Conrad ‘Connie’ Brean: Can’t have a war without an enemy. . . You could have one, but it would be a very dull war . . . (Robert De Niro Wag the Dog)
The premise for the 1998 movie Wag the Dog has always had echoes of degradation with what is going on in the current White House and Donald Trump. The movie begins with a scandalous scenario where the president is accused of having an unwanted and illicit encounter with a young girl scout visiting the Oval Office. The fondling accusation proves to be true, and understandably, the White House is thrown into chaos. Making matters worse, the election is just a few days away putting the president in a precarious situation to say the least.
Enter a mysterious character played by Robert De Niro named Connie Brean. He along with the Anne Heche and Dustin Hoffman characters set out to create a diversion of monumental proportions – a fake war with Albania. What unfolds over the next 90 some odd minutes is a travesty of justice and a perversion of reality. Woody Harrelson and Willie Nelson (Good Ol’ Shoe) deliver riotous cameo appearances which only add to the surreal nature of the story line and add to the quixotic blend of what is and what could be.
In a real life scenario of art imitating life, the world is seeing much the same circumstances unfolding this week at a Polish conference in Warsaw dealing with stability in the Middle East or, more to the point, War with Iran. The conference is a serious attempt to redirect the world’s sentiments against Iran and is being attended by an array of heavy hitters from across the globe. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the embattled Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu are two of the most influential. And then there is Rudi. Yes, that Rudi. The mealy mouthed, bug eyed and unhinged Rudi Giuliani who is Trump’s personal lawyer and spokesman (using that term loosely).
Sixty-five governmental delegations are attending the talks with the theme of how best to control Iran’s future, and how to limit its extension of influence across the Middle East. No shrinking violet, Rudi went straight to the heart of the matter by stating,
For the president’s personal lawyer to make such a strong statement, the Oval Office must be staunchly supportive of his official presence there. Think again. Rudi made the trip to Warsaw representing his client the he National Council of Resistance of Iran. Also known as the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), the group was once a terrorist organization within Iran around the time of the 1979 revolution. The investigative group called the Intercept describes the group as,
Members of the MEK helped foment the 1979 Iranian revolution, in part by killing American civilians working in Tehran, but the group then lost a struggle for power to the Islamists. With its leadership forced to flee Iran in 1981, the MEK’s members set up a government-in-exile in France and established a military base in Iraq, where they were given arms and training by Saddam Hussein as part of a strategy to destabilize the government in Tehran that he was at war with.
In recent years, as The Intercept has reported, the MEK has poured millions of dollars into reinventing itself as a moderate political group ready to take power in Iran if Western-backed regime change ever takes place. To that end, it lobbied successfully to be removed from the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations in 2012. The Iranian exiles achieved this over the apparent opposition of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in part by paying a long list of former U.S. officials from both parties hefty speaking fees of between $10,000 to $50,000 for hymns of praise. The Intercept
While Rudi acknowledged he was not in Warsaw as an official delegate, nor would he attend the talks, his presence as a paid speaker for the goals of MEK is troubling.
One official delegate, Benjamin Netanyahu, however, was more than willing to speak his mind on the purpose of the talks and give his view of what he seeks to come out of the meeting. He stated,
Even before the conference began, the Israeli prime minister appeared to shrug off efforts by the State Department and the Polish government to portray the gathering as broadly focused on Middle East peace, describing it as primarily a meeting of Iran’s enemies. The Intercept
Never one to pull a punch, Netanyahu even went so far in the article to say “war with Iran is (the) aim of the Warsaw talks”. It doesn’t get more explicit than that in anyone’s mind. One has to ask why now? Why make incendiary statements about Iran now when peace in the Middle East is on the front burner of diplomatic circles in the region more than ever? More on this later.
Rudi is not the only MEK supporter in the ranks of the Trump administration. John Bolton is a supporter of MEK as well. Here is a tweet describing Bolton’s position on regime change in Iran,
The speech exile Kalbasi speaks of was well before Bolton was named as Trump’s national security adviser at a rally in Paris held by the MEK. He also predicted that the regime change imminent. He stated,
“The outcome of the president’s policy review should be to determine that the Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1979 revolution will not last until its 40th birthday,” Bolton said. (The 40th anniversary of the Iranian revolution will be on February 11, 2019.) “The declared policy of the United States should be the overthrow of the mullahs’ regime in Tehran,” Bolton added. “The behavior and the objectives of the regime are not going to change and, therefore, the only solution is to change the regime itself.”The Intercept
While he was obviously wrong, but the implications are disturbing coming from someone so mentally unstable and with so much power.
On Valentine’s Day, Mike Pence while attending the Warsaw Talks called out members of the European Union, most notably France and Germany, for trying to undermine the United States sanctions on Iran and urged them to pull out of the Iran nuclear treaty. Both countries refused to send delegates to the Warsaw meeting fearing the meeting would devolve into a free for all condemnation of Iran which would only further isolate the Iranian government from the rest of the region and the world.
Pence’s condemnation of the EU members is particularly galling considering that it was Trump who blew up part of the deal by withdrawing from the treaty. Barrack Obama secured the treaty in the hope of taking the only realistic course to impede Iran from furthering their nuclear capacity. All indications and reporting on the treaty point to the fact that the treaty is working and the U.S. sanctions are only exacerbating the problem. (PBS)
So, a quick score card of who’s who in the rush for war with Iran. There is Netanyahu who is facing corruption charges and a tough election coming up at home which bodes badly for him. John Bolton is simply a dyed-in-the-wool maniac when it comes to Iran, and who harbors a deep-seated need to blow them off the face of the earth. Mike Pence is little more than a puppet for whatever Trump tells him to think and say. Then there is Rudi, the president’s personal lawyer. It has become obvious Rudi does not have an intelligent thought in his head these days and has become the president’s stooge saying anything and everything that comes to mind.
But most of all, there is Trump himself. Beset by the Robert Mueller investigation, the newly empowered Democratic majority and Nancy Pelosi in the House of Representatives, and in the face of monumental failures in the form of the shut down and the newly signed immigration bill, it is safe to say Trump might be feeling the heat for all sides. The condemnation of Iran takes on both ominous and strategic importance to the president. Could there be ulterior motives behind the machinations of so many world leaders and their minions who are in such deep do do?
Or as Conrad ‘Connie” Breansaid: Can’t have a war without an enemy. . . You could have one, but it would be a very dull war . . . (Robert De Niro Wag the Dog)