Dealing With Immigration, Iran And Health Care

Our country is facing a plethora of problems. Dealing with issues has become increasingly more difficult because our government is so divided, as are our citizens.

There are a few situations that are causing great consternation across the country. They include immigration policy, nuclear proliferation and health care.

Immigration to the US emanating from Mexico and Central America has torn our country apart. The immigration dilemma and its effect on our society should not have come as a great surprise. Developed countries throughout the world are experiencing similar demands from large groups of people that have been persecuted and are seeking a better place to live.

So many are trying to escape horrible circumstances that are exacerbated by authoritarian rule, genocide and religious intolerance. The number of refugees stacked up in terrible conditions has reached epic proportions. Food, shelter and medicine are scarce.

Some nations are threatened by the demands of people seeking a better life. Why is this so? Resources in most countries are becoming more coveted every day. Even in the US accommodations for illegal immigrants are impacting American citizens in need. By giving to the people waiting on our doorsteps, the government is depriving services to people who were born in this country and living in poverty.

Further, the migration of many people of different cultures creates an array of societal, financial and political issues. Immigrants must be cared for. Who is going to provide services? Where will immigrants be transported once in the country? In the US they cannot all settle in Texas, Arizona and California. How many people can be assimilated in a short period of time?

Americans have always been sensitive to suffering and agony of the downtrodden. It’s in our DNA to come to the rescue of forsaken people. But how many can we help? Should we open our borders and accept everyone? Is the US able to care for all immigrants that want entry and permanent status in the country? How much of our limited resources can we afford to give to these people? How will another 1,2,3 or 10 million immigrants affect our country? There are more questions than answers. Tough decisions must be made to rein in the immigration problem. Can the US be the destination of persecuted people from all over the world? Not likely.

A nuclear event is the greatest existential threat to our world. The use of a WMD even in a far off places such as the Middle East and the Far East would have dire consequences for millions of people.

Note: The most volatile situation at this moment is North Korea. It appears that its leader is amenable to negotiating a disarmament treaty. Since NOKO has deliverable weapons, it should be the highest priority of US diplomacy.

The most dangerous country in the world is Iran. The reason for this designation is that the country is the leading provocateur of terror in the Middle East. And it is committed to owning nuclear weapons. The Obama nuclear deal with Iran did not ban Iran from developing a nuclear capability. It only deferred this eventuality.

Trump, rightly so, pointed out this radical possibility and abrogated they treaty. Now the US is committed to isolating Iran politically and economically until it agrees to never build a nuclear bomb.

What might the ayatollahs do if they had a deliverable bomb? Under duress they could use it against Israel. This would be a foolish and deadly decision because Israel would retaliate in kind with a much greater counter punch. But if it did occur, the Middle East would be in turmoil for an extended period. And worse, the US might be drawn into the fray.

The US is committed to Israel, and it is likely that we would respond mightily to an Iranian nuclear attack, a contingency that can only be eliminated by preventing Iran from developing a bomb.

As an afterthought, it should be noted that Iran could also direct its venom towards its Sunni opponents. In a large-scale brouhaha, Saudi Arabia and others on the peninsula could also be attacked with WMDs.

Health care is always front and center politically in the US. Obama created a huge conundrum that has tortured Americans and the country’s medical system ever since it was rammed down our throats several years ago. It has cost the country trillions and has made it difficult for any one in this country to feel secure about their ability to pay for a medial emergency.

The latest rage of Democrat liberals is universal, one payer insurance. Private insurance would not be permitted. Millions of people who are happy with their health care would be subjected to an entirely new arrangement that would impact the quality of service, the doctors they might want to use and how much they pay.

Instead of trying to herd millions of Americans into an expensive one size fits all policy, Obama health care reform should have only focused on those who were unable to pay for care. A large Medicaid service available to the needy was all that had to be done. However, Obama wanted to enact a large legacy initiative, and he ultimately screwed up the entire medical system. Now most of the 20 Democrats running for president want a health care mulligan that will further screw up health care.

The solution to the heath care Rubik’s Cube is evasive, but it should not be a one-payer system, and it should not take away private insurance already in effect. If redone incorrectly, the health care system could bankrupt our country.

 

How’s Trump Doing?

It’s going to drive liberal Trump haters insane to hear that the president is scoring huge victories in spite of his frightful attitude and undiplomatic demeanor. The biggest issue, relating to the election, is the surging US economy.

The stock market hit new highs on Friday. There are competing influences impacting the markets, but generally there’s a lot of positive momentum. However, Federal Reserve Chief, Jerome Powell, said the following “. . . trade tension and a weaker global economy [are] weighing on the outlook and [he] said the Fed was prepared to act.”

Some economists think Powell is intentionally ignoring the strong jobs report and the potential ‘trade truce’ with China. Currently most are expecting a move by the Fed at its next meeting. Critics of such an action say it is an accommodation to Trump. Others point out that problems in Europe, including Brexit, and an economic slowdown in China justify some loosening by the Fed. Who says the Fed is apolitical?

In the meantime inflation is not a pressing problem and consumers are spending at a rapid clip. The former gives license to the Fed to keep interest rates down.

The old adage, “It’s the economy, stupid” is apropos. Trump is going to get a boost in the election if the economy continues to improve, unemployment stays under control and wages for the middle class increase.

Making it more disheartening for Trump naysayers is the possibility that the president may actually negotiate a favorable trade deal with the Chinese. I’ve been saying all along that the US can have a great impact on the Chinese economy. Tariffs are one way to exert this advantage. The US buys far more products from China than China from the US. Tariffs will decrease the current trade imbalance, and this will increase worker furloughs and bankruptcies in China.

One of the most important issues for Xi Jinping is keeping Chinese industry running at full speed and keeping workers on the job. Frankly it’s more important for Xi, personally, to smooth relations with the US regarding trade than any other area of disagreement between the countries.

What can the US gain from negotiations with the Chinese? One thing is respect. US economic strength is far more influential than military might, although America is still, by far, the most powerful nation in the world. China needs favorable economic conditions. Many of its industries are highly leveraged, especially banks, which cannot deal with large credit losses.

Moving to other areas, Trump is going to make a deal with Kim Jung-un. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if a nuclear disarmament treaty is indirectly a part of a US trade deal with China. If I were Trump I would make a NOKO accommodation a required element of the trade negotiations.

Kim is in a position to solidify his regime for decades but he needs desperately to end economic sanctions and to have US become a trading partner. This can only happen if Kim gives up the nukes. If he walks away, economic sanctions will eventually be his downfall. Once again the US’s economic might can ultimately be more powerful and be less expensive than going to war.

The ayatollahs of Iran are on a road to oblivion. By continuing to threaten commerce in the Straits of Hormuz and stoking terror elsewhere in the Middle East, Iran is losing support of the European Union, especially Great Britain. Attacking oil tankers is a stupid and unproductive strategy that my earn Iran a few hundred cruise missiles as a warning. Similar to other countries mentioned above, US economic sanctions are disseminating Iran.

Trump was absolutely justified in abrogating the Iran nuclear deal. Most importantly it gave Iran a pathway to nuclear arms in about a decade.

Domestically, the majority of Americans are not enamored by the actions of Trump. In fact so many despise him that they will not give him credit for his successes. And further, too many Americans would be happy to see the president fail even if the country suffers. This group includes the liberal press.

But Trump presses forward with aggressive comments and distortion of the truth. He seems to relish opportunities to slam his opponents in fiery rallies and on social media. These are unproductive, but Trump says he must defend himself from fake news and unfair treatment by his opponents.

All this is a sideshow to the main attraction, the 2020 elections. Trump looks like a winner mostly because Democrats have moved too far left. A socialist will not be elected in America, at least not yet. Also, Americas will grow to understand that every entitlement can’t be free. The country cannot provide new entitlements without cutting critical services elsewhere, no matter how much they increase taxes. American voters will understand this problem as the debates and the political rhetoric continues to ramp up.

An Iranian Confrontation Is Inevitable

A significant clash between Iran and the US is becoming more imminent every day. In most cases antagonists share responsibility for dangerous standoffs. In this situation Iran is the principal culprit, while the US is merely striving to keep the world safe. It’s useful to examine the objectives of Iran and the US and why tensions are escalating.

Iran is imperialistic and overtly intrusive in its region. It’s the most powerful Shiite country and justifies its aggressive behavior on religion. Zealots that rule the country frequently misinterpret their holy scriptures. For years cruel, antisocial and militaristic actions have been undertaken in “defense” of the Shiite perspective.

It all began when Shiites separated from Sunnis. The violence in the Middle East has been spurred by the hatred that fomented over centuries between these religious sects. The current predicament arose when the Shah of Iran was ousted in 1979 and Iranian clerics took control of the government. The coup culminated when the US Embassy in Tehran was overrun and 66 Americans were taken hostage. The situation lasted 444 days and ended when the newly inaugurated president Ronald Reagan released $8 billion of frozen Iranian assets. Reagan also promised sever repercussions if the hostages were not freed immediately.

Since then the relationship between the US and Iran has deteriorated as Iran has frequently supported terrorist groups in the region that resisted American involvement in the area, especially US support of Israel.

Notwithstanding all this, the primary objective of Iran has been to expand the influence of Shiites at the expense of Sunnis. When all is said and done, this is the most important issue for the ayatollahs.

One of the ways to accomplish this goal is to create unrest in Sunni strongholds, in particular Saudi Arabia, which is the most powerful Sunni country. Additionally it is the wealthiest nation in the region. To be clear the Saudis have also supported efforts to destabilize Shiite controlled areas.

Iran has spent huge amounts of money building a large and supposedly imposing military force, which often times is unleashed across the Middle East to further the causes of Shiites. Syria is a primary example of Iranian efforts to destabilize the region. With Russia, Iran has supported the corrupt and evil regime of Bashar al Assad.

The only way for Iran to build military credibility, in its mind, is with a nuclear arsenal. And so Iran began to develop/buy the technology to enrich uranium as a first step in assembling a nuclear weapon.

From the outset the US has had a policy to never allow Iran to develop a nuke. The reasons for this are clear as a bell. Iranian leadership is driven by religious zealotry that could encourage the ayatollahs to employ a nuke at a stressful moment against Israel or a Sunni adversary. Moreover, Iran, with a weapon of mass destruction in its possession, would use its military might to threaten other Middle East countries.

The Obama administration appreciated the ramifications of an Iranian nuke and attempted to delay its development. Disregarding the long-term policy that Iran would “never” have a nuclear capability, Obama and his negotiators essentially delayed Iran’s nuclear program for a decade or so.

The Trump administration recognized this terrible diplomatic blunder (many say the Iran nuclear deal was signed to afford Obama a “legacy” achievement). Donald Trump was unmoved by Obama’s faux diplomatic ploy and abrogated the agreement.

What are the reasons why Iran should never have a nuclear weapon?

  • Iran, in a fit of religious paranoia or passion, might employ a nuke in the Middle East.
  • Iran has never given the global community any reasons to think it would responsibly use a nuclear capability.
  • Iran has publicly said it wants to obliterate the State of Israel. The quickest way to do so is with a nuke.
  • The threat of mutual destruction may not be effective when dealing with religious zealots.
  • Iran will use its nuclear power to harass and threaten Sunni regimes.
  • Iran cannot be trusted and will likely violate the provisions of any treaty.

Trump has voided the Iran nuclear deal and ramped up economic sanctions to force it to renegotiate. Iran is resisting and is now enriching uranium, which is mostly forbidden by the original deal. Other signatories that include Europeans want to reinstate the Obama deal because they have economic arrangements with Iran, a shortsighted perspective.

Iran has begun a program of relatively minor attacks on oil fields and oil tankers. It has encouraged increased terror activity in the region. In the meantime, the Iranian regime is under great economic stress that could destabilize the government.

Trump should promise to retaliate in kind against any Iranian aggression. And he needs to have a grander military plan in case of future escalations of military action.

Iran should never have a nuke. It would be a replay of the North Korean fiasco, in which a small time megalomaniac is threatening peaceful countries with a nuclear strike. So far Trump has played the right cards. Backing down would be a drastic mistake.

 

 

 

Obama’s Nuclear Deal With Iran Will Destabilize The Middle East

By Sal Bommarito

The furor about an impending Iran nuclear deal continues to grow. President Obama is lobbying Americans to gain their support for his “outline.” He even summoned one of his primary apologists, Tom Friedman of the New York Times, to the White House for a chat about the deal. He wrote a follow-up article after his meeting with the president. Click here to get Friedman’s take on the controversy.

There are many things about the negotiations with Iran that are suspicious and should cause any experienced negotiator to be skeptical. One is related to the negotiating strategy of the U.S. From my vantage point, the U.S. has most of the bargaining chips, yet it appears that American negotiators have been too quick to capitulate to Iranian demands. One could reasonably ask whether this is about American security or Obama’s legacy.

A most important factor should be the state of Iran’s economy. It is in free fall because of United Nations and U.S. sanctions coupled with a significant decline in oil prices. Waiting or stalling would increase the pressure on Iran as its citizens experience the sting of economic turmoil.

When one party in a negotiation has such a powerful advantage, he must capitalize on it. Instead, the U.S. indicated it would end sanctions relating to the nuclear issue, which would increase Iran’s revenues. With more cash flow, it will surely accelerate its nuclear program and supplement its reign of terror in the Middle East. Perhaps, the president should look back at Ronald Reagan’s dealings with the Soviet Union. He successfully implemented a strategy that virtually bankrupted Russian thereby ending the Cold War.

The negotiations have been one-sided. Iran gets to keep its nuclear infrastructure and too much enriched uranium, which will enable it to produce a weapon in ten years, or earlier if Iran violates the terms of a treaty. The U.S. receives a “theoretical” delay of one year in the ability of Iran to build a nuclear weapon. [I wonder how the hell that calculation was made.] Additionally, Iran is supposedly giving inspectors unfettered access to its nuclear operations to ensure compliance to a treaty. We all know hour cooperative Iran has been over the years in this regard.

The U.S. has important allies in the Middle East that have been disappointed too often. The Iran deal has made the group even more reticent about the Obama administration. A nuclear deal with our most despised enemy in the region is being negotiated as our friends, such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel and the Gulf States object.

It is doubtful that a treaty will stop Iran from moving forward with a plan to build a nuclear weapon. So, other Middle East countries will surely insist on a similar right to initiate a nuclear program. The Iran deal will be the impetus for a regional arms race, a phenomenon that will make the area that much more unstable.

Some facts about Iran are indisputable. It hates America. In fact, its ayatollahs are regularly leading chants of “Death to America.” Iran similarly despises Sunnis and non-Muslims, as compared to ISIS, which abhors Shiites, non-Muslims and non-Arabs. Iran continually supports terrorist groups that have destabilized Sunni regimes. Yemen is the latest insurgency sponsored by Iran. Israel insists that a nuclear Iran is an existential threat to its survival. There should be no doubt about this given that Iranian leaders have said they want to obliterate the State of Israel. And so the big questions are why would the U.S. engage our mortal enemy, and for a nuclear weapon, no less? And, what does Obama expect to gain from this adventure?

And then, there is the critical issue of Iran’s compliance with the terms of the treaty. Most people are not comforted by Obama’s assurances that the U.S. can or will stop Iran anytime in the future from building a nuclear weapon. He said the U.S. spends $600 billion on defense each year while Iran spends only $30 billion. So, why should Americans or Sunni Arabs worry?

This bluster is meaningless unless Iran is convinced that the U.S. will actually enforce the treaty. Previous “lines in the sand” drawn by Obama have been empty threats (consider Syria). It is highly unlikely that Obama will dispatch bombers to Iran if it violates the treaty. Once Iran has a nuke, it will be too late and the region will be permanently destabilized.

Unlike many other situations, the U.S. has options. A better tactic would be to stall and allow financial events to destroy the Iranian economy. Another is for Obama to caucus with Congress to test his decisions before signing a treaty. I, for one, would feel much safer if Congress endorses his plan given its current level of skepticism. I do not believe the president should take such an important step without more eyes on the deal. After all, it’s a nuclear weapon we are talking about.

Put Yourself In Bibi’s Shoes

By Sal Bommarito

It’s not easy being Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu these days. As leader of Israel, Bibi must deal with never-ending external and internal threats. His country has been criticized by virtually every nation as it strives to survive in one of the most dangerous regions in the world.

Specifically, the following external issues dog Netanyahu every day: Palestine, Iran nuclear negotiations, Israel’s relationship with America and terrorism.

Palestine: Is Palestine politically and economically ready to be an independent state? Interested parties have been debating this question since 1988. As of 2014, 135 of 193 United Nations members recognized the State of Palestine. During his recent election, Netanyahu indicated that he was against a “two-state” solution, an obvious campaign ploy (it worked, he won). Subsequently, the prime minister clarified his comment by saying that there could be no two-state arrangement “at this time.”

Over the years, Israel has negotiated with some very difficult Palestinian opponents. On several occasions, peace and agreement were at hand, only to be dashed by one side or the other. The division of land, the connection of the West Bank to the Gaza Strip, economic considerations, terrorism and the right of Israel to exist are among the primary areas of dispute. American presidents have unsuccessfully tried to mediate a deal during the past four decades.

Israel has done its share to add to the chaos and inability to make peace. Most recently, it, for security reasons, built new settlements on land that the Palestinians believe belongs to them. President Obama has asked, and then demanded, that Netanyahu put a stop to this activity, to no avail.

Arabs frequently accuse Israel of crimes against humanity, especially when it retaliates against terrorist attacks by Hamas and other groups. The Palestinian’s plight is one of the most contentious issues in the Middle East for all Arab nations.

Iran’s nuclear negotiations: Bibi has claimed that a nuclear Iran is an existential threat to Israel. He has been relentless in expressing all the reasons why the U.S. should not cave into Iranian demands. His rationale includes a belief that Iran will not be a responsible possessor of a nuke, and it will violate the provisions of any treaty that limits its ability to build a nuclear weapon.

Netanyahu spoke before the U.S. Congress lobbying for discretion and oversight of any deal that President Obama signs. There were many sympathetic ears in the crowd. Last week, Iran and the U.S. agreed to an “outline” of a treaty. It is not clear what bipartisan actions Congress may take prospectively, or whether it will wait until a draft agreement is signed.

Israel’s relationship with the U.S.: The Netanyahu speech created a serious rift with the Obama administration; Obama did not endorse Bibi’s appearance. Obama Is disgusted with the prime minister’s endless carping, but Netanyahu is fighting for his country’s survival.

The implications of enthusiastic U.S. support are epic. Frankly, without military support, Israel could not survive. In fact, the demographics (in particular, birth rates of Israelis versus Palestinians) put Israel at a serious disadvantage over time. And, decreased financial support from American Jews could be a deathblow to Israel; young Jews are not as generous politically or economically than the previous generations.

Terrorism: Israel is continually under the gun, so to speak. Its citizens are always in peril from threats that have become more emboldened over time. The Jewish state is the only issue that unites Shiite and Sunni Arabs. Over the years, every Middle Eastern leader has attributed domestic and external problems to Israel, even if it had no role.

Yes, Bibi has a difficult job. I often wonder why so many nations around the world are supportive of Palestine over Israel when it is clear that the latter is more of a counter-puncher than an aggressor. Retaliation against terrorist attacks is too often labeled a crime.

Perhaps, Israel’s reputation is tarnished by its affiliation with the U.S. Sometimes, it is difficult to determine who Arabs despise more, America or Israel.

Obama Is Falling Into Iran’s Nuclear Trap

By Sal Bommarito

Liberals are scrambling to justify U.S. nuclear negotiations with Iran. Thankfully, these entreaties are falling on many deaf ears. Nicholas Kristof, in his New York Times op-ed, is the latest to make a case for a deal with Iran.

The most important assumptions being made by Obama apologists are the following:

  • Iran will develop a nuclear bomb whether the U.S. supports a treaty or not.
  • Iran would be a responsible possessor of a nuclear weapon.
  • Iran will never employ a nuclear weapon because the U.S. and/or Israel will retaliate.
  • Iran will not cheat or violate provisions of a new treaty.
  • Iran will allow unfettered inspections of its nuclear operations.
  • Iran will become a more productive participant in the international community of nations if it owns a nuke.
  • Iran’s leaders are not radical Islamists determined to kill non-believers.
  • Sanctions and low oil prices will not have a long-term impact on Iran.

Iran has been working on a nuclear bomb for many years. Israel would probably be the first to know if Iran had achieved its objective, so it is likely that Iran is some distance from producing a DELIVERABLE weapon. Sanctions and dramatically lower oil revenues could hamper production of a bomb for a long time especially if the country is destabilized by economic turmoil.

How could any sensible person conclude that Iran will be responsible if it possessed a nuclear weapon? Iran is the greatest purveyor of terrorism in the Middle East and has worked diligently to topple Sunni states. It would use a nuke to bully other Arab countries. Moreover, Iran’s ownership of a bomb would cause an arms race in the region that includes Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The Middle East will become even more perilous if this occurs.

Iran has violated United Nations mandates for years. It will surely continue to cheat after signing a new treaty.

Numerous people have indicated that a nuclear weapon would make Iran a more constructive “global citizen” (Kristof reiterated this point). I don’t understand how ownership of a nuclear device that could possibly set off a world war and kill hundreds of thousands of people will improve the behavior of a rogue nation.

Iran has stated on numerous occasions that it detests all people except Shiite Arabs. That means it plans to kill non-believers whenever possible.

It’s been written and said many times that President Obama thirsts for an epic diplomatic achievement, a legacy issue. For this reason, he is prepared to make too many concessions. When all the details of the Iran treaty are revealed, I expect Congress, Democrats and Republicans, along with average Americans to be horrified with the proposed deal.

It’s Iran Versus Saudi Arabia Versus ISIS Versus The U.S.

By Sal Bommarito

Sectarian violence and threats resulting from the ISIS conflict and other events in the Middle East are starting to occur on a daily basis. Led by Saudi Arabia, Sunnis are responding to a number of Iranian provocations in the region. Most experts believe this is the beginning of a long drawn-out confrontation between Iran and Saudi Arabia. A New York Times article details these matters.

Stirring Sunni outrage towards Iran are the following significant actions:

  • Iran’s backing of a rebel faction in Yemen. The Saudis are leading airstrikes against the insurgents.
  • Iran’s support of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. The Saudis are aiding jihadists in Syria that are fighting government forces.
  • Iran’s support of Iraqi forces against ISIS. The Saudis have warned Washington “not to allow the Iranian-backed militia to capture too much of Iraq [in the fight with ISIS].
  • The U.S./Iran pending nuclear deal. Saudis have indicated that they want the same rights as Iran to either develop or buy nuclear weapons. The aforementioned deal could lead to significant nuclear proliferation in the area.
  • Iran’s efforts to control the Middle East. The Saudis are backing a “combined Arab military force to combat Iranian influence around the region.”

The ISIS conflict has reached a critical point. The question is, can Iraq successfully win back territory absconded by the insurgents? For a moment in time, Iraqi government troops backed by Iran seemed to be making progress against a much smaller group of ISIS fighters embedded in Tikrit. This battle is a precursor to a much more important assault that is planned for later in the year on Mosul, the Islamic State’s capital.

The Tikrit operation has stalled, and Iraq has asked the U.S. to begin bombing in the area. President Obama agreed to do so only if Iran and Shiite militia groups loyal to Iran disengage. The competition between the U.S. and Iran is unproductive, as both want to destroy ISIS. Unfortunately, both nations hope to influence Iraq prospectively.

Further complicating the situation in Iraq is that most of the ISIS fighting is taking place in Sunni populated areas, and government forces consist mostly of Shiites. This was alluded to earlier in this post. Sunnis inside and outside of Iraq are concerned that the status of Iraqi Sunnis will be diminished even further in post-ISIS Iraq. Also, concern for collateral damage may not be adequate. The Saudis and other Sunni nations are likely to come to the aid of Iraqi Sunnis, if controlling Shiites marginalize the group. This, of course, will ultimately lead to civil war.

Most disturbing is the role of the U.S. By taking a subordinate or apathetic position on the issues herein, the Obama administration is losing credibility with all interested parties. The Iraqis resent the benign response of America to its problems, and other Arab nations cannot determine whom the U.S. is backing in the long-term, especially relating to the Iran nuclear deal.

The Middle East After ISIS Is Defeated

By Sal Bommarito

The Middle East’s political landscape is becoming a bit clearer every day. Unfortunately, the future is bleak for the region.

The backseat role of the U.S relating to current affairs leaves the destiny of the Middle East in the hands of current Arab leaders. This assumes a political status quo on the heels of the Arab Spring, the ultimate dissipation of ISIS and continuing insurgency by both Shiite and Sunni factions.

The apparent victory of Bibi Netanyahu foretells an uncomfortable stagnation of peace plan efforts dealing with the plight the Palestinians. Netanyahu said there would be no two-state deal for Palestine. This promise effectively guarantees the flow of venom between Arabs and the State of Israel for the foreseeable future.

The most important issue is what might transpire in the final days of ISIS. Frankly, the unorganized and murderous group of rebels deserves credit for surviving as long as it has. The tepid response of the U.S. and countries in the region enabled ISIS to thrive. But, the insurgents do not have the firepower to expand beyond Sunni neighborhoods in Iraq and Syria.

Stepping across borders into Turkey, Iran or Jordan will be a fruitless exercise. ISIS will be fortunate to retain the land it has already absconded. Nevertheless, it will not be a cakewalk to unearth ISIS in places that it has embedded itself. Current offensives by Iraq in places like Tikrit prove that a coordinated ground force initiative can be effective against the insurgents.

However, the final pushes into cities with large civilian populations will be bloody, for ISIS in any case, but also for innocent bystanders. The question is whether Iraq with encouragement from Iran will destroy cities held by ISIS with rockets that Iran has already provided to Iraq. Leveling cities populated by Sunnis will not endear Iraq to Sunni Arabs and could cause a great sectarian backlash.

There are several givens from my perspective. ISIS will likely be defeated in Iraq and Syria. But, its influence over disenfranchised rebel groups around the world could be problematic. Imported and exported terrorism is likely to increase.

Iran is the new gorilla in the region. If it is able to develop a nuclear weapon, the entire political landscape of the area will change dramatically. Even without a nuke, Iran is proving that it can and will be helpful to Shiite regimes, such as Iraq. The cost of its aid will be great influence over those countries prospectively.

Sectarian violence will envelope the region post-ISIS. Iran will accelerate its efforts to destabilize Sunni governments, and Saudi Arabia will respond in kind to thwart Shiite nations. Murderous actions, suicide bombing and political gamesmanship will be prevalent.

Several other powder kegs could also create unrest and more violence. They include the efforts of Turkey to prevent the establishment of a Kurdish state. Another is the fate of Bashar al-Assad of Syria. Most Arab nations want him dethroned. The downward spiral of the price of oil could create economic and political stress among Arab oil producing nations that might threaten existing regimes, especially Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The outlook for the Middle East is great turmoil, destabilization and discontentment.

Future Sectarian Violence Is Dependent Upon Iraq’s Use Of Force In Tikrit

By Sal Bommarito

The New York Times reported that the impending assault on Tikrit in a Sunni-dominated area of Iraq could be coming to a dramatic conclusion in the next few days. During this encounter, Iran has become a powerful benefactor of Iraq providing soldiers, intelligence and, most recently, rockets that may be deployed in the battle with ISIS.

The current standoff at Tikrit is a saga that will likely be repeated time and again as the 30,000 man Iraqi army continues to recapture land absconded by ISIS. Important issues are that the force consists almost exclusively of Shiites that are attacking ISIS in areas dominated by Sunnis, and the use of rockets to liberate Tikrit could result in many civilian casualties and massive property damage.

These controversies relate to the ongoing debate about what methods Iraq will employ to root out ISIS. The cost of this process could be very high depending upon the amount of force Iraq (and Iran) utilizes, and the determination of ISIS as they fortify their positions among innocent bystanders.

Ground forces are finally in play and resulting in some success; the U.S is providing none. These fighters will need to enter the city and engage the enemy door-to-door. Alternatively, the Shiite government fighting force may opt to use rockets and heavy artillery, which will kill ISIS insurgents and decrease its own casualties. But, this tactic will result in the destruction of Tikrit and the deaths of many Sunnis living in it.

President Obama does not want to engage ISIS with U.S. ground forces, nor does he wish to conduct bombing sorties that result in collateral damage. These decisions have enabled ISIS to survive to this point. The Iraqis and Iranians could change the state of play, but it may be at a huge cost.

Sectarian violence will increase if innocent Sunnis are slaughtered. A backlash is probable in Iraq and from neighboring Sunni-Arab nations. Collateral damage could be interpreted as a form of genocide to increase Shiite control in Iraq in the post-ISIS era. Moreover, the influence of Iran in Iraqi affairs will grow exponentially. It will be the ultimate cost of Iran’s aid in the fight with ISIS, a role that most people believed the U.S. would play.

This dilemma is symptomatic of the complexity of the ISIS imbroglio. The U.S. wants to defeat ISIS but is unwilling to deliver the firepower necessary to accomplish this end. Iran also wants to kill off ISIS and has joined Iraq on the ground while providing rocket armaments.

The response to the Iraq/Iran battle tactics could have a lasting impact on the sectarian rift in Iraq. It appears that the U.S. will be sitting on the sidelines as this all plays out.

The Decline Of American Influence In The Middle East

By Sal Bommarito

The president and Congress have devalued the war with ISIS as neither has any motivation to produce a resolution from Congress to continue the fight. This story was reported in the New York Times.

Many Americans believe our leaders and lawmakers are not meeting their constitutional responsibilities regarding the war and that a unified response by both parties to it is critical. How can 535 of our government representatives ignore what is happening in the Middle East? How can these “leaders” turn their backs while ISIS is murdering innocents and inciting violence around the world? Why would the U.S. allow Iran to usurp the leadership of the effort to exterminate the insurgents?

The party lines are that Republicans won’t agree to a watered down resolution that limits the power of the president to take the fight to the rebels. This would include any restrictions on the employment of ground forces. Democrats would only consider a limited resolution fearing another long-term military sojourn in the region.

The president doesn’t give a damn what Congress does or doesn’t do; he says that he has the authorization to continue his battle plan based upon resolutions from Congress dating back over a decade.

One wonders whether all these individuals would be so aloof if our soldiers started coming home in body bags. Then again, it’s doubtful that the U.S. will experience significant casualties if it just continues to drop bombs.

In the meantime, Iran is stepping up and assisting Iraq’s Shiite government with soldiers, equipment, arms, expertise and intelligence. Iraqi officials are gratefully accepting this aid. Iran’s investments will surely pay off in the future when Iraq can begin to focus on building its government, which will be totally dominated by Shiites and greatly influenced politically by Iran.

Iraqi leadership has been relishing recent successes on the battlefield with limited U.S. involvement. Yet, the sectarian storm is brewing as Iraqi forces, which include Shiite militiamen and Iranian soldiers are storming Sunni-controlled territory.

After ten plus years of American bloodshed and over a trillion dollars of money spent in Iraq, the U.S. has given up and is leaving Iraq and Syria to the dogs.

The big question is why is the U.S. hanging around at all? If we are disengaging, let’s pull all our forces and stand by as the Arabs kill each other. Apparently, the fate of six million refugees and displaced Arabs is of no concern to American leaders. Neither are the anarchy, civil wars, sectarian violence and genocide that will follow the end of ISIS hostilities. And what of the dominance of Iran that now seems inevitable?

For Americans 60 years and older, it is difficult to witness the deteriorating influence of the U.S. throughout the world perpetrated by the current regime in Washington. It has squandered much of what has been created since World War II.