Former State Department, CIA and NSC official Flynt Leverett discusses US policy on Syria and Iran; why most Syrians don’t support the radical Islamic rebellion; how US interference prevents a power sharing agreement and an end to violence; the Obama administration’s ideological blinders; delusions of post-Cold War American hegemony in the Middle East; why secular liberal governments rarely come to power after regime changes; and Bibi Netanyahu’s game of brinksmanship on war with Iran.
Flynt Leverett, former Senior Director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council, discusses the latest negotiations on Iran’s nuclear enrichment program at the just-concluded P5+1 Baghdad summit; why the US will never agree to lift sanctions on Iran, no matter the concessions; how the US negotiating position makes Obama look like an idiot; Richard Nixon’s observation that the same political price is paid for going half way as all the way – so you might as well go to China; why the Obama administration still won’t (consistently) acknowledge Iran’s rational leadership and sovereign (and NPT) right to enrich uranium; and how bad-faith negotiating by the US ruined the “reciprocity framework” established in the previous Istanbul talks.
Flynt Leverett, former Senior Director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council, discusses his article “Hype or Reality: Will Israel Attack Iran Before the U.S. Presidential Election;” Israel’s inability to cripple Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities without putting boots on the ground; why the US may not join the fight if Iran’s response is limited and doesn’t result in American casualties; how Obama’s “feckless” style of leadership is failing to dissuade Bibi Netanyahu from attacking Iran; indications that Mossad accepts the 2007 Iran NIE’s conclusions, and isn’t eager to start a war; Israel’s policy choices in response to the Arab Spring; and the lost opportunity in 2003 to engage Iran in talks, which could have converted Hamas and Hezbollah into demilitarized political organizations.
Flynt Leverett, former Senior Director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council, discusses Iran’s threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, as a response to sanctions that may eventually cut off Iran’s oil exports; why the US and Israel don’t really have a problem with Iranian nuclear weapons, just Iran’s refusal to submit to US regional hegemony; Israel’s “red line” on Iran’s uranium enrichment at Qom; why US foreign policy planners don’t learn from prior mistakes (because superpowers don’t have to); and why waging war with borrowed money is a sure sign of a declining empire.
Flynt Leverett, former Senior Director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council, discusses how the most crucial part of the IAEA report on Iran – that declared nuclear material isn’t being diverted to weapons manufacturing – has been buried under a heap of unsubstantiated rumors and accusations; the evidence that new IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano is much more cozy with the US than his predecessor Mohamed ElBaradei; why those who defend Iran’s rights under the NPT aren’t necessarily minions of the Ayatollah; the equally-wacky end-times theology of the major Abrahamic religions; and why Israel’s real “existential threat” is from losing the support of Jews worldwide, not from an incredibly improbable Iran attack.
Flynt Leverett, former Senior Director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council, discusses why the IAEA’s job in Iran is verifying the non-diversion of nuclear materials for making weapons, not publicizing the assertions of foreign intelligence agencies; how “journalist” David Sanger of the NY Times continues his personal crusade against Iran, truth be damned; why Iran’s alleged theoretical study of nuclear weapons, including the testing of high explosives, still does not violate the NPT; the dubious legality of UN Security Council resolutions prohibiting Iran from enjoying its rights to nuclear energy as an NPT signatory; and why an Israeli airstrike on Iran’s nuclear facilities would only work if they used nuclear weapons – or dragged the US into the war.
Flynt Leverett, former Senior Director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council, discusses the Iran uranium swap negotiations in 2009-10; a reminder that the Tehran Research Reactor was supplied by the US in the 1960s, and reconfigured after the 1979 revolution to use far-less enriched uranium (reducing weapons proliferation risks); how the initial swap offer by the US asked Iran to hand over its low-enriched uranium, with no collateral, and trust France to provide fuel rods a year later; the eminently reasonable Iranian counter-proposals that were ridiculed and dismissed by US officials; and how Obama reneged on his promise to Turkish and Brazilian negotiators when Iran accepted a deal he was sure would be rejected.
Flynt Leverett, former Senior Director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council, discusses his article “Iranian ‘plots’ and American hubris;” why the strange assassination plot is at cross-purposes with Iran’s policy objectives (but syncs perfectly with Israel’s); Iran’s reliance on foreign proxy groups and asymmetric warfare for national defense, in lieu of a powerful conventional military; US policy towards Iran that says, in essence, a meaningful defensive deterrence is really a provocative threat; how Obama’s bad-faith negotiations killed a viable uranium swap deal with Iran, Brazil and Turkey; blaming Iran for attacks on US troops in Iraq; and how the US starts wars by practicing false diplomacy, rebuffing peaceful resolutions then sending in the military while claiming the other side was intransigent.
Flynt Leverett, former Senior Director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council, discusses how Israel is getting all its ducks in a row for a 2011-2012 attack on Iran, the lack of evidence that Iran ever had a nuclear weapons program (even prior to 2003), the unsettling prospect that the US will go to war with Iran over uranium enrichment and why the delayed release of the new Iran NIE means there is some disagreement among the intelligence agencies.
Gareth Porter, independent historian and journalist for Inter Press Service and Flynt Leverett, former Senior Director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council, discuss how easy it is to co-opt mainstream media and spread disinformation to start a war, controlling the narrative to influence who ultimately gets blamed if/when Iranâ€™s tri-party uranium swap deal fails, unresolved internal division in the Obama administration over whether Iran is allowed to enrich uranium at all, dispelling the Qom facility â€œgotchaâ€ myth and clarifying Iranâ€™s actual obligations under the NPT, why the potential for war with Iran will continue to grow until a settlement on its nuclear program is reached and how the insular work environment of US intelligence analysts contributes to their poor understanding of Iranian society.