Tag Archives: Sanctions

Ukraine Sanctions With Teeth Instead of Gums Are Still Possible

Putin-laughing-at-serious-steps-memeFor a very brief moment it looked like the White House and I were finally going to be in agreement on the topic of misrule in the United States. Obama’s White House Press Office released a statement with harsh criticism of government actions that threaten “peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets.”

It appeared the president had seen the light and was finally going to stop his abuse of office and his promiscuous use of executive orders. But then I read further and saw he was talking about Vladimir Putin and his beachfront trespassing in the Crimea. I thought Obama likes trespassers. Could it be that Putin rejected his offer of in–state tuition?

Of course there are differences between the strongman’s approach and that of the girlyman. Putin’s misrule is designed to advance the interests of Russian nationalism, while Obama appears content to undermine US standing and interests in the world.

With the result that Russian oligarchs will soon have prime sites for expansive vacation homes within the border of a newly expanded Russia. While our leaders launch deadly cutting remarks that include “wrong side of history” and “19th century thinking” mimicking Harvard faculty lounge habitués criticizing the NFL 1st round draft choice that gets the millions and the girl.

I know this criticism is not entirely fair. The Obama administration has decided to impose sanctions on Russia. Out of a current population of 141,924,000, the Obama administration has singled out seven (that’s right, seven) for punishment. The original intent of White House strategists was to just single out a certain percentage of cells in each of the seven individual’s body for pinpoint sanctions — gas pains, lumbago, toenail fungus, impotence — but the surgeon general informed the White House that either those maladies took to long to manifest or present technology didn’t support the goal.

Instead the administration opted for financial sanctions that make it harder for the Moscow 7 to gain access to any funds they have deposited in Western banks. The Washington Post described the strategy as an attempt “to see whether a symbolic first gesture would be sufficient to give Putin pause….” sorta like the famous “red line” in Syria.

Like much of Obama’s strategy, whether in health care or the economy, this gambit backfired. The Russian stock market went up after the announcement, instead of going down.

But that doesn’t mean the great minds in this administration are going to give up. Much like Robert McNamara carefully calibrating just the right amount of ordinance necessary to bring North Vietnam to its knees, Obama’s financial calibrations have room for expansion.

An administration insider has leaked a plan that will escalate the impact of the next round of sanctions to an almost superhuman level of intensity, while expanding the reach of inconvenience for the Russian Revanchists beyond just the financial realm.

None of the Seven are now allowed to make wire transfers withdrawing their funds from Western banks, but after the sanctions are escalated, they will be limited to a maximum ATM withdrawal of $40 per day AND the Coinstar machine will be completely off limits.

If any of the sanctioned try to travel to the US it’s also No More Mr. Nice Guy. The TSA’s expedited ‘Pre’ lane will be off limits. The Crimean Criminals will be assigned to the rubber gloves and high–school–field trips line for the foreseeable future and they will always be relegated to the last boarding group regardless of their frequent flyer status.

Assuming the Seven can’t take a hint and come to DC in spite of Obama’s disdain, anytime they attempt to use the Uber app to arrange transportation it will result in a fast busy signal, forcing them to use DC taxis. Even worse their lodgings will be in hotels built by Sochi Olympics construction firms.

Since unrepentant aggressors like these will no doubt try to bypass this sanction, even if they rent a car both the GPS device and their E–ZPass transponder will be jammed by NSA, meaning that even if they can find a toll road, they will be forced to use the exact change booth.

And finally, to show Obama really means business, if any of these Russian Reprobates have more than 15 items in their cart when shopping, they will be ejected from the express lane.

There’s also a role in this for Vice President ‘Uncle Joe’ Biden — a nickname freighted with meaning for Russians. Proving irony isn’t dead in this administration, Biden will be visiting many of the Western nations were Obama earlier canceled plans to install anti–missile batteries after Putin objected.

While looking due East, Uncle Joe will advise these buffer states to buy shotguns and if they see any Russian troops playing footsie with their borders, go out on the balcony, point the muzzle skyward and fire a couple of rounds to scare the bear away.

Waivers Render Executive Order A Toothless Tiger

President Barack Obama signed into law the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA.) on July 1, 2010.  The law’s purpose was to convince the Iranian Government to comply with its full range of nuclear obligations, and engage in constructive negotiations on the future of its nuclear program.

On November 21, 2011, Obama signed Executive Order (EO) 13590. That EO called for sanctions on ANY entity (see Section 5) doing business with Iran, specifically buying Iranian oil. The sanctions were designed to affect financial institutions that conduct transactions with Iran’s central bank for the sale or purchase of petroleum and related products.

On April 26, 2012, Kenneth Katzman, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs at the Congressional Research Service, provided “Sanctions Targeting Foreign Energy Involvement in Iran: The Iran Sanctions Act (ISA), CISADA, and a November 2011 Executive Order” for Congress. In his report, Katzman says, “The President has had the authority under ISA to waive sanctions if he certifies that doing so is important to the U.S. national interest. CISADA changed the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) waiver standard to ‘necessary’ to the national interest.” (page 6)

Well, I guess issuing waivers has, in Obama’s mind, become necessary. In an announcement largely overshadowed by the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday, June 28, 2012, that the Obama administration was exempting China from sanctions called for in EO 13590 for continuing to buy Iran’s oil.

China’s imports of Iranian oil did decline substantially between January and May, 2012. The decline was attributed to a contract dispute between China’s state-controlled Sinopec and Iran’s National Iranian Oil Co. But when that dispute was resolved, China’s imports of Iranian crude rose again by 34.5 percent. Coincidence? You decide.

House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R – FL) said, “The administration likes to pat itself on the back for supposedly being strong on Iran sanctions. But actions speak louder than words, and today the administration has granted a free pass to Iran’s biggest enabler, China, which purchases more Iranian crude than any other country.”

Since March, 2012, a total of twenty waivers have been granted, including top Iran customers China, Japan, India, South Korea and Italy.

The signing of EO 13590 was widely covered by the MSM, predicting the new sanctions reflect an increasingly Trans-Atlantic response to Iran. The MSM predicted an expansion of the reach of existing sanctions and their potential impact on companies worldwide that interact with Iran’s financial and petroleum sectors. But with granting of waivers, EO 13590 has become a “toothless tiger,” a fact that the MSM has chosen to ignore.

But that’s just my opinion.

Please visit RWNO, my personal web site.

Claims of major nuclear advances coming from Iran

On Wednesday, in a continued show of defiance against sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union, Iran announced two major advances in its nuclear program. A CNN report said Iranian President Ahmadinejad was at the reactor to personally hand load domestically made file rods while also announcing a new generation of advanced centrifuges with the intent to produce yellowcake, which is used to enrich uranium. Yellowcake is a material which the United Nations has banned Iran from developing.

Tehran displayed further resistance as state media reported the Islamic Nation was taking steps to stop oil exports to six European countries as a result of the sanctions. This would include an oil ban. It’s reported Iran has already discontinued exports to France and the Netherlands while placing an ultimatum on Italy, Spain, Greece, and Portugal demanding they either sign long term contracts with Iran or be cut off completely. The ban on Iranian oil by the EU set to go in effect in July.

On Wednesday Iran’s head nuclear negotiator formally notified the EU’s foreign policy chief that Iran has a willingness to resume talks with world powers over its nuclear program. However many in the West feel it’s ploy to buy more time.

UK Embassy In Iran Stormed By Angry Rioters

The following is from BBC News:

Militant students are said to have removed the British flag, burnt it and replaced it with the Iranian flag.

They were also shown live on Iranian state TV throwing stones at embassy windows and breaking them.

The move comes after Iran resolved to reduce ties following the UK’s decision to impose further sanctions on it.

The students clashed with anti-riot police and chanted “the embassy of Britain should be taken over” and “death to England”, AP reports.

One protester was reported to be waving a framed picture of Queen Elizabeth II.

On Sunday, Iran’s parliament voted by a large majority to downgrade diplomatic relations with the UK after the UK Treasury imposed sanctions on Iranian banks the previous week, accusing them of facilitating the country’s nuclear programme.

Iran says its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes only… [read more]