Palestinian terrorist groups; he would use his friend Morsi in Egypt as the conduit for the same.

    Why is Obama SOOOO hostile to Sisi in Egypt? After all, his predecessor, Morsi, was easily committing as many or more human rights violations than Qaddafi in Libya, particularly against Christians. Did Obama support Morsi because he was “democratically elected”??? Everyone knows those elections were a sham. Obama is hostile to Sisi because he really is strangling Hamas in Gaza from his side, this relieves pressure on Israel….AND THIS WILL NOT DO (per Obama). The overthrow of Morsi was one of the biggest foreign policy setbacks for Obama’s agenda of his entire presidency…right up there with Bibi getting re-elected (darn free elections!)


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