by Stephen Lendman
Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett asked whether "Obama is trying to resolve or prolong the conflict with Syria?"
Given US preconditions, resolution is impossible. On January 22, talks are scheduled to begin. They'll do so in Montreux, Switzerland. They'll shift to Geneva.
It's unclear who's coming. Internal divisions leave Syrian National Coalition members undecided. They're supposed to say shortly if they'll come. Maybe some will. Maybe others won't.
Syria's National Coordination Body won't attend. Assad won't negotiate with Al Nusra, Al Qaeda or other terrorists. Nor should he. Nor should anyone. They want no part of peace talks anyway.
Iran wasn't invited. Kerry called its participation conditional. Tehran accepts no preconditions. Nor should any participant.
Kerry wants Washington rules enforced. What America says goes. Participants must approve regime change.
Assad must go, says Kerry. Syrians have no right to decide..
The Leveretts asked:
"Is it not reasonable to conclude that the great power in question is (how to put this gently) lying about its purported support for peace?"
"That, in a nutshell, is the Obama administration's posture toward the ongoing conflict in Syria."
Kerry is Obama's front man. He deplores peace. He demands unconditional surrender.
He lied claiming Geneva I excludes Assad's future political role. On January 16, he said Geneva II aims to establish "a process essential to the formation of a transition government body..."
It's "the only way to bring about an end to the civil war..." It bears repeating what numerous previous articles explained.
Syria is Obama's war. There's nothing "civil" about it. CIA and US Special Forces are involved. So are US-backed terrorists. They've been recruited from dozens of countries.
They enter Syria across porous borders. Washington supplies funding, weapons, training and direction.
It's doing so now. It'll do so throughout peace talks. Washington wants war, not peace. It'll continue as long as Assad remains president.
Obama bears full responsibility for what's happening. Kerry shares blame. He calls Assad "unacceptable" to govern.
He "cannot be a part of (Syria's) future. The United Nations, the United States, Russia, and all the (participating) countries know what this conference is about."
They agree on "implementing Geneva I." It stipulates Assad must go, says Kerry.
It says no such thing. Russia supports Syrian sovereignty. Syrians alone must decide who'll lead them.
On January 16, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow.
"We exchanged views on Geneva conference, and our views were identical on the necessity to exert every effort to make the conference a success," said al-Moallem.
"We want this conference to ensure a political solution to the crisis in Syria being the safest route and meet the Syrian people's aspirations, foremost combating terrorism," he added.
"We believe that this conference should lay the foundation for dialogue among the Syrians without any foreign interference and with respecting Syria's sovereignty and independence," he stressed.
Lavrov said he and al-Moallem "highlighted (a) common position that the goal of Geneva II is to end the bloodshed and prevent Syria from turning into a hotbed for international terrorism"
He stressed the necessity to respect Syria's independent, secular sovereignty. International law must be respected. No nation may impose its will on Syria or any other country.
Kerry said ending Syria's conflict won't be easy. Indeed not as long as Washington fuels it.
As long as Obama demands regime change. As long as death squads get US support. As long as Washington demands Assad must go. As long as it demands unconditional acceptance of US diktats.
Kerry lied saying "(w)e will continue to stand with the people of Syria writ large, all the people, in an effort to provide them with the dignity and the new Syria which they are fighting for."
They're fighting for their sovereign rights. They want US-supported death squads defeated. They want peace, stability and security restored.
They want the sole right to decide who'll lead them. They want America, NATO, Israel and rogue Arab states having no say. They want what international law demands.
Geneva I failed. Expect no conflict resolution this time. Obama won't quit until Syria is entirely destroyed.
His regional agenda prioritizes ravaging one country after another. He thrives on war. He deplores peace. Imagine what he plans going forward.
Rapprochement with Iran is very much in doubt. Obama's rhetoric belies his policies. Congressional hawks want business as usual.
They want new sanctions imposed. Doing so will scuttle Joint Plan of Action (JPA) agreed on terms.
Whether legislation called the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013 passes remains to be seen.
Fifty-nine senators support it. Sixty are needed to assure passage. Obama promised to veto legislation. A congressional two-thirds majority is needed to override him
Senate co-sponsor Richard Blumenthal (D. CT) has second thoughts.
"(A)s long as there is progress," he prefers delaying a vote. On January 20, JPA becomes effective. Its timeframe runs six months.
Final terms will be negotiated during the interim. Talks will show whether or not Obama wants rapprochement. Israel is fundamentally opposed.
AIPAC wants Iran isolated. It wants business as usual continued. So do congressional hawks. Most House and Senate members oppose rapprochement. Odds favor things turning out this way.
Iran is between a rock and a hard place. Thirty-four years of US hostility continues. On January 17, Press TV headlined "Hillary Clinton pushed for US 'green light" for Israeli attack on Iran."
She tacitly endorsed it. She discussed it during a 2010 White House meeting. She called it an option to consider. Two unnamed former US officials revealed it.
Obama didn't follow through. Israel didn't attack. It's uncertain what happens going forward. Kerry matches the worst of Clinton's belligerence.
Prominent hawks want JPA derailed. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) is an influential right-wing think tank. It's pro-business. It's pro-war. It's militantly anti-Iranian.
Danielle Pletka is vice president for foreign and defense studies. On January 13, she headlined "The unbearable lightness of US Iran policy."
She lied saying "Iran poses (a threat) throughout the larger Middle East." Washington "has no competitive strategy against" it, she claims.
"Rather, we have continued to plod along (in ways that do) little to undermine Iranian influence, challenge Iranian proxies, or otherwise advance principles that we hold dear."
"In short: it's not just the nuclear agreement that falls short."
"Everything America is doing in the Middle East is allowing Iran to consolidate power, co-opt Shiites, threaten our allies, and co-opt local populations. Surprised? Yeah, me neither."
Pletka barely stopped short of urging war. Maybe a follow-up commentary will. She wholeheartedly endorses US imperial madness. Warmongers act this way.
Maseh Zarif is AEI's Critical Threats Project deputy director. On January 15, he headlined "Iran action plan is no step forward," saying:
It "fails to verifiably eliminate Iran's ability to develop nuclear weapons." It does "nothing to force Iran to address weaponization-related activities or its pursuit of ballistic missiles, which could serve as delivery vehicles for a nuclear warhead."
"(O)ver-reliance on Iranian cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency will be another problem."
"Uranium enrichment and other related projects will continue unchecked…The prospects (of resolving) flaws inherent in the first step...are dim."
"The regime and its leadership remain fundamentally hostile to the US worldview." Its regional agenda "is inimical to American interests."
"Unless the Obama administration confronts these realities and works to prevent Iran's pursuit of its ambitions, it will lose the next six months as it has lost the last six months."
Iran's nuclear program is peaceful. It has no military component. Nothing suggests otherwise.
Iran has as much right to nuclear power as dozens of other countries. It's entirely legal. It complies with NPT provisions.
Tehran seeks rapprochement with all nations. It wants regional peace, stability and security. It wants a nuclear weapons free Middle East.
It wants rule of law principles respected. It opposes Washington's imperial agenda. It justifiably does so. Don't expect right-wing extremists to explain.
James Kirchick is a Foundation for Defense of Democracies senior fellow. It's a neocon think tank.
Kirchick doubles as a US propagandist. He writes for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Mainstream publications feature his rubbish.
On January 16, he headlined "Slandering Senators as Warmongers." They have "good reasons" wanting the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013 to pass," he said.
JPA has "no explicit mechanisms to enforce Iran's compliance." Congress "is being cut out from a process with Iran" entirely.
Prior to agreeing on JPA terms, "Iran violated (its) spirt, if not (its) letter..."
It pursues only what JPA permits. It violates nothing. JPA very much has enforcement mechanisms.
Iran's nuclear program is the most heavily monitored one anywhere. JPA assures stepped-up intensity.
Current sanctions are illegal. Congress had no right to impose them. Nor new ones. Stiff enough ones head toward embargo conditions.
Imposing a total one approaches a blockade. It's close to declaring war. Jack Kennedy called blockades acts of war.
Iran is nonbelligerent. It threatens no one. Blocking all imports and exports constitutes illegal aggression. Doing so violates UN Charter and other international law provisions.
Kirchick claims more sanctions strengthens JPA. They force Iran to "negotiate and behave in good faith."
At issue are US intentions. Iran has reason for concern. American agreements aren't worth the paper they're written on.
Terms are routinely violated unilaterally. Obama did by imposing new sanctions on Iranian, European and Asian companies. He did so by Executive Order.
Doing it was just cause for Iran to declare JPA null and void. It chose not to. On January 20, implementation begins.
Kirchick wants it subverted. He cited "terror-sponsoring theocrats in Tehran." He calls Iran "the world's leading sponsor of terrorism."
"(T)ime and again (it) show(ed) itself to be reliable only in the sense that is reliably deceptive."
Turning truth on its head is longstanding neocon policy. No matter how well Iran observes JPA, expect criticism to follow.
Expect hardball efforts to prevent rapprochement. Expect Obama to be as duplicitous as congressional hawks.
Expect him to maintain longstanding anti-Iranian hostility. Perhaps he has another war in mind. Maybe he'll partner with Israel in waging one.
Perhaps the entire Middle East will be embroiled if he does so. It bears close watching what happens going forward.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.