The summit must have been a success: the White House spokesperson declared them substantive. “Extensive” and “candid”, said US Officials. No “overnight breakthroughs”, of course, but things are moving “forward”. It seems that all of the participants of the latest P5+1 Meeting in Geneva, October 15-16, are upbeat at its conclusion and everyone has promised to participate in another round of talks in November.
For those who believed from the start that Barack Obama is the one we have been waiting for, a harbinger of world peace, the P5 +1 (US, UK, France, China and Russia) pow-wow with the Islamic Republic came not a moment too soon. The year 2013 has so far been ruinous for Obama’s reputation as the Negotiator-in-Chief. Things began to go awry in June when his pointsman in the Middle East, Turkey’s Islamist PM Erdigan, initiated a bloody crackdown on peaceful demonstrators. [See Quadrant Online, Turkey’s Last Stand] Last week Erdigan took new steps in his quest to destroy the legacy of Atatürk’s secular state.
And then there’s Egypt. The Obama administration was always “cautiously optimistic” things would work out with Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood government. The President of the United States believed that so-called mild Islamism and genuine democracy were, to use the local Egyptian parlance, “one hand”. Not so. On June 30 it was the Egyptian Armed Forces and the liberty-loving Egyptian people who turned out to be “one hand”.
Whilst Egypt’s one-year-old experimentation with modern-day totalitarianism was brought to an end – courtesy of General Fatah el-Sisi – all manner of anti-Obama posters and slogans appeared on the streets of Cairo: “Wake up, America: Obama backs a Fascist regime in Egypt!” [See Quadrant Online, Baulk like an Egyptian]. The White House later added insult to injury by curtailing financial assistance to the Egyptian Armed Forces. The Egyptian Foreign Minister, Nabil Fahmy, has depicted relations between his post-Muslim Brotherhood government and the United States as “in turmoil”. Translation: Egyptians can no longer count on the Land of the Free for help. The same goes for the people of Tunisia, who also are heroically pushing back against theocratic fascism in their country while the Obama administration remains enigmatically taciturn.
These days the only country in the Middle East prepared to tolerate Barack Obama’s patronising poppycock is the State of Israel. As the death rate in the Syria Civil War raced towards the 100,000 mark, Israelis listened politely as the US Foreign Secretary John Kerry lectured the only successful democracy in the Middle East on the need for them to make serious sacrifices for peace. [See Quadrant Online, A Loud and Empty Suit in the Chicago Style]. Meanwhile, back in reality, few seriously believe the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, is in any position to make a deal with Israel, lacking as he does a democratic mandate from the Palestinian population.
In September, Barack Obama threatened to hold the Syrian government accountable for waging death and destruction with chemical weapons on civilians. For one brief, shining moment it looked as if the US President might take action on behalf of the long-suffering people of the Middle East – but no. Russia’s Vladimir Putin, who hitherto expressed nothing but contempt for his inept geopolitical adversary, persuaded the Negotiator-in-Chief to strike a deal with the homicidal Syrian regime. Bashar al-Assad, propped up by Russia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, would remain in power but allow the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to dismantle his chemical weapons arsenal. A good deal all around, unless you happen to be a traumatised Syrian, of course. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons now complains – Surprise! Surprise! – it has been given access to only five of the twenty Syrian facilities capable of producing chemical weapons.
The Nobel Peace Prize Panel, anxious to prop up the diminishing reputation of its 2009 laureate, put the best spin on this unfortunate turn of events by bestowing the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize on the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Bashar al-Assad might be a war criminal but he has an excellent, albeit darkly sinister, sense of humour. Last week the Syrian despot wondered out loud if he should not be the recipient of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Bashar al-Assad’s quip loses its hilarity once you view online the heartbreaking photographs of Syrian civilians, many children, gassed to death by the Dictator of Damascus. Why “negotiate” with such a monster? And why does Barack Obama put his faith in the likes of Bashar al-Assad or Mohamed Morsi or Recep Tayyip Erdogan?
Back in 2008, during the presidential campaign, Candidate Obama gave – or, more accurately, read – an address that promised to “unclench the fists” of the Iranian mullahs by offering to start a dialogue “without pre-conditions”. It was a speech that sealed the deal for a lot of voters in America and progressive-leaning people throughout the West. Obama might well have won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on the strength of that address alone, but the Islamist kleptocracy in Tehran never bought into the Obama Myth, and for the past five-and-a-half years carried on with pretty much with business as usual – that is, persecuting Christians and members of the B’thai faith, imprisoning Ayatollah Hosseini Kazemeyni Boroujerdi for his opposition to the regime’s Islamo-fascist doctrine, financing Hezbollah and Hamas, propping up Bashar al-Assad, executing Iranian citizens at rates second only to the People’s Republic of China, subverting democracy in Iraq, rigging presidential elections, murdering peaceful protestors, celebrating Holocaust Denial, threatening to wipe “the Zionist Entity” off the map and – yes, that’s right – deceiving the United Nations about its development of a nuclear weapons capability.
Ayatollah Boroujerdi, according to an account written by Kenneth R. Timmerman in The Washington Times, smuggled a letter out of Tehran’s Evin Prison in the lead up to the P 5 +1 Geneva Meeting imploring the international community not to be taken in by the “smiling” Hassan Rouhani, who is merely a “front man” for “brutal totalitarians”. Implicit in Boroujerdi’s missive is that the (unelected) Supreme Leader is desperate to see the hard-hitting political and economic sanctions currently deployed against the Islamic Republic lifted, but has no intention of scrapping any nuclear missile programme. Ayatollah Boroujerdi’s warning is given weight by the fact that the “moderate” Rouhani has been a key member of the revolutionary Islamist regime since its inception 34 years ago; moreover, Rouhani was Tehran’s principle negotiator on the nuclear issue when the Islamic Republic blatantly lied to the international community during the years 2003-05.
President Obama, for his faults, has always acknowledged that the Islamic Republic of Iran must never be permitted to gain nuclear weapon capability. The US administration must not merely bring the Islamic Republic’s on-going nuclear weapons programme to a halt but to an absolute and irreversible end. Anything less than that will invite any number of deeply problematic consequences, including the establishment of parallel nuclear weapons programmes in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Failure on the part of Barack Obama at this point would also invite a war between Israel and Iran. The apocalypse awaits.
Obama’s foreign policy track record seems to indicate he is not up to the task of saving the world from calamity. Why is he even talking about lifting sanctions on Iran, when sanctions are the only thing that has brought the millennialist foes of the Great Satan to Geneva? Right now the President of the United States needs to apply more pressure on Iran and not less. Might his intemperate – and humiliating – embrace of the Arab Spring have taught him something about how the real world works? Can he get it in his head that giving ground to fanatics only encourages them? We can but hope.
Daryl McCann, a frequent Quadrant and Quadrant Online contributor, also blogs