Is Turkey going to be another Iran? With President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s latest electoral victory the question is making the rounds in Western political circles. Despite the fact that Sunday’s election gives Erdogan immense new powers, my short answer to the question is a firm: no!
In analyzing the nature of political power in any form the first question to ask concerns the provenance of that power. For where does power comes from determines where it may go.
In Iran in 1979 power was like a box of jewels thrown in the street, ready for anyone to pick up. The Shah had left the country and most members of the Council of Monarchy he had appointed were in the French Riviera, while the army Top Brass had declared “neutrality” which meant the military wouldn’t stop anyone from picking up the box of jewels in the street.
By a fluke of fate and a combination of bizarre circumstances, it was Ayatollah Khomeini who had the nerve and the imagination to pick up the box after the Shah’s last Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiar had also gone into hiding waiting to be spirited out of Tehran to Paris.
Due to an unusual conflation of events, over the past two weeks we’ve caught a rare glimpse of the face of European foreign policy. We shouldn’t let it pass unremarked.
Last Friday, the European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini presided over a curious summit in Vienna. In the same hall where she and her colleagues concluded the nuclear deal with Iran three years ago, Mogherini and her comrades tried to concoct ways to save the deal by undermining American power and defying its decision to abandon the deal.
Mogherini was joined in her efforts by the German, French and British foreign ministers. Sitting opposite them were Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, and the Russian and Chinese foreign ministers. Together they brainstormed ways to undermine the economic sanctions the US will begin implementing next month against Iran and anyone from anywhere that trades with Iran.
The Europeans made some suggestions. For instance, the European Investment Bank, they said, is authorized to invest in projects in Iran. European governments are willing to make direct deposits in Iranian banks to get around US restrictions on bank transfers to Iran.
The Germans apparently are the keenest to continue the money flow to Tehran. Bild, a Berlin-based tabloid, reported on Tuesday that Iran has asked the European-Iranian Trade Bank, which is majority owned by Iranian state-owned banks but registered in Hamburg with the Bundesbank, Germany’s central bank, to permit it to withdraw €350 million in cash. The Iranians intend to fly the cash to Tehran to avoid the prospect of the accounts being frozen once US sanctions are reimposed. According to the Bild report, the German government supports the cash transfer. The Merkel government believes the Iranian claim that the money will be distributed to Iranian businessmen who will be barred from using credit cards in international commerce due to the US sanctions.
The Germans apparently are happy to ignore the fact that Iran routinely uses cash to pay for its wars in Syria and Yemen. Iran regularly transfers millions of dollars in cash to Hamas in Gaza. Cash is its routine method of financing Hezbollah and its terror empire in Lebanon and throughout the world – including in Germany.
The Germans don’t care about that. Their goal is not to prevent terror. Their goal is to flood Iran with money.
The time has come for Israel and the U.S. to let Gaza fail.
It is not in America’s interest, and it certainly is not in Israel’s interest, to assist Gaza’s terror regime in any way.
This means there should be no push to develop Gaza economically. There should be no plan to build new infrastructure in the Hamas-ruled terror fiefdom bordering Israel and Egypt, which is waging war against both countries. And there should be no place for Gaza reconstruction in any Trump administration peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians.
This position runs counter to the views of President Donald Trump’s senior advisor, Jared Kushner, whose team is formulating the U.S. peace plan.
JACOB Rees Mogg last night accused Brussels of behaving like criminal mobsters.
The Brexit ringleader hit out out at the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier’s grumpy press conference saying it showed “why we are right to be leaving the mafia-like European Union”.
Italian Mafia crime families are famed for their organised protection racketeering – with the comparison likely to incense Eurocrats.
The arch-Leaver later explained to The Sun that the “the EU seems to behave like the Mafia so that if you want to leave it then retaliates by behaving unreasonably even at cost to itself.”
He added: “Who would want to belong to such an organisation?”
Mr Rees-Mogg also took aim on Twitter at gobby Irish premier Leo Varadkar’s “aggressive” claims he would block Irish airspace to British planes if Brexit talks collapsed.