The US Middle-east policy is presently in turmoil and only time will tell if it can be put back together. This article will try to explain the aspects of a policy gone amuck.
- The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) announced that Iran would have the ability to create weapons grade uranium by mid-2014, though its ability to produce a working nuclear weapon could come much sooner.
- Iran announced that it plans to build new reactors along its coastlines with the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea, Iran’s top nuclear official announced on Thursday. The Russians will aid in the construction. The announcement comes just a week after Western nuclear negotiators claimed that Iran was giving ground in talks aimed at ending Tehran’s contested enrichment program. How valid is the claim given Iranian announcements that their negotiators do not have the authority to make any concessions.
- David Albright, president of the IISS and a former inspector for the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency, said the estimate of a year means that Iran would have to eliminate more than half of its 19,000 centrifuges to extend the time it would take to build a bomb to even six months.
- Israeli and Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf monarchies have expressed grave concern over U.S. suggestions that Iran could be allowed to retain a limited capability to enrich uranium as part of a comprehensive agreement ending the decade-old nuclear dispute.
- Israel pressed the administration for drastic cuts to Iran’s atomic infrastructure that Tehran has insisted it will never accept. The differences came into stark relief as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to lecture Secretary of State John F. Kerry at a joint news conference, warning against a “bad deal” that would allow Iran to retain any capability to make enriched uranium.
- “We are adamant that words are no substitute for actions,” Kerry said. “We will need to know that actions are being taken which make it crystal clear — undeniably clear, fail-safe to the world — that whatever program is pursued is indeed a peaceful program.”
- Syria’s rebel factions have splintered and are fighting among themselves but agree one thing—they will not be part of the upcoming “peace negotiations.” At the same time Syria’s President Assad said that he may run for reelection in 2014. And finally,
- Saudi Arabia's intelligence chief has said the kingdom will make a "major shift" in relations with the United States in protest at its perceived inaction over the Syria war and its overtures to Iran. Prince Bandar bin Sultan told European diplomats that Washington had failed to act effectively on the Syria crisis and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was growing closer to Tehran, and had failed to back Saudi support for Bahrain when it crushed an anti-government revolt in 2011.
- The Saudis see the US as an unreliable ally.
- The planned change in ties between the energy superpower and its traditional ally would reportedly have wide-ranging consequences, including on arms purchases and oil sales.
- Conversely, the administration just announced support for $10 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
All of this is occurring against the backdrop of a military that is being ruined by sequestration, as we have reported. The NSA scandal is also rocking our allies and emboldening our enemies. Once must ask: “If we are listening to so many world leaders and have near perfect intelligence how can we have a policy that is in such turmoil?” “Or asked differently how can a once super power be declining so fast?”
We will be watching for changes in the near term and hope to see more than the spin being applied to Obamacare.