Swoop: “As we have forecast for some weeks, it now appears certain that the Administration has enough committed Democratic votes to ensure survival of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreed with Iran. Despite vigorous assertions from opponents of the deal that they will hold President Obama’s feet to the fire over strict adherence to the letter of the agrement, their Congressional options now seem exhausted. In an attempt to secure some form of bipartisan acceptance for the JCPOA, a set of ideas for a tougher containment strategy of Iran together with additional military aid to the Gulf States and Israel is now being floated with semi-official blessing. Secretary of Defense Carter has said that there are no limits to the potential US response in the event of Iranian cheating.
These ideas received an airing at the 4th September White House meeting between President Obama and Saudi King Salman. We expect the US to offer enhanced theater missile defense capabilities to its regional allies and naval assistance to the Saudis.
With regard to Israel, there is much speculation in Washington about whether the Israeli government will now seek to patch up relations with the White House or whether it will remain close to the Republican Party in opposing Obama. It does appear that the influence of traditionally potent Jewish organizations like AIPAC has suffered a setback.
Turning to the migrant crisis in Europe US officials to whom we have talked are focused on the humanitarian aspects rather than what they regard as inopportune suggestions that terrorist groups have infiltrated the refugee waves with the objective of establishing loyalist cells in Europe. In US eyes, this is a problem for the European Union.
One side effect is that European leaders who are stepping up to a leadership role, most notably German Chancellor Merkel, are emerging with enhanced credit as seen from Washington. The US has already agreed to accept substantial numbers of Syrian refugees and is likely to increase these in the coming weeks.
Finally on China, Pentagon experts tell us they were not surprised by the unveiling of the Chinese DF-21D anti-carrier missile, but concede that this is a troubling development. Together with sightings of Chinese naval vessels in the Bering Sea and new sanctions likely to be imposed on Chinese entities because of cyber attacks, the Washington-Beijing relationship remains a fragile one.”
1. President Barack Obama walks with Chief of Staff Denis McDonough on the South Lawn driveway of the White House, Sept. 3, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The newly developed anti-ship ballistic missile DF-21D as seen after the military parade held in Beijing to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII.