Will Obama soon announce ‘Peace in our Time’?

The classic October Surprise, according to Wikipedia, was this one:

On October 26, 1972, twelve days before the election on November 7, the United States’ chief negotiator, the presidential National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, appeared at a press conference held at the White House and announced, “We believe that peace is at hand.”

Nixon was ahead anyway, but this announcement has been thought to add to the landslide over McGovern that followed. The Wikipedia article linked above lists several examples of last-minute ‘revelations’, some true and some not.

Can we expect an October Surprise this year?

We may already have one brewing. A former CIA operative calling himself “Reza Khalili” and claiming to have been an agent inside the Iranian Revolutionary Guards organization, who has previously made skeptically-received claims that Iran had already produced 90% enriched uranium, is now saying that the Obama Administration has struck a deal with the Iranian regime that will shortly be announced:

Iranian and U.S. negotiators have reached an agreement that calls for Iran to halt part of its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of many of the U.S. sanctions against the Islamic regime, according to a highly placed source.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, expects a letter from President Obama in a few days guaranteeing the details of the agreement, arrived at recently during secret negotiations in Doha, Qatar…

The agreement calls for Iran to announce a temporary halt to partial uranium enrichment after which the U.S. will remove many of its sanctions, including those on the Iranian central bank, no later than by the Iranian New Year in March. Iran is in the throes of massive inflation and citizen unrest because of the sanctions.

The article provides more detail of the alleged agreement, including the personal involvement of close Obama confidant Valerie Jarrett.

This is the second article by Khalili on this subject; the first was published on October 4, describing the meeting allegedly held in Doha on October 1. While it is not practical for me to check the details of the report, there is nothing obviously impossible in it.

Let’s assume that his account is in general correct, and that there will shortly be an announcement that sanctions will be (at least partly) relaxed in return for a halt in enrichment. What would this mean?

First, it would be a huge boost for Obama, since it would be characterized as a success for his engagement and “tough diplomacy” policy. Iran, the campaign will say, has been forced to ‘back down’ in the face of sanctions. War has been avoided! By the time it is determined if Iran’s weapons program has been impacted, the election will be over.

Second, it would help the Iranian regime domestically. Existing partial sanctions — or even much tougher ones — cannot stop a non-democratic country like Iran from pursuing a weapons program. But ending them would calm popular unrest as a result of economic problems partly caused by sanctions.

Third, it would preclude US military action against Iran, either alone or in cooperation with Israel.

Fourth, it would make an Israeli attack much more difficult. Israel would be cast in the role of an aggressor, and face almost certain UN sanctions if it hit Iran despite the agreement.

In the event that Iran doesn’t live up to the terms of the agreement, it will be that much further along, sanctions will be gone, Iran will have recouped much of its economic losses, and it may be too late for Israel, or even the US, to end the program by force.

Unless the deal were also to include verifiable dismantling of the enrichment facilities, it would at best represent a temporary slowing of Iran’s weapons program. At worst, enrichment would continue at secret facilities. According to Khalili, the deal is even worse than that, including significant concessions to Iran:

The [US] guarantees would ensure the regime’s right to peaceful enrichment, quickly remove many of the sanctions, accept that Iran’s nuclear program does not have a military dimension and relieve international pressure on the regime while it continues its nuclear program. Also, the U.S. would announce that the killing of Iranian nuclear scientists was the work of a foreign country, though Israel would not be named, to increase legal pressure on Israel.

So, while it is a disaster for Israel and for US interests in the Middle East, such a deal would be a win-win proposition for Obama’s campaign and for Iran. As the election draws closer, the pressure to give Iran a better deal increases exponentially.

An agreement like this would practically guarantee that Iran will become a nuclear power.

Could they possibly be this cynical? We’ll find out within the next two weeks.

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4 Responses to “Will Obama soon announce ‘Peace in our Time’?”

  1. Robman says:

    This agreement may happen; it would be classic Obama.

    But would it help him win re-election? In the cloistered world of like-minded liberal left sycophants in which he lives, perhaps he believes so. But I doubt it.

    I don’t think most Americans are under any illusions about Iran. Most people accept that either a) Iran is stopped by force – American or Israeli, but most Americans would prefer Israeli – or b) we have to find a way to live with a nuclear Iran. I don’t think anyone paying attention really believes that there is a peaceful way to prevent Iran from getting nukes.

    So, I think this will impress many American voters as exactly what you intimate, Vic: a cynical – in the extreme – election year ploy. It will probably backfire.

    Unless the election is rigged – and I do worry about that – I expect Romney to win handily.

    I find it interesting that Netanyahu has called for elections in Israel right after the victor here is sworn in. If Romney wins, and if Netanyahu does well, that puts Netanyahu in a maximum position of political strength and stabilty from that point onwards. I’d expect an Israeli or joint U.S.- Israeli strike on Iran sometime after that, probably in the spring, regardless of what Obama does now.

    And if Obama wins? Then there will be a nuclear Iran. Israel may have the military muscle to deal with Iran, but lack of U.S. cooperation will greatly complicate matters. The U.S. under Obama will almost certainly tip off the Iranians of an impending Israeli attack, thus depriving Israel of the element of tactical surprise, which would almost certainly cause the strike to fail.

    I think Bibi is counting on Romney winning. I don’t see what choice he has.

    …Or what choice anyone sho cares about Israel has, for that matter.

  2. Shalom Freedman says:

    I am not so sure a trick like this would not work. I do not trust the depth of the American public’s knowledge of global affairs including Middle East affairs. It seems to me the Media would make a pro- Obama circus of such news, and it might help him. Remember Jewish voters seem to have shown an idiotic insensitivity to what is going on with the Obama approach to global affairs.

  3. MDA says:

    The Reza Khalili articles are more than plausible and are consistent with the backroom pandering that Obama and Hillarie’s State department have shown in their dealings with all Islamic states – why should Iran be any different?

    There is only one place where this Iranian gambit can be played effectively.

    That will be at Next Tuesdays debate.
    Obama pulling the “Peace in our time” Rabbit from his hat would completely derail any GOP criticism of his foreign policy failure in nuclear containment.

    The real problem however are the Iranian Twelver’s – they predicted the US economic sanctions and resulting turmoil befalling their own people. They do not necessarily want it to stop. Notwithstanding a publicized nuclear test Iran already has sufficient stockpiles to deploy dn strategically detonate more dirty nuke devices than any other rogue nation in History. According to Khalili Obama is telling Iran the economic sanctions are outside of his control – Obama blames Congress as having made him place the sanctions.

    This is the same Obama who also told Medvedev that after the election “I will have more flexibility” Why would anyone think that what Obama said to Medvedev he would not say to Ahmadinejad?

    This is why we need to consider Khalili’s reports as accurate and Romney had better be briefed on how to respond to stage magic and rabbits coming from hats.

  4. Shalom Freedman says:

    The latest news is the denial by the Iranians that such an arrangement was made.
    One would think that the Iranians would allow the story to go through just to help Obama a little. But they repeatedly seem oblivious to this kind of ‘practical calculation’.
    So now Romney can use the NYTimes story and its denial as an Obama embarassment. Perhaps. As we saw the exchange in the second debate on the Libya question it’s not necessarily the substantial issue which matters but how each candidate spins it.

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