As costs go ever higher and higher for medical care in the US, medical tourism has become a big business. There are lots of world class clinics in the Caribbean catering to westerners, where for a much reduced cost people can get world class medical care. Iran is trying to boost their medical tourism. Other than increasing cash flow to the country, it’s a great opportunity to show westerners that Iran isn’t all evil. (0 comment)

The middle east has more intrigue than most places. Folks that should be enemies sometimes aren’t. Folks that should be allies sometimes aren’t. The three big players for many decades have been Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Other countries in the region have always been played by these three. Despite these three being enemies, all of them are smart enough to make temporary alliances in order to go after the one. It looks like Israel and Saudi Arabia are continuing the alliance they made to eliminate Syria. This time the target is Iran. And we’re falling for it again.(0 comment)

Despite the best efforts of the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel, ISIS has been destroyed in Syria! I’m sure there are stragglers around the country, but their organized resistance is over. The folks that live there (Iraq, Iran, Syria) have put aside differences to defeat a common enemy. John McCain must be in real pain today.(0 comment)

Iraq has been an on again and off again enemy for many years. Although the government ignored them prior to WWII, by 1928 US oil corporations had gained almost 24% control of their oil. Iraq’s prime minister during WWII endorsed the Nazi’s, so the US endorsed England’s suppression of him. In the 40s and 50s, we sought to stabilize Iraq and in 1955, signed the Baghdad Pact as an anti Soviet defense partnership. By 1958, a bloody military coup overthrew the King and became anti west. From 1958 to 1979, Iraq claimed to be neutral, but “played” the US and the Soviets off of each other. Neither Iraq nor the US pursued democracy in Iraq. In 1967 Iraq severed relations with the US, claiming that we supported Israel in the 6 Day War. This was our first time that we equipped and supported the Kurds. We backed down (Kissinger) and Iraq and Iran agreed to get the Kurds under control. In 1979, Saddam Hussein seized power. Saddam “sold” himself as the anti Ayatollah Khomeini. From 1980 to 1988, Iraq and Iran fought massive land battles which accounted for more than 1 million casualties. President Reagan’s administration provided Iraq with economic aid,shared intelligence information and military aid. In 1989, Iraq invaded Kuwait and threatened Saudi Arabia. We responded with the first gulf way. The first President Bush maintained to deal with Saddam constructively, in spite of the war, thinking that it would be a counter on Iran. When he changed his mind, we “played” the Kurds once again, and it worked out just as well for them as the first time. Then the never ending war started in 2003. All still ostensibly to be a counter to Iran and keep them under control. Our allies disagree. (0 comment)

The Kurds have been America’s “whipping boy” for many decades. I don’t understand why they still believe us. Kissinger was the first to pump them up and then pull the plug on them once we didn’t’ need them anymore. We did it again to them after the first Gulf War. We’re doing it again. Despite our efforts in the never ending wars in the Middle East and Africa, we are creating allies and alliances that without our intervention would never have happened. Who would have believed when we started that Iran and Iraq would form a military alliance? Who could have seen the time where Russia would gain huge influence in the Middle East again? The Saudis and the Israelis are partnering up on issues. The King of Saudi Arabia visits Russia for the first time ever. We’ve achieved some regional stability. Just not the stability that we set out to accomplish.

If you haven’t ever heard about the study “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm” it’s been the driving force behind our never ending wars in the Middle East. Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan you name have all been part of a plan/doctrine first written in 1996. The link to it is below. Even Israel at the time thought the plan was too extreme. But we went off to support our Neo beliefs. We all know that plans don’t survive first contact and now we don’t know how to deal with defeat. We continue to demonize Iran, but don’t want to invade Iran. If defeating Iran was really so important, we should left Saddam alive. Iran and Iraq are training together to defeat terrorists in the Region. Imagine, two lifelong hatreds coming together to defeat common enemy! We created ISIS and brought two enemies together. I guess that’s a success of sorts. And now we’re fighting for the same space that we’ve lost lots of good soldiers in. Too much weirdness.

I don’t understand what we gain by disengaging from Iran. No one argues that Iran is a “nice” country. No one can honestly argue that Iran isn’t a big player in the Middle East. No one can make an argument that Iran doesn’t want to be more powerful in the region. The Iran “deal” is an international agreement signed by seven countries. It does not require “certification’, but it does require regular inspections by international inspectors. The certification requirement was imposed by a Republican congress who disagreed with President Obama’s signing on to the agreement. In a perfect example of the old saying “a broken clock is right twice a day” the ultra mega Neo Con group the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) makes some excellent points on the dangers to the US of messing with this International Agreement. Even our Secretary of Defense Mad Dog Mattis argues that this will hurt America in the long term because no one will trust us again. Just like Syria, we’re doing this at the behest of our allies the Saudis. It’s clearly in their interest, which 9/11 should remind us is rarely in our interest.

In 1953, at the behest of the British and, more importantly, British Petroleum (BP) the US CIA mounted a coup to topple the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran. The main reason for the coup was because Iran wanted to exert more control over its oil exports and expel foreign corporate representatives. We put the Shah into power. The Iranians eventually toppled the Shah and things have never been the same. The Shah had relied heavily on US support to maintain his power, so logically the hatred for the Shah that led to his demise also fell on the US also. The US embassy hostage-taking by the Iranians led to a logical hatred of Iran by most Americans. Hatred that still exists. Despite economic sanctions, the US really hasn’t been able to topple Iran’s government. Iran remains a significant player in the Middle East. We’re at a point in the world where even historical enemies recognize that talking beats killing. Iraq and Iran are talking. Yet, we want to double down and maintain animosity. After 25 years of diplomacy at the end of a gun, we’ve forgotten that sometimes people will say no and that actions have consequences.