Handling Iran and Brexit

Grind for May 23rd, 2019
“My mother’s idea of natural childbirth was giving birth without makeup.”

– Robin Williams

Last Chance

The Headline

UK Prime Minister gives Parliament a fourth and final chance to deliver Brexit

The Grind

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday presented her final withdrawal agreement bill for Brexit, promising MPs they would have the chance to hold a second Brexit referendum if they backed the proposal.

May, who has promised to step down if Parliament approves a Brexit deal, said the ongoing debate over Brexit is interrupting progress in other areas.

Her revised bill appeals to MPs with new guarantees for:

— The Northern Irish border

— Customs arrangements

— Workers’ rights

— Environmental protections

“The majority of MPs say they want to deliver the result of the referendum…and I believe there is now one last chance to do that,” said May, adding that failure to back her new deal risks “no Brexit at all.”

The Grind

Opponents said the bill was worse than the last proposal.

“It’s basically a rehash of what was discussed before and it doesn’t make any fundamental moves on market alignment or the customs union or indeed protection of rights,” complained Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

“There’s also, of course, the question of the deliverability of it. The Prime Minister has already indicated she’s going to leave office.”

Conservative MP Steve Baker said the overall reaction to the proposal was “extremely adverse” and described the bill as a “muddled implementation of a failed deal which only adds yet more uncertainty.”

MPs will vote on the withdrawal agreement in early June. The official exit date was originally set for March 29th.

In April, a petition urging lawmakers to abandon Brexit plans topped six million signatures.

A Fox In The Henhouse

The Headline

Are we underestimating Iran?

The Grind

Days after a ‘mysterious’ attack on four oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, President Trump said he would rather go to war with Iran than stand by as the nation pursues nuclear weapons.
“I will not let Iran have nuclear weapons,” Trump told reporters on Sunday. “I don’t want to fight. But you do have situations like Iran, you can’t let them have nuclear weapons – you just can’t let that happen.”

Earlier this month, the Pentagon pulled all nonessential staff from Iran and dispatched a carrier strike group and bomber task force to the Arabian Sea.

On Sunday night, US military officials confirmed an explosion near the US Embassy in Bagdad. Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia blamed Iran for an attack on an oil pipeline.

The Details

The increased tensions with Iran are a direct result of the Trump Administration’s pressure campaign, which many believe will lead to war.

“If Iran or its proxies respond to US pressure in ways that draw American blood or deal a major blow to critical oil infrastructure in the region, things could quickly get out of hand,” warns Colin Kahl, former National Security Adviser under Vice President Joe Biden.

“Unlike in the latter years of the Obama Administration, there are currently no high-level lines of communication between Washington and Tehran to manage a crisis. And hard-liners on all sides seem keen for a fight, looking for opportunities to escalate, rather than de-escalate, tensions.”

The pressure campaign on Iran began with Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Obama-era nuclear deal and re-impose sanctions.

In April, the White House said it would no longer exempt any countries from US sanctions blocking the purchase of Iranian oil. Large importers China and Turkey said they would not comply with US sanctions.

Last month, Trump announced additional sanctions targeting Iranian metals.

The Bottom Line

The ultimate goal of the sanctions is to force Iran to stop funding terror and stop pursuing nuclear weapons. Iran says it never pursued nuclear weapons but will begin enriching uranium at higher levels if another nuclear deal is not reached by mid-June.

Some experts believe Iran already has nukes and may have had them before the signing of the JCPOA. As stated in a 2016 assessment on nuclear missile threats:

“Iran sacrificed its overt civilian nuclear program to deceive the Obama Administration, to lift international sanctions, to prevent Western military action while a clandestine military nuclear program no doubt continues underground…We assess, from UN International Atomic Energy Agency reports and other sources, that Iran probably already has nuclear weapons.”

The assessment was written by a team of Reagan and Clinton Administration officials, including former CIA Director R. James Woolsey Jr. and former NASA head William R. Graham.

“At the time of its choosing, Iran could launch a surprise EMP attack against the United States by satellite, as they have apparently practiced with help from North Korea.”

An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack is a burst of radiation created by a nuclear explosion. An EMP attack could be launched with a single nuclear weapon and delivered by freighter, balloon, or satellite. If detonated at low altitude, the attack could cause widespread blackouts and explosions threatening millions of American lives.

Last year, the Air Force published a report urging the White House to take immediate action against the existential threat posed by a nuclear EMP attack from Iran or North Korea. The White House did not respond.

Did you know… The cicada, a fly found in Africa, spends 17 years of its life sleeping; and only two weeks is awake during which mates and then dies.