Another shining moment in US foreign policy

On Monday, 8 Apr 2019, Mike Pompeo announced that the Iranian Republican Guard and Quds forces would be designated as terrorist organizations. These groups are part of the legitimate government of Iran, regardless of how one might feel about them. In effect, then, he has labeled the entire government as a terrorist organization, with severe sanctions to follow, starting on 15 April. What follows will be a good demonstration of how a chart for an administration works. John Bolton strikes again.

The chart for the Trump administration is below (bigger):

Trump was sworn in at noon exactly on 20 Jan 17 in Washington. It is a chart that describes quite a bit of self-absorption, hubris and possibly a great fall. The Sun/Moon combination points toward the self-absorption and self-importance. It is a combination that can be found among charismatic leaders, for good or ill, and is one that demands rather than deserves love and respect. Followers feel such a person or organization can do no wrong, but it takes constant effort to keep up the appearance of success. There is a sesquisquare between the Moon and Mars, which adds to the hubris, and this, along with the Mars/Saturn square, points to fundamental flaws in the thinking behind the organization. The Mars/Saturn square is found in the charts of people who have spectacular rises and falls – rags-to-riches-to-rags again. It is an aspect of poor decision-making, injecting a peculiar sort of good opinion of oneself that quite often has no basis in fact. If this sounds harsh, one only has to look at the decisions this administration has made and the sorts of statements made by the CEO.

The above being said, there is wealth indicated in the chart, by the Jupiter/Saturn sextile, but this too can add to the rise and fall. With Jupiter on the Vertex it describes an administration that can be successful in certain areas, but it also describes an unusually good outlook on the world at large. That conjunction is in the 6th house of services, including military and police services, and that has been a big theme of support trumpeted by this administration. The Scorpio Moon is also in the 6th house, trine to Neptune, and the militaristic nature of the administration has taken on a special glamor, with constant threats of military force against perceived threats. Neptune is in the 11th house of alliances, along with Mars, Chiron and Venus. The state of diplomacy since this administration took office has reached new lows across the spectrum – except for two allies. This takes us to Pluto.

Pluto is in the 9th house, highlighting the undue influence of foreign agents in US affairs, specifically Israel and Saudi Arabia. And it is those two nations that are driving US foreign policy in the Middle East. Pluto is sextile Venus, the latter co-ruling the 6th house (intercepted) and the Ascendant. Of more importance is the square between Uranus and Pluto, the latter conjunct Eris, and in that we see the ability of this administration to shake things up at an international level. These latter are in the 12th house in Aries (intercepted), further highlighting the influence of foreign interests, especially foreign enemies of the state and secret services. The reason the focus has been on the preceding points (there are other more favorable aspects in the chart) is because of the decision Trump has taken, or we should say, Bolton has directed. The transits for the statement yesterday show the details of what is actually taking place here. The charts is below (bigger):

There are three main features from the announcement, which we will cover in comments to follow:

  • Saturn square the Vertex axis
  • Jupiter conjunct Saturn and square Mars
  • Mars and Saturn forming a MP with Uranus, 45° modulus

The timing of this announcement is not lost on observers. It comes at a time when Iran is suffering under extreme flooding, which has been the result of heavy rains since mid-March. It was also the day before the elections in Israel, meant to give a final boost for Netanyahu, who is under investigation for fraud, and who is neck-and-neck with his closest competitor, Gantz. Bibi may just win the election. I would not be surprised. But that is neither here nor there with respect to this decision. The other thing the announcement is meant to do is to stifle aid going into Iran, which has been arranged internationally, but is now sitting in the ports unable to move because of fear of sanctioning. This in turn is meant to show the corruption that exists in the IRGC, but which really is a miscalculation on the part of the White House. The best way to show corruption is to let the aid through, which would show up the inadequacies of the Iranian government. The other reason it is a miscalculation is because sanctions like this only strengthen the groups they are meant to affect.

One feature of the administration chart is the placement of Saturn in the 8th house (international banking) and its use of sanctions as a cudgel and punishment measure, shown by the square by Mars to Saturn, with Mars in the house of international diplomacy and alliances. This was activated by Jupiter transiting, and represents an over-optimistic view of what the announcement will achieve. These sanctions will have various effects.

Firstly, the sanctions are aimed at completely strangling the Iranian economy, hopefully (in the administration’s eyes) to cause an uprising in Iran that would lead to a government more amenable to Washington. In looking at Iran’s chart, there may be a change of government in the next couple of years, but it will not be within the time frame of this administration. And even then, who knows what would eventuate from it? Such a change may only mean a reshuffle of the present government instead of a wholesale revolution. I see stresses for Iran in the next couple of years, but nothing representing a revolution. Something more in the nature of a leadership spill is indicated, which is not really what Washington is after. That’s another story.

Secondly, the sanctions are aimed at nations who trade with Iran – China, India, Russia and Europe especially. In particular it would appear to be aimed at European nations seeking to keep the JCPOA intact. This will only further alienate Europeans from Washington over time. Iranian oil is necessary for the energy security of Europe, without causing too much financial difficulty should it be withdrawn. Italy, Spain, Germany and Greece are Iran’s biggest European trading partners. Turkey and Japan will also be affected.

And the transits of Mars and Saturn to Uranus point to “the inclination to apply brute force”, which is what these sanctions will amount to. They will be brutal. Transiting Saturn square to the admin Vertex axis shows the controlling nature of the announcement, with Saturn transiting the 9th house (foreign trade, foreign commerce and foreign relations in general). With the Vertex itself in the 6th house it shows the militaristic outlook of the administration, and its unpredictable nature, as shown by Uranus un the Antivertex.

Thirdly, I have heard many comments to the effect that Bolton and Co. are seeking to start a war with Iran. Lockheed Martin and Boeing would love it. Trump would again be ‘presidential’. Israel and the Saudis would like nothing better – so long as the US steps into the fray. They would not dare attempt such a thing on their own, though. However, most senior military officials in the US have warned against such a move. Frankly, a war is pretty much out of the question, as well as not showing up in Iran’s astrology, and for a variety of reasons. That again, is another story.

If we really want insight into why this move by the Trump administration is such an ill-conceived and poorly-thought move, consider the following Twitter thread from a man who knows the situation with Iran quite well:

Usual suspects pushed Trump to designate IRGC as FTO. Why? –

  • Constrain Trump’s deal-making instincts –
  • Box in next US president on Iran (Dems say will rejoin JCPOA) –
  • Force Lebanon/Iraq into picking between Iran/US –
  • Force Europe to further cut whatever meager outreach

Beyond these five objectives, ultimately – as has been case not just since Jan 2017 but even prior to that, true aim of usual suspects is to: –

  • provoke Iran to scrap JCPOA –
  • and, ideally, initiate military confrontation

Question now is what’s next. Ball is in Iran’s court.

Iran may take several steps to respond in kind, albeit in a relatively measured manner. First and foremost, the Iranian Parliament will likely move to label the US military a terrorist organization. MPs have already made this clear.

Second, Iran just handed pretext to pressure Europe to *back off* from making increased noise about missiles & regional influence. –

  • E3 recently sent letter to UNSC re: missiles –
  • G7 communique said enothing about UNSCR 2231 (endorsing JCPOA) This behavior will boomerang.

Third, Quds Force will liaise with regional partners which are also directly/indirectly targeted by US Govt. Most of these key QF partners are based in Lebanon and Iraq. And they are part of/paid by national Govts. They now have even more incentive to harass/expel US forces.

Having said this, those who aim to provoke Iran into shooting itself in the foot – incl by entering direct clash with US military – will be left disappointed. If Iran opts for a measured and highly calibrated response, it is for one reason:

Iran will continue to play long game. Unlike those behind IRGC’s FTO designation, Iranian leaders have one key advantage: Consistency in leadership and thus luxury of strategic patience: smth that potential one-term White House residents (and their groupies) can only dream of.

If anyone is aware of Iran’s long game, it’s those in power in Beirut & Baghdad (who have been in partnership with IRI for almost 40 yrs). Those who believe “maximum pressure” over 2 or even 6 yrs will decide these relationships only display cluelessless abt how region works.

So what’s end result of show put on today? US pressure on Iraq to halt Iran natural gas/electricity imports good case study: Reluctant US sanctions waivers; Iraqi promises to cut “in a few years” (while signing more deals with Iran). E.g. prime can-kicking on all sides.

Now, if anyone is to be potentially genuinely (and immediately) impacted by FTO designation, it will be potentially millions of Iranians/Iraqis/Syrians/Lebanese/Afghans/Pakistani young men. Allow me to elaborate…

Per US State Dept, “It’s a crime for a person in US or subject to jurisdiction of US to knowingly provide ‘material support or resources’ to or receive military-type training from or on behalf of a designated FTO. Source: Why does this matter?

All able Iranian males must undergo military service. All conscripts have to do basic military training. Those with degrees are then usually sent to serve in state offices. Many others end up in barracks. So basically everyone ends up trained by either Army (Artesh) or IRGC.

Depending on how far US wants to take “receiving military-type training from or on behalf of designated FTO”, we’re thus talking about millions of Iranians (and 100s of 1000s of men from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan etc trained by QF) now classified as criminals.

And It gets even more twisted since to be allowed to exit Iran, you either need to have done your military service or been exempt from it. So we’re talking about potential of 1000s of *Iranian-Americans* + Iranian students possibly having become “criminals” overnight.

But this isn’t all. Now that Bolton and Co. have decided to do this, the Iranian leadership will do tit-for-tat and designate the US Central Command as a terrorist organization (FTO). Think what that means the next time an American soldier is captured by the Iranians, or some other group and transferred to Iran.

Another salient point raised in the thread is the aspect of domestic politics. Trump’s moves for Israel since his taking office are widely thought to have been at the behest of his largest donors, foremost among them the Adelsons. This particular move was done at the behest of Netanyahu, and it poses a problem for Democrats, should they take back control. And the announcement came just a few days after the Mueller investigation wrapped up. But there is a further point, too. There is bipartisan support for Israel in Congress and this plays well to Trump’s voter base. So long as there is such control over the Congress and Trump by Israel, there will be no ‘draining of the swamp’.

No good will come of this. All it will do is to escalate tensions and put all parties on a higher alert status. As with the recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory, this is against international law and simple common sense. It has not been a shining example of US foreign policy. Quite the opposite. The Middle East just became that much more dangerous. And it will benefit us well to ask ourselves who, indeed, this is actually serving – US or foreign interests?

Featured pic from Al Jazeera

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