MY TAKE ON TRUMP'S
WITHDRAWAL FROM THE NUCLEAR DEAL
This is now a fact: Trump withdrew from the Iran Nuclear
Agreement. The question is why. The reasons he gave in his speech don't make
any sense. They all have to do with Iranian's behavior in the region, which is
irrelevant to the nuclear agreement. Even when he gave reasons relevant to the
agreement like "the deal allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium"
or "the deal's inspection provisions lack adequate mechanism" they
were at best misleading or at worse totally false.
The real question is two-fold.
1. WHO pushed Trump to withdraw from the deal?
Remember Netanyahu's presentation on April 30 in which he
recycled old information! As Robert Malley (President and CEO
at the International Crisis Group in Washington,
DC) said: “There is nothing new
in Bibi's presentation." In my opinion, Netanyahu's aim was to push
Trump to leave the nuclear agreement with Iran.
2. WHY does Netanhahu want Trump to pull out of the
To answer this question, we have to go back to Iraq's
war. This is what I wrote about Iraq
back in 1995 when I was a UN resident translator/interpreter in Baghdad with UNSCOM (United
Nations Special Commission).
Unlike all the countries of the
Arab World, Iraq
enjoys a unique situation: it has the three main ingredients that can transform
any country into a paradise. It has water, money, and manpower, and plenty of
all three. That makes Iraq's
potential unmatched in the Arab World. If we take Egypt, for instance, it has
manpower; it has water, with a caveat, however, since the water is unevenly
distributed; but it does not have money. If we look at Saudi Arabia, it (still) has money
and practically nothing else.
Having all three elements is
necessary for "making it": (1) the water from the two great rivers,
the Tigris and Euphrates, in addition to hundreds of canals dug between the two
rivers and beyond, as well other smaller rivers; (2) the manpower since it has
a population of 20 million with high level of education; and finally (3) the
money in the billions from its oil resources. Having all this, Iraq
can be a regional power, and more importantly, it can have an independent
political will and an independent foreign policy.
I might add that because of that, Iraq
was able to develop a military infrastructure that was considered a threat,
mainly to Israel.
Neo-conservatives in the W Bush administration like Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy
Defense Secretary, Richard Perle, Assistant Secretary of Defense and
lobbyist, James Woolsey, former director of the CIA, and Scooter
Libby, Chief–of–Staff to Dick Cheney were all committed
Their main concern was to eliminate this threat. They invented the threat of
Weapons of Mass Destruction or WMD to justify an attack on Iraq. Now we know that WMD threat was
bogus but W bought into it and in 2003 did the dirty work for Israel by attacking Iraq.
Today, the history is repeating itself with Iran.
The pro-Israel crowd that didn't like the Iran Nuclear Agreement strongly
criticized it and Netanyahu with the mic. in his hand
like the baton of a conductor orchestrated the whole thing. Dumb Trump, like W
before him, bought his phony arguments. Netanyahu's aim, like the neo-conservatives
before him, is to have the U.S.
do the dirty work for him and attack Iran.
The problem is that Iran
today is not like Iraq
in 2003. It is much bigger (80 million people), much stronger (it has developed
weapons that Iraq
did not have then) and it is not a flat desert but has a difficult terrain. The
attack on Iraq will look like
a picnic compared to an attack on Iran.
I would like to add that I am not the only one who reached
this conclusion. Lawrence Wilkerson, a retired army colonel, wrote back in
February 5 a column in the New York
Times entitled: "I Helped Sell the False Choice of War Once. It’s
Happening Again." The colonel did not make the connection with Israel, for
Netanyahu's presentation came late, in April. While it is worth reading the
whole article, let me just quote the most relevant part to our discussion https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/05/opinion/trump-iran-war.html:
"As I look back at our lock-step march toward war with
Iraq, I realize that it didn’t seem to matter to us that we used shoddy or
cherry-picked intelligence; that it was unrealistic to argue that the war would
'pay for itself,' rather than cost trillions of dollars; that we might be
hopelessly naďve in thinking that the war would lead to democracy instead of
pushing the region into a downward spiral.
"The sole purpose of our actions was to sell the
American people on the case for war with Iraq. Polls show that we did. Mr.
Trump and his team are trying to do it again. If we’re not careful, they’ll
On May 8, Colonel Wilkerson was the guest on Chris Hayes All
In show and this time he made the connection with Israel. This is what he said:
"We're marching down the same route we took in 2002 and
2003 with regard to Iraq,
but this time it's Iran.
I say it because I think that's what Mr. Netanyahu and his defense minister
Avigdor Lieberman want.
"And I can understand the strategic concern on the part
but they don't want to do it themselves. They know
they would get mired like they did in '82 when they invaded Lebanon. They want us to bail them
out. And they see us as the only power that has the ability to affect a quick regime
change in Iran,
whether it's through bombing or invasion or the two together. And that's what they want."
It is my hope that the adult around the impulsive Trump will
dissuade him from recklessly making the same mistake W Bush made some fifteen