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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/18/18

Trump the Schlump: Iran Nuclear Deal Is Bad; North Korean Nuclear Deal Is Good

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From Strategic Culture

After illegally abrogating the signature of the United States on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal with Iran, Donald Trump is not only prepared to offer a nuclear deal to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, but had his Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, sweeten the prospect with a promise of billions of dollars of investments in North Korea's infrastructure. Meanwhile, Trump is prepared to institute secondary sanctions against any country, including the remaining JCPOA signatories, that continue to do business with Iran.

The only country that stands to benefit from this disjointed and hypocritical U.S. nuclear proliferation policy is Israel. It was the far-right government of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, aided and abetted by Israel's wealthy American Jewish billionaire troika of political influence peddlers -- Sheldon Adelson, Paul Singer, and Bernard Marcus -- who, in the end, convinced Trump to trash the JCPOA. Trump's two new additions to his national security and foreign policy team, Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, have long advocated blowing up the JCPOA, charging that Iran has been violating the deal. Nothing is further from the truth, as demonstrated by conclusive reports on Iran's nuclear program from the International Atomic Energy Agency, Israel's own Mossad intelligence service, and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

Israel has been itching for a military showdown with Iran, something which has commenced in Syria, where Iranian paramilitary units and their Lebanese Hezbollah allies have been hit with Israeli missile strikes. Standing not so quietly behind the Israelis in trying to provoke Iran are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. In fact, Bahrain, which plays host to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet and has overseen a bloody repression of its Shi'a majority, outwardly backed Israel in its showdown with Iran in the Golan region of Syria.

Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa tweeted, "As long as Iran changes the current situation in the area and exploits other countries by using its power and missiles, then every country in this region -- including Israel -- has a right to defend itself by destroying the source of danger." Bahrain and its Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) allies, except for Oman, has not shown as much sympathy for Yemeni civilians that have been massacred in a genocide engineered by the Saudis and Emiratis, with the backing of the Israelis and Americans.

Trump's turning back the clock on Western relations with Iran plays directly into the hands of the Israelis. While Israel's agents-of-influence in the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) drew up primary and secondary sanctions lists against Iran, in violation of the JCPOA and, in the case of Iran's other trading partners, the World Trade Organization, Israel continues to secretly import Iranian oil via Turkey and the Netherlands. These covert transactions are handled by the Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline Co (EAPC) and Trans-Asiatic Oil, Ltd., which have been buying oil from Iran since the days of the Shah. Iranian oil, refined at Israeli facilities in Haifa and Ashdod, makes its way into the vehicles driven by everyday Israelis. The Israelis hide their transactions with the state-owned National Iranian Oil Company via a series of shell corporations, including Eilat Corporation, based in Panama; a holding company called APC Holdings, based in Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Fimarco Anstal, an Iranian front company based in Vaduz, Liechtenstein. In a rather typical case of "do as we say and not as we do," the Israeli government wants sanctions on Iran to apply to every country but Israel.

Not only does Israel financially benefit politically and economically from re-imposed sanctions on Iran, but it will stand to greatly collect dividends from an opening of U.S. relations with North Korea. While the Trump administration wants to impose sanctions on Iran, which abandoned its nuclear program in concert with the JCPOA and was never even close to possessing nuclear weapons, it is willing to sink billions into North Korea's economic development if it gives up its nuclear weapons program, including its arsenal of nuclear warheads. Pompeo, after meeting with North Korean officials in Pyongyang and securing the release of three U.S. captives in North Korea in preparation for a June summit in Singapore between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, said, "If North Korea takes bold action to quickly denuclearize, the United States is prepared to work with North Korea to achieve prosperity on the par with our South Korean friends." If Pompeo is serious, the United States could invest billions in the North Korean economy to bring it up to par with that of South Korea.

It will not be the United States that benefits from a mixed market-socialist economy in North Korea, but another country and faux U.S. "friend" that has engaged in a covert relationship with North Korea over many decades -- Israel. No longer constrained by international sanctions imposed on North Korea, it will be Israelis and Israeli companies, which already have contacts in the North Korean government, that will have the financial upper hand in North Korea.

Israel's clandestine links with North Korea date back to the operations of the Israel Corporation, which controlled Israel Aircraft Industries and Zim Israel Navigation Shipping Company. Eisenberg was the first Israeli to establish trading links with the People's Republic of China, which eventually extended to North Korea and Khmer Rouge-controlled Cambodia. Eisenberg's chief exports to China and North Korea were weapons. In the latter part of his life, Eisenberg was found more often in Beijing, where he died in 1997, than in Tel Aviv. As with Israel's covert oil business with Iran, Eisenberg's weapons sales to China and North Korea were handled by a shell corporation in Panama called United Development, Inc.

On December 5, 2007, the Japanese paper "Yomiuri Shimbun" reported that Israel was conducting secret operations with North Korea in the early 1990s that involved proposed Israeli investments in a North Korean gold mine. The paper also reported, "a senior official of the Israeli Foreign Ministry received a phone call at home from a senior North Korean official, and was asked, 'Would you like to hold talks with the husband of Kim Il-sung's daughter, Kim Kyong-hui, as he is in charge of missile development?'" The son-in-law of North Korean founding father Kim Il-sung was Chang Song-taek, the first vice director of the Organization and Guidance Department of the governing Korean Worker's Party.

It was reported in 2004 by the New Zealand media that Mossad agent Zev William Barkan, alias Lev Bruckenstein, wanted by New Zealand for illegally attempting to obtain New Zealand passports, turned up in Pyongyang as a security adviser for the North Korean government. Barkan and other Mossad agents were in Pyongyang to negotiate a deal to build a West Bank-style security wall along the border with China, which was to be outfitted with Israeli-manufactured motion detectors and night vision equipment. The North Korean people, isolated for so long from other nations, are naturally suspicious of foreigners. For that reason, Mossad chose to rely on South Korean evangelical Christian agents working in the North, individuals who were better able to blend into North Korean society.

Several Israeli interlocutors in Pyongyang reportedly managed to convince Kim Jong-un's government that Koreans, as a "Turkic people," are one of the lost tribes of Israel. The North Korean self-sufficiency concept of "Juche" melded nicely with Israel's policy of "kibbutzism," which also stresses self-sustenance. In reality, the Israelis were trying to position themselves as middlemen between North Korea and countries enacting direct trade sanctions against Pyongyang, just as the Israelis have done with Iran in respect to everything from secret oil deals to buying pistachios, caviar, and Persian carpets through middlemen in Turkey. Israel buys $26 million worth of Iranian pistachios annually, turning their noses up at the pistachio industry in California. Marc Rich, the sanction-busting American-Israeli-Belgian-Spaniard-Bolivian, was a significant Mossad asset because of his ability to skirt United Nations and United States sanctions against certain pariah regimes, including post-revolutionary Iran, something that enriched not only Rich, but several Israeli businessmen.

By scrapping America's commitment to the JCPOA and announcing that he is willing to invest billions in North Korea's economy, Mr. Trump, the self-professed master of the "art of the deal," has proven to be nothing more than a schlump of Netanyahu, Israeli sanction-busting oligarchs in Israel, and pro-Israeli political funders like Adelson, Singer, and Marcus.

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