US intel says Iran heeding Nuclear Pact : Trump trashes his own spymasters | Sunday Observer

US intel says Iran heeding Nuclear Pact : Trump trashes his own spymasters

Would you expect the world’s biggest and most successful military power, which continues to assert its global dominance, to be in public disarray over its perception of worldwide security threats? The United States of America’s President Donald Trump, touted as the world’s single most powerful person, last week publicly trashed his own top intelligence officials even as they testified before the US Senate about current worldwide threats against America’s security.

Meanwhile, in Palestine more civilian protesters were injured by Israeli troops firing at the regular Friday demonstration in the Gaza Strip against Israel’s seventy year occupation of Palestinian territory, especially the near-starvation siege of the Strip.

The good news from Lebanon, however, is that Acting Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri, has at last been able to swear in a governing coalition after eight months of political wrangling since the general elections last May.

Thus, Saudi Arabia’s clumsy attempt earlier to force Hariri out of his previous premiership has come to nought. The Saudis invited Hariri to Riyadh, in November 2017, and attempted to force him to give up his premiership – a move aimed at reducing Iran’s influence in Lebanon.

Last May’s parliamentary elections, however, affirmed the moderate Sunni Muslim Hariri’s popularity although his party’s reduced majority in parliament required intensive inter-party negotiations to re-build that multi-ethnic country’s governing coalition. Shia and moderate Sunni factions friendly with Iran actually enhanced their representation in the legislature, much to the dislike of Israel, the US and the Saudis.

Now, Hariri, whose family business has a lucrative operation in Saudi Arabia, has the job of reviving the Lebanese economy.

One time colonial power, France, is believed to have played a key role in the negotiations to build the coalition. Prior to the 1970s’ civil war, cosmopolitan Lebanon was one of West Asia’s richest economies and most stable and modern societies. Beirut at that time was a bustling financial hub.

In Washington on Tuesday, the CIA, DIA, FBI heads, all Trump appointees, led by Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, himself a Trump appointee, unanimously fully contradicted their president’s claims of a rising nuclear threat from Iran, the basis on which he took the US out of the Iran Nuclear control pact and is now piling on harsh sanctions against that struggling West Asian democracy (of sorts).

The heads of the US intelligence community were making their annual report to the Senate Intelligence Committee on their collective assessment of worldwide threats against the United States, arguably still the sole ‘superpower’.

Dan Coats, himself a veteran Republican Party politician, also contradicted his president’s continuing boasts that North Korea was no longer a nuclear threat, that Russia was innocent of cyber attacks on the US, and that the Islamic State group had been defeated. ‘No’ said the heads of American intelligence.

They all testified to the Senate, in a regular public hearing, that North Korea remained a rising military power equipped with weapons of mass destruction, that Russia had repeated its 2016 cyber attacks on the US elections system during the mid-term congressional elections last November, and that the IS was still capable of mobilising thousands of insurgents and remained a threat to America and the world.

The spymasters agreed with Central Intelligence Agency director Gina Haspel’s assessment that despite Trump’s will claims to the contrary, Iran remained in full compliance with the Nuclear control pact and that there was no indication that Tehran was working to undermine the agreement.

The ‘Worldwide Threats Assessment 2019’ presented to the Senate by the Director, National Intelligence (DNI) can be accessed on the Web.

Within hours of their publicly televisied testimony to the Senate Committee, Donald Trump began tweeting hostile comments against his own intelligence chiefs rubbishing their carefully formulated threat assessments and claiming that their statements were being quoted out of context. Political circles in Washington were abuzz with outrage that the superpower’s own top professional agencies were being publicly undermined by the head of state himself!

Such sharp contradictions between the political executive and key security agencies must surely undermine that state’s security capability in some ways. American security experts are discussing how much such public negativity by their own commander-in-chief would curb the efficiency of the spy agencies. It certainly exposes weaknesses within the system to America’s enemies.

After a century of American superpower dominance, is this another sign of the decay that is setting into a modern empire, the most powerful that the world has ever seen?

This emerging sharp policy disarray in security and foreign strategy in Washington complements what seems to be an even bigger sign of internal systemic decay revealed by the criminal probes into corruption and possible conspiracy with foreign enemy powers by the Trump presidency.

The FBI investigation headed by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller last week saw the highly publicised arrest of one of Trump’s closest long-time advisors, the notorious wheeler-dealer ‘strategist’ Roger Stone.

America is now agog as to whether the Mueller probe is getting even closer to the President himself. The media chatter in the US is that the next targets of the FBI probes will likely be the President’s own family members he had brought into the White House – his own elder son, Donald Trummp Jr. and rich son-in-law Jared Kushner. Both of them are seemingly implicated in election campaign dealings with Russian agents.