Blogs > Cliopatria > TIME TO PRESSURE IRAN'S ENABLER, DUBAI/update

Oct 2, 2009 1:28 pm


The USG acts like a madman when it comes to Iran. That is the essence of Michael Ledeen's WSJ article entitled We've Been Talking to Iran for 30 Years which demonstrates how each US administration tried to negotiate with Iran and each failed. Of course, the definition madness is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.

Michael wants the US to help the opposition forces. Robert Kagan agrees: Forget the Nukes The Most Fruitful Target Is Iran's Weakening Regime. Fat chance. If Bush failed to do it, Obama is certainly unlikely to. Pity - just watch how fearlessly the Iranian students behave. Apparently, the police/guards do not dare enter the campus.

Focusing on nukes unquestionably plays into Ahmadinejad's hands. But that does not mean that we can set them aside. As Matt Kuentzel correctly argues Iran is not entitled to nukes and just as importantly, NPT does not provide the mechanism to stop it from developing nukes:

It is often assumed that the NPT actually blocks access to the bomb. In reality, the opportunities afforded to aspiring nuclear-weapons makers are enormous. Article IV of the treaty enables signatories to produce all components necessary for a bomb under U.N supervision, as long as they do not combine these components into nuclear explosives. The significance of this loophole was explained in April 2007 by Hossein Shariatmadari, a confidante of Iran's"Supreme Leader" Ali Khamenei:"A country that has attained the knowledge and technology of uranium enrichment is only one step away from producing nuclear weapons. This [additional] step is not a scientific or a technical step, but a matter of political decision."

Article X of the NPT further expands this loophole. A signatory state that, following President Obama's wishes," complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty" could accumulate the most important components of a nuclear weapon under cover of the NPT, and then legally withdraw from the treaty by simply citing"extraordinary events."

That's why President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, ignoring the faded Iranian signature on the NPT, denied the mullahs the right to any form of nuclear energy. On October 21, 2003, however, came a"very important turning point," as Hossein Mousavian, a high-ranking Iranian nuclear negotiator, described it. That was the day the foreign ministers of Great Britain, France and Germany—Jack Straw, Dominique de Villepin and Joschka Fischer—traveled to Tehran, despite major reservations on the part of the Bush Administration, to"recognize the right of Iran to enjoy peaceful use of nuclear energy in accordance with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty," as the text of a declaration agreed by Iran and the three foreign ministers states.

Again. Fat chance. Moreover, for such sanctions to work not only must Russia and China go along with them BUT our Middle Eastern"allies," the Gulf states and most especially Dubai (of our ports fame) must stop providing them with the means to circumvent the sanctions that have been imposed. Afshin Molavi, a fellow at the New American Foundation, went so far as to describe"Dubai as Iran's"lungs;" without Dubai, Iran cannot breathe."

It even breathes materials needed for nuclear development through the UAR.

AFP reports that Iran was caught trying to get nuclear materials via Canada and Dubai:

Microchips identified as possible"navigational chips" from the United States, Denmark and Japan were marked as headed for the United Arab Emirates, but officials suspect the end destination was Iran, said the Canadian daily.

"With all of the UN sanctions, of course, now no one declares that the goods are going to Iran. They actually declare UAE, Dubai," he said.

The last seizure occurred just last week. . . .

Webb also revealed authorities had recently discovered a new port in the Persian Gulf named Ras al-Khaimah being used to transship goods to Iran.

The port is nominally in the UAE, but is controlled by Iran and is situated just across the Gulf from Bandar Abbas, an Iranian city with a naval base and an airport capable of landing large transport planes, he said.

While making money hand over feast, Dubai is hoping like much of the world that Israel will take the risk and the blame from saving it from Iran. Its' experts even have the chutzpah to say it publicly:

Writing in the pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi, for instance, the editor, Abdel-Beri Atwan, said that with recent developments “the Arab regimes, and the gulf ones in particular, will find themselves part of a new alliance against Iran alongside Israel.”

The head of a prominent research center in Dubai said that it might even be better if the West — or Israel — staged a military strike on Iran, rather than letting it emerge as a nuclear power. That kind of talk from Arabs was nearly unheard of before the revelation of the second enrichment plant, and while still rare, it reflects growing alarm.

“Israel can start the attack but they can’t sustain it; the United States can start it and sustain it,” said Abdulaziz Sager, a Saudi businessman and former diplomat who is chairman of the Gulf Research Center in the United Arab Emirates. “The region can live with a limited retaliation from Iran better than living with a permanent nuclear deterrent. I favor getting the job done now instead of living the rest of my life with a nuclear hegemony in the region that Iran would like to impose.”

Surprise, surprise, the Arabs can live with a retaliation directed primarily at Israel and the US. Who would have thunk?!

In short, time to stop wringing our hands in frustration and start reading the riot act to our Arab"allies" on whose behalf Americans did what they have never done for Israel, shed their blood in two Iraq wars. The Obama administration can do it in as"respectful" a manner as it wishes but it must pressure Dubai and the rest of the Gulf states to stop enabling the Iranian regime circumvent the sanctions already on the book not to mention those that may come. Absent their cooperation, sooner or later the region is doomed to a most destructive war.

WSJ reports that US will focus on existing sanctions:

At Dubai's bustling downtown wharf, Iranian sailors load goods bound for a handful of Iranian ports. During one recent visit, dozens of new Whirlpool Corp. refrigerators stood in neat rows in front of one dhow, chartered for the Iranian port of Bushehr. The captain declined to say who was shipping the cargo to Iran.

Products made by Whirlpool, of Benton Harbor, Mich., are readily available throughout Dubai, one of seven emirates that make up the U.A.E. A Whirlpool spokeswoman declined to comment except to say the company will abide by all sanctions.

The U.A.E. has vowed to enforce U.N. sanctions. But there are no laws here against shipping everyday, American-brand goods across the Persian Gulf to Iran.

How difficult is it to pass appropriate laws in an autocracy like the U.A.E?

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