CHARLOTTE, NC, April 24, 2017 – They say you cannot “tell the players without the scorecard.” That is frequently the case with global politics because the powers that be often do not want us to know who the key players are in order to hide the truth.
Everyone, including members of the Obama administration, knew the Iran nuclear arms deal was a travesty of negotiation covered over by syrupy rhetoric, misstatements, and distortions. None of that mattered so long as Obama got what he wanted out of the deal, which was not necessarily in the best interests of the United States and the West.
Now the garbage is beginning to surface and the deal may be worse than anyone thought, especially when it comes to the hostage swap which many analysts at the time claimed was a ransom.
Obama termed the release of Iranian-born prisoners in exchange for five Americans as a “one-time gesture.” And all American’s are glad that our native sons are home. However, the president gave away a lot, dealing with Iran from a position of weakness before going on to say the Iranians “were not charged with terrorism or any violent offenses” when they were traded on Jan. 17, 2016. Obama even went so far as to portray them as “civilians.”
Forget the fact that Obama’s own Justice Department believed some of the prisoners were threats to our national security. Therefore, administration officials were less than honest when providing their “Dancing with the Stars” details of the swap.
In the process, some observers believe that Obama’s plan has done little or nothing to prevent Iran from defying international law in the development of its nuclear weapons program. Valerie Lincy, executive director of the nonpartisan Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, says the release of so many men with so many offenses “without strategic insight, leaves our analysts, (and) more importantly, our policy-makers just guessing at what Iran is up to and how to stop it.”
In a story for “Politico,” Sean McCabe says, “The biggest fish (among those released) was Seyed Abolfazl Shahab Jamili, who had been charged with being part of a conspiracy that from 2005 to 2012 procured thousands of parts with nuclear applications for Iran via China. That included hundreds of U.S.-made sensors for the uranium enrichment centrifuges in Iran whose progress had prompted the nuclear deal talks in the first place.”
Not only were federal prosecutors, some who had spent years attempting to penetrate global networks that aided Iran’s nuclear programs, they were both stunned and furious at the magnitude of the importance of the men who were released. Rather than being a few “bit players” in an off-off-off Broadway production, most of them had star billing at one time or another on the world stage of terrorism.
As Donald Trump’s 100th day in office approaches on Saturday, the new president has had his trial by fire in learning how difficult it is to change things in Washington. Still, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced last Wednesday a review of current U.S. policy with Iran and much of the unannounced and under-announced aspects of the Obama/Kerry agreement may soon come to light.
For all the animus that has been an expected part of the Trump administration in its first three months, the first 100 days of Barack Obama’s non-presidency may also be on display if a crack down on Tehran and its missile programs prove to be less than Obama’s glowing report claims to be.
Said the always suspicious Trump, regardless of whether Iran is meeting the provisions of the deal with Obama, “they are not living up to the spirit of it. And we’re analyzing it very, very carefully, and we’ll have something to say about that in the not-too-distant future.”
Trump has a double task ahead of him. As he plows through the learning curve that is Washington politics, he must also untangle eight years of deceit and sabotage by his predecessor who mainly had his own personal interests at heart.
As such, Trump is forced to work two or three times as hard to straighten out the mess while keeping a hostile media and half of the American people at bay.
Whether or not Trump has the energy to succeed remains to be seen, but it will certainly take longer than he expected.
On the other hand, bit by bit, as more of the previous regime’s efforts to stabilize his own legacy by minimizing that of his follower come to light, perhaps Obama’s house of cards will cave in on him after all.
Iran is as good a place as any to begin.
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
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