OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALLY ON EVERY SIDE OF EVERY MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT

obama-wut-AP-640x480Breitbart, by Ben Shapiro, March 26, 2015:

On Wednesday, the government of Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes against Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, which has now collapsed into civil war. Egypt is set to join in the Saudi effort even as Saudi Arabia establishes a no-fly zone. Meanwhile, rebels claimed that Yemen’s president, Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, fled Aden in advance of their consolidation of power on the ground. And Iran, which has fomented the chaos in Yemen, has warned Saudi Arabia that it had taken a “dangerous step.”

The good news: In President Obama’s world, none of this is happening. It’s all Skittles and rainbows for the White House.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest insisted Wednesday that President Obama’s September 2014 characterization of Yemen as an anti-terror success story was perfectly accurate. Earnest told Jonathan Karl of ABC News, “The White House does continue to believe that a successful counter-terrorism strategy is one that will build up the capacity of the central government to have local fighters on the ground to take the fight to extremists in their own country.” Karl called the exchange “astounding.”

But Earnest wasn’t done. Ed Henry of Fox News incredulously asked, “The President said it’s a success. He was wrong, right? Why can’t you say he was wrong and we’re trying to fix it?”

Earnest answered, “We have put intense pressure on extremists inside of Yemen, and it has mitigated the threat that they have posed to the U.S. and the West.” Pressure, like calling the Houthis, who chant “Death to America, Death to Israel, a Curse on the Jews, and Victory to Islam,” a “legitimate political constituency.”

But it’s not like the White House is doing nothing about Yemen. Earnest explained the Obama administration’s powerful move for peace: “We would call on [the Houthis] to stop that instability and that violence and cooperate with this UN-led process to resolve the difference among all the sides.”

That solves that!

At the same moment the White House supports the Saudi airstrikes in Yemen, it acts as the air force for Iran in Iraq against ISIS. Beginning Wednesday, the U.S. launched airstrikes against ISIS in Tikrit, The Daily Beast noted that the airstrikes marked a shift in American policy, since “the American military has long insisted that it wouldn’t coordinate too closely with the Iranians, even as both forces fight a common enemy in Iraq: ISIS.” The Daily Beast reported some qualms from the Pentagon about “the implications of coming to the rescue of a failed Iranian-led effort.”

Meanwhile, the White House continues to negotiate a nuclear deal with the Iranians, even as the Iranians foment precisely the chaos in Yemen the White House opposes – or at least pretends to oppose. Secretary of State John Kerry, presumably while humming “Everything Is Awesome!” from The Lego Movie, said that the United States had no choice but to come to a deal with the Iranians, since if the United States were to “walk away from a plan that the rest of the world were to deem to be reasonable … the talks would collapse. Iran would have the ability to go right back spinning its centrifuges and enriching to the degree they want … and the sanctions will not hold.” This, of course, neglects the fact that the reason the sanctions will no longer hold is because the Obama administration has spent years undermining them. As for the deal itself, the Iranians now insist that no deal be reduced to writing, and that snap inspections of nuclear facilities play no role in the deal. The deal will reportedly be consummated with a pinky swear.

The shotgun strategy of diplomacy – if you fire at everyone, you’re bound to hit someone! – is the administration’s new “lead from behind.” Even Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, the Obama administration’s designated journalistic court Jew, was forced to briefly stop typing one-handed while gazing longingly at President Obama’s portrait to tweet, “Negotiating with the Iranians in Switzerland, bombing their allies in Yemen, bombing their enemies in Syria and Iraq. Makes sense.” (Minutes later, Goldberg went back to one-handed typing, tweeting, “People who blame mainly WH for current Middle East mess aren’t really focused on nature and history of Middle East mess.” Ah, well.)

Nearly every country in the Middle East is now at war, thanks in large part to the complete absence of any coherent policy from the world’s only superpower. And we are on every side of all of those wars. Iran and its associated forces are at war in Iraq (We support Iran in Iraq, but only after opposing Iran in Iraq.), Syria (Assad had to go until he didn’t.), Lebanon (We just took Hezbollah off the terrorist group list.), and Yemen (where we are okay with the Houthis, except when we support bombing them). Lebanon, Syria, and the Palestinians are at war with Israel. (We fund Israel’s Iron Dome, but rip them when they exercise their right to self-defense and cut off arms shipments mid-war, then castigate them as non-democratic for not negotiating with terrorists.) Egypt (where we supported the Muslim Brotherhood and then the coup against the Muslim Brotherhood and then opposed the regime that ousted the Muslim Brotherhood) is at war with Libya (where we ousted Muammar Qadaffi and then watched as the state turned into a terrorist playpen) and Yemen. Saudi Arabia (whom we oppose in their efforts to stop Iranian nukes) is at war with Yemen (where we are on the side of the Saudis) and in a proxy war with Iran. (We’re not sure.) Tunisia, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and Syria are all in civil war. Now, there are reports that the Saudis and Jordanians and Egyptians are all seeking nuclear weapons not to fight Israel, but to counter Iran.

But at least President Obama has his Nobel Peace Prize. And his delusions.

Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the new book,The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.

Also see:

Obama’s Kabuki Dance with Iran Fueling Mullahs’ Hegemony in Middle East

ap_ap-photo681-640x426Breitbart, by JAMES LYONS, March  25,  2015:

The current Kabuki dance ongoing in Geneva between Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Jamad Zarif regarding an agreement on Iran’s nuclear weapons program is a sham. Its outcome was pre-ordained many years ago by President Obama in his secret communications with the Iranian mullahs in 2008– at least according to one report.

These secret communications were exposed in a August 29, 2014 article written by Michael Ledeen in PJ Media and drew little attention then, but now must be addressed. According to Ledeen, shortly after Barack Obama clinched the Democratic nomination for president on June 3, 2008, he also opened a secret communication channel to the Iranian mullahs.  The message was that they should not sign any nuclear agreement with the Bush administration on preventing Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon capability. He informed them that he would be much easier to deal with once he assumed the presidency. He further assured the mullahs that he was a “friend” of the Iranian theocracy and that they would be very happy with his policies.

Today, Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism that has been “at war” with the United States since the 1979 takeover of our Tehran U.S. Embassy. Since then, Iran has directed many “acts of war” against the United States that have cost the loss of thousands of American lives. Most importantly, Iran provided the key material and training support to the 9/11 hijackers, which cost the lives of 3,000 innocent Americans.

The secret channel was conducted through Ambassador William G. Miller, who previously served in Iran during the Shah’s reign. The Ambassador confirmed to Ledeen the aforementioned communications he personally held with the Iranian mullahs on behalf of candidate Obama during the 2008 campaign. The Iranian mullahs apparently believed the message since on July 20, 2oo8, the New York Times reported “Nuclear Talks with Iran End on a Deadlock.”  The main reason was that Iran would not address the “international demands that it stop enriching uranium.”  What a surprise!

The shocking fact is that candidate Obama secretly told the Iranian mullahs not to make a deal until he assumed the presidency, according to Ledeen’s report. They would then be able to make a much better agreement with him – and that’s exactly what’s happening. Some would consider what candidate Obama did was treason.

President Obama abandoned the requirement that Iran stop enriching uranium.  The result has been that Iran’s nuclear program has been greatly expanded with more secret underground facilities and expanded capability during the course of the long, drawn out negotiations. When the interim agreement, called the “Joint Plan of Action,” was announced in late 2013, the Iranian president openly bragged that the West had finally acknowledged Iran’s right to its uranium enrichment program.

Iran’s chief negotiator, Foreign Minister Zarif, furthermore bragged that Iran “did not agree to dismantle anything; not its centrifuges; not its ballistic missile program; not its nuclear programs.”  It also did not give up its role as the leading state sponsor of terrorism. By his cooperation with Iran in combatting the Islamic State, he is actually sanctioning de facto Iranian hegemony throughout the Persian Gulf region.

Andy McCarthy, in his book Faithless Execution, lays out a very detailed and logical case for President Obama’s impeachment. Even Liberal law professors are now talking about Obama’s many abuses of power, too many to list here.  A summary of President Obama’s extensive violations of law and dereliction of duty are covered on pages 11-26 of Faithless Execution. President Obama’s use and abuse of power is clearly out of control. We are in a Constitutional crisis.

The Constitution vests in the House of Representatives “the sole power of impeachment.”  With a Republican controlled House of Representatives, a simple House Majority can vote out articles of impeachment. However, successfully impeaching a president means removing him from office. Removal requires the president’s conviction on articles of impeachment by a two-thirds vote of the Senate. Even with a Republican controlled Senate, this will require much work.

Clearly the Speaker of the House of Representatives must start the process. If the current Speaker is unable to find the courage to start the impeachment proceedings, then he should resign. The House members should elect a new Speaker who is prepared to live up to his Oath of Office and protect the Constitution. The survival of America as we know it, as the shining city on the hill, must come first before any party politics.

James A. Lyons, U.S. Navy retired Admiral, was commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.

Obama Accused of Obstructing Battle against Boko Haram to Promote Axelrod’s Nigerian Muslim Client

timthumb (12)AIM, by James SimpsonMarch 26, 2015:

When the notorious Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, kidnapped 278 school girls from the town of Chibok in northeastern Nigeria last year, Michelle Obama began a Twitter hashtag campaign, #BringBackOurGirls. But behind the scenes, the Obama administration was undermining Nigeria’s efforts to take the battle to the terrorists. Obama refused to sell Nigeria arms and supplies critical to the fight, and stepped in to block other Western allies from doing so. The administration also denied Nigeria intelligence on Boko Haram from drones operating in the area. While Boko Haram was kidnapping school girls, the U.S. cut petroleum purchases from Nigeria to zero, plunging the nation’s economy into turmoil and raising concerns about its ability to fund its battle against the terrorists. Nigeria responded by cancelling a military training agreement between the two countries.

The Nigerian presidential election is coming up Saturday, March 28, 2015. AKPD, the political consulting group founded by Obama confidante David Axelrod, is assisting Retired Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim presidential candidate from Muslim-dominated northern Nigeria, where Boko Haram was spawned and wields the most influence. Buhari is well-known throughout the country, having led as “Head-of-State” following a military coup in 1983. He was dislodged following another coup in 1985.

Democracy is a recent phenomenon in Nigeria. With the exception of two short periods from its independence in 1960 to 1966, and the second republic from 1979 to 1983, the country was ruled by a string of military dictatorships between 1966 and 1999.

Under the All Progressives Congress (APC) banner, Buhari is putting up a stiff challenge to the sitting president, Dr. Ebele Goodluck Jonathan who hails from Nigeria’s Christian south. Buhari was also the North’s presidential candidate in the last election held in 2011.

Axelrod is credited as the force behind President Obama’s election victories in 2008 and 2012. He served as Obama’s Senior Advisor until 2011. A well-placed Nigerian interviewed for this report who asked to remain unidentified says that influential Nigerians within and outside the government believe Obama deliberately undermined the war effort and sabotaged the Nigerian economy to make President Jonathan appear weak and ineffectual, and thus bolster the electoral prospects for AKPD’s client, Buhari.

The prominent daily Nigerian Tribune cites an activist group, Move on Nigeria, complaining that the U.S. is fueling tension in Nigeria and has “continued to publicly magnify every challenge of the Nigerian government.”

An anti-Buhari Nigerian blogger writing in the Western Post went further:

In the last year, Nigeria sought aid from the White House for many initiatives, including the fight against Boko Haram.

The Obama administration refused to do anything but play [sic] lip service to Nigeria’s requests. However, it used public and private channels to internationally magnify every failure Nigeria’s government experienced.

In the last year, since the involvement of Axelrod’s firm, relations between the two nations have significantly deteriorated, with the US refusing to sell arms to Nigeria, a significant reduction in the purchase of Nigeria’s oil, and the cancellation of a military training agreement between Nigeria and the USA.

In turn, the Buhari-led Nigerian opposition used the U.S. government’s position as validation for their claim that the Nigerian government was a failure.

Nigerian officials seeking to purchase weapons, especially Cobra attack helicopters, were outraged at Obama’s refusal to allow these transactions. Nigeria’s ambassador to the U.S., Professor Adebowale Adefuye, stated publicly that:

The U.S. government has up till today refused to grant Nigeria’s request to purchase lethal equipment that would have brought down the terrorists within a short time on the basis of the allegations that Nigeria’s defence forces have been violating human rights of Boko Haram suspects when captured or arrested.

We find it difficult to understand how and why, in spite of the U.S. presence in Nigeria, with their sophisticated military technology, Boko Haram should be expanding and becoming more deadly.

Another official quoted in the Nigerian newspaper ThisDay, stated:

The U.S. government has frustrated Nigeria all the way in our war against terrorism despite its public statements in support of Nigeria, as it fights the Boko Haram insurgents in the North-east… They want us to fight Boko Haram with our arms tied to our backs.

They have blocked us from procuring the helicopters and would not provide us with intelligence despite the fact that they have several drones and sophisticated aircraft overflying the North-east of Nigeria from bases in Niger and Chad where the Boko Haram fighters and movements are clearly in their sights.

Retired Col. Abubakar Umar, a former military governor, concluded that the Americans “have decided to turn a blind eye to what is happening in Nigeria.”

Former Head-of-State, Retired Gen. Yakubu Gowon publicly stated last November that America is no friend of Nigeria.

After exhausting all avenues, the Nigerian government finally turned to Russia, China and the black market to obtain needed arms, and as a result has gone aggressively on the offensive against Boko Haram, retaking some 40 towns occupied by the group and killing at least 500 terrorists. According to recent accounts, Boko Haram has gone to ground in the northeastern border regions. But whereas the border states of Niger, Chad, Benin and Cameroon formerly took a hands-off approach, they have now joined in the effort to destroy the group, pledging a total of 8,700 troops. Most recently, Boko Haram has been cleared of its northeastern strongholds in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.

U.S. Excuses

The Obama administration has said it is barred from supplying weapons by the so-called Leahy Amendment which forbids foreign states that have committed “gross human rights violations” from receiving military aid. However this did not stop the U.S. from sending Special Forces to Uganda—another country accused of such violations—to assist in capturing Lord Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony. Nor did it prevent Obama from supporting al Qaeda-linked rebel groups in Libya, who later went on to attack the Benghazi mission, and have now joined ISIS. The Syrian “moderates” the administration claimed to back are also allegedly joining with ISIS.

In fact, Obama supported the Islamic radicals who destabilized states throughout the Middle East, including Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, and did little to prevent Iranian-backed Shiites from overthrowing Yemen—a key ally in the War on Terror. And despite claims that the U.S. “does not negotiate with terrorists,” the administration did so in secret with the Taliban for years, most notoriously over the release of Bowe Bergdahl.

The U.S. State Department is currently negotiating a deal that will enable Iran to obtain the bomb, and it just declared that Iran and its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, are not terrorists. The administration even claims Iran has been an ally in the War on Terror! Finally, Axelrod’s client, Buhari, has been accused of human rights abuses during his time as chief-of-state.

To top it off, Secretary of State John Kerry made a mockery of the administration’s pretext by hinting in January meetings with both Jonathan and Buhari that the Obama administration might allow weapon sales after the election. If the U.S. was so concerned about human rights violations, how could a mere election change that? Given the perception that Buhari has Obama’s implicit support, this sends an unmistakable message.

The administration also rationalized its decision to cut purchases of Nigerian oil by claiming that output from domestic oil fracking has reduced America’s dependence on foreign oil. But that begs the question: why have U.S. oil imports from other nations increased at the same time? Nigeria was formerly among America’s top five oil supplying countries, and America its largest customer. Nigeria relies on oil revenues for 70 percent of its budget. America’s decision to look elsewhere has been catastrophic for Nigeria’s economy.

A Deutsche Bank analyst noted that the decline in Nigeria’s oil sales to America “proceeded much faster than for the U.S.’ other major suppliers,” and concluded that singling Nigeria out this way had to be driven by politics.

Nigeria is not the only country where Obama is using oil as a foreign policy weapon. The U.S. has not renewed its 35-year-old agreement with Israel to provide emergency supplies of oil, despite booming U.S. oil production. The agreement expired in November 2014. At the time, the State Department claimed to be working on renewing the agreement, but has yet to do so.

U.S. Media AWOL

There is not a single article mentioning Axelrod’s assistance to Buhari in any U.S. “mainstream” media outlet. Only the Washington Free Beacon ran a story.

A Google search of “New York Times, Nigeria, Axelrod,” found only one Times article titled Nigerian Soldiers Noticeably Absent in Town Taken from Boko Haram. There was no mention of Axelrod or his relationship to Nigeria’s Muslim candidate, Buhari. Rather, it criticized Nigeria’s participation in the recent multi-country effort to remove Boko Haram from its northeastern Nigerian holdouts, quoting Chadian foreign minister, Moussa Faki Mahamat, who said, “The Nigerian Army has not succeeded in facing up to Boko Haram.”

There are however, many flattering articles about Axelrod, like the Times review of his book, Believer.

NBC News reported on the oil issue, quoting Peter Pham, the Atlantic Council’s director of its Africa Program, who characterized it as “a sea change in [Nigeria’s] relations with the United States, a sea change in its geopolitical position in the world.”

NBC also noted Nigerian ambassador Adefuye’s complaint about U.S. refusal to provide weapons to Nigeria, and how both issues impacted Nigeria’s ability to fight Boko Haram—but there was no mention of Axelrod’s assistance to Buhari.

Buhari Connected to Boko Haram?

Boko Haram is a virulently anti-Western Islamist movement. Its name, roughly translated, means “fake education is forbidden,” but in practice the term “fake” refers to Western education. It was founded in 2002 by Mohammed Yusuf, a Salafist preacher who created a school to provide an Islamic alternative to Westernized schools. Over time it became a recruiting tool for Boko Haram fighters. The group envisions creating an Islamic caliphate throughout Africa. Yusuf was killed by police in a 2009 uprising, and was replaced by Abubakar Shekau, who recently pledged the group’s alliance with ISIS. Let’s review just what kind of monsters these Boko Haram terrorists are:

Certain Buhari supporters such as Ango Abdullahi of the Northern Elders Forum(NEF), have been accused of tacitly supporting Boko Haram, and Jonathan’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has linked Buhari himself with the terrorists. The alleged connection however, is an open question. In 2013, Buhari protested a government crackdown on the group. In 2012, Boko Haram nominated Buhari as one of six mediators in negotiations with the government over a proposed ceasefire. In 2001, Buhari expressed his desire to see Nigeria ruled by Sharia law,saying:

I will continue to show openly and inside me the total commitment to the Sharia movement that is sweeping all over Nigeria… God willing, we will not stop the agitation for the total implementation of the Sharia in the country.

However, Boko Haram attempted to assassinate Buhari last year in a suicide bomb attack that killed 82. More recently, the group called both him and Jonathan “Infidels.” For his part, Buhari called the group “bigots masquerading as Muslims.” Buhari also ruthlessly suppressed a similar group, the Maitatsine, during his time as military head-of-state. Buhari’s vice-presidential running mateis a Pentecostal pastor from the south. Similarly, Jonathan picked a Muslim from the north as his number two.

But much violence has surrounded Buhari’s past efforts. Nigeria has a practice of alternating northern and southern rule called zoning. In the 2011 election, Jonathan was president, having ascended from the vice presidency in 2010 following the death of President Umaru Yar’Adau, a northerner. Some Northern politicians believed that Buhari should have assumed the presidency in 2011.

Abdullahi and others, at that time, threatened violence if Buhari wasn’t elected. Buhari himself refused to condemn violence. This was universally interpreted as encouragement from Buhari. Within hours of Jonathan’s election—what was believed to be one of Nigeria’s historically fairest—Buhari’s Muslim supporters took to the streets, attacking Jonathan supporters with machetes and knives. Following Jonathan’s inauguration, Boko Haram launched a wave of bombings, killing and wounding dozens. An estimated 800 people died in the post-election violence in the Muslim north.

A prominent Nigerian deputy governor, Tele Ikuru, who recently abandoned the APC to join Jonathan’s PDP, called the APC “a party of rebels, insurgents and anarchists, clothed in the robes of pretence and deceit.”

Embarrassed by the kidnapping and the perceived association between Buhari’s supporters and Boko Haram, AKPD claimed that they discontinued work for Buhari in early 2014. However, The Washington Free Beacon has unearthed emails showing that they continued to quietly aid APC into at least January of this year.

Their campaign appears to have been successful. While Nigerian election polls are conflicting, the most recent one projects Buhari the winner by a wide margin. Not surprisingly, the reasons cited for Jonathan’s unpopularity include the perception that he is weak and ineffectual against Boko Haram, and that the economy is in a sorry state. Nigerians have taken to calling the president “Bad Luck” Jonathan.

Nigeria’s Critical Role and U.S. Policy Failures

Most Americans are unaware of the critical role Nigeria plays in African politics. In addition to being Africa’s largest oil producer, Nigeria is also the continent’s most populous nation, with an estimated 162 million people, and is home toapproximately 12.5 percent of the world’s total black population. Additionally, Nigerian Americans are very productive and well represented in the fields of medicine, sports, engineering, and academics. Annual remittances are $21 billion, with America providing the largest proportion. It is ironic at best that America’s so-called “first black president” is alienating such a nation, especially given its powerful influence throughout Africa.

Because of Obama, America is losing allies the world over. Despite his so-called outreach to “the Muslim world,” the few Muslim allies America has are calling him out. For example, observe the unprecedented spectacle of Arabs cheering Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before the U.S. Congress. Columnist Dr. Ahmad Al-Faraj of the Saudi daily newspaper Al-Jazirah, called Obama “the worst president in American history.” The only Muslims Obama seems to like are those who hate America, and he is going out of his way to court them, come what may.

James Simpson is an economist, businessman and investigative journalist. His articles have been published at American Thinker, Accuracy in Media,Breitbart, PJ Media, Washington Times, WorldNetDaily and others. His regular column is DC Independent Examiner. Follow Jim on Twitter &Facebook

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US military, diplomatic personnel quit Yemen as country descends into civil war

A protest against the Houthis on Sunday in Taiz, Yemen. Credit Anees Mahyoub/Reuters

A protest against the Houthis on Sunday in Taiz, Yemen. Credit Anees Mahyoub/Reuters

LWJ, by BILL ROGGIO, March 22nd, 2015:

The US governemnt has withdrawn its military and remaining diplomatic personnel from Yemen as the security situation has spiraled out of control over the past week. Among the forces pulled from Yemen were more than 100 military advisors who were training Yemeni counterterrorism personnel to battle al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The withdrawal of US forces from Yemen takes place just six months after President Barack Obama described the US strategy of partnering with local Yemeni forces as “one that we have successfully pursued … for years.”

The US yanked its military forces Al Anad Air Base after AQAP forces and allied tribes briefly took control of the nearby city of Houta, the capital of Lahj province, on March 20. Al Anad is located just 20 miles north of Houta. Yemeni military forces loyal to ousted President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who is based in the nearby city of Aden, regained control of Houta after AQAP fighters withdrew without a fight.

The US military has not commented on the withdrawal of its forces from Al Anad, which was a key node in the US and Yemeni governments’ fight against AQAP. But the US State Department confirmed in a press release that the US government “has temporarily relocated its remaining personnel out of Yemen.”

“We also continue to actively monitor terrorist threats emanating from Yemen and have capabilities postured in the area to address them,” State claimed. “As we have in the past, we will take action to disrupt continuing, imminent threats to the United States and our citizens.”

The US Embassy in Sana’a was evacuated at the end of February. US Marines stationed at the embassy had to disable and abandon their weapons prior to boarding a civilian flight out of the country.

AQAP’s foray into Houta was preceded by attacks from the rival Islamic State, Shia Houthi rebels, and infighting between forces loyal to President Hadi. Additionally, today Houthi forces have taken control of the city of Taiz, Yemen’s third largest and are now just 120 miles from Aden, The New York Times reported.

On March 20, the Islamic State deployed four suicide bombers at two Houthi mosques in the capital of Sana’a’, killing more than 100 worshiper. The Islamic State threatened to carry out more such attacks.

On the previous day, forces loyal to Hadi battled a rival military commander at Aden’s international airport. Thirteen people were killed before Hadi’s troops took control of the airport, Reuters reported. During the fighting, an aircraft thought to have been flown by the Houthi-led government based in Sana’a struck the presidential palace in Aden.

Hadi fled to Aden in late February after escaping house arrest in Sana’a. He was forced to resign his presidency in January after intense pressure from the Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi rebels, who took control of much of northern and western Yemen late last summer. Hadi has been the US’ biggest supporter in the fight against al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. He was a vocal supporter of the unpopular drone strikes, which have targeted al Qaeda’s leaders and operatives in Yemen.

Yemen is one of several key bases for al Qaeda’s global network. Some of al Qaeda’s top leaders operate from Yemen, including Nasir al Wuhayshi, who serves as general manager in addition to AQAP’s emir. While the US has killed several key AQAP leaders since ramping up drone and air strikes in Yemen at the end of 2009, Wuhayshi and much of AQAP’s leadership cadre continue to operate. In addition to seeking to take control of Yemen, AQAP has been has been at the forefront of plotting attacks against the US and the West.

The withdrawal of US forces is a major blow to President Obama’s hands-off approach in the Middle East. On Sept. 11, 2014, Obama touted the counterterrorism strategy of US airpower working with “partner forces on the ground” in both Yemen and Somalia as “one that we have successfully pursued … for years.” [See LWJreports, US strategy against Islamic State to mirror counterterrorism efforts in Yemen, Somalia, and President Obama’s ‘successful’ counterterrorism strategy in Yemen in limbo.]

Today, the US has few Yemeni forces left to partner with and a limited ability to do so. Whatever friendly forces that do remain are confined to limited geographical area and over the next several weeks and months will be focusing on survival.

***

Also see:

Obama Peddles Osama’s Propaganda

The Blaze, by Benjamin Weingarten, March 20, 2015:

Without America there would be no Islamic State.

Indeed, without America there would have been no Cold War. Without the Cold War there would have been no need to arm and train the Mujahideen against the Soviets. Without the Mujahideen there would have been no Al Qaeda. Without Al Qaeda there would have been no Iraq War. And without the Iraq War there would have been no Islamic State. Or as President Barack Obama put it:

ISIL is a direct outgrowth of Al Qaeda in Iraq which grew out of our invasion which is an example of unintended consequences which is why we should generally aim before we shoot.

Such is the pretzel logic to which one must subscribe if one is to believe the president.

Which is to say that Barack Obama’s argument during a recent interview with VICE News is patently absurd.

(Image Source: VICE News/YouTube screengrab)

(Image Source: VICE News/YouTube screengrab)

But there is something worse than the absurdity of the president’s remarks, his implicit banal Bush-bashing and unwillingness or inability to ever take responsibility for anything – the least of which includes his failure to negotiate a status of forces agreement with Iraq.

President Obama’s argument in the main is that America’s actions in the Middle East create terrorists. But by invoking “blowback,” he is parroting precisely the propaganda that Al Qaeda, Islamic State and other jihadist groups want us to repeat, while ignoring the self-evident truth that their actions come not from without but from within. In so doing, as when he raised the scepter of The Crusades, the president provides a veneer of legitimacy and even moral standing to genocidal Islamic supremacists who seek to destroy Western civilization and create a global caliphate.

The words of Osama bin Laden himself are germane to this argument. Witness what Al Qaeda’s godfather said during a May 1998 interview with ABC’s John Miller:

The call to wage war against America was made because America has spear-headed the crusade against the Islamic nation, sending tens of thousands of its troops to the land of the two Holy Mosques over and above its meddling in its affairs and its politics, and its support of the oppressive, corrupt and tyrannical regime that is in control. These are the reasons behind the singling out of America as a target.

…The wrongs and the crimes committed against the Muslim nation are far greater than can be covered by this interview. America heads the list of aggressors against Muslims.

…They rip us of our wealth and of our resources and of our oil. Our religion is under attack. They kill and murder our brothers. They compromise our honor and our dignity and dare we utter a single word of protest against the injustice, we are called terrorists. This is compounded injustice.

In a particularly nauseating portion of the interview in which Miller implores bin Laden to “give us the true picture that clarifies your viewpoint” – as opposed to the “distorted picture of Islam, Muslims and of Islamic fighters” presented by “American politicians,” bin Laden continues [emphasis added]:

The leaders in America and in other countries as well have fallen victim to Jewish Zionist blackmail. They have mobilized their people against Islam and against Muslims. These are portrayed in such a manner as to drive people to rally against them. The truth is that the whole Muslim world is the victim of international terrorism, engineered by America at the United Nations. We are a nation whose sacred symbols have been looted and whose wealth and resources have been plundered. It is normal for us to react against the forces that invade our land and occupy it.

Ignored however is the rest of bin Laden’s message [emphasis added]:

…[O]ur call is the call of Islam that was revealed to Mohammed. It is a call to all mankind. We have been entrusted with good cause to follow in the footsteps of the Messenger and to communicate his message to all nations.

…In our religion, we believe that Allah has created us for the purpose of worshipping him. He is the one who has created us and who has favored us with this religion. Allah has ordered us to make holy wars and to fight to see to it that His word is the highest and the uppermost and that of the unbelievers the lowermost. We believe that this is the call we have to answer regardless of our financial capabilities.

This too answers the claims of the West and of the secular people in the Arab world. They claim that this blessed awakening and the people reverting to Islam are due to economic factors. This is not so. It is rather a grace from Allah, a desire to embrace the religion of Allah.

…I am one of the servants of Allah. We do our duty of fighting for the sake of the religion of Allah. It is also our duty to send a call to all the people of the world to enjoy this great light and to embrace Islam and experience the happiness in Islam. Our primary mission is nothing but the furthering of this religion.

This bin Laden interview is crucial because it illustrates the two-sided nature of Al Qaeda’s rhetoric and the rhetoric of jihadists more broadly — appealing on the one hand to the West’s materialism, and on the other to the Middle East’s idealism.

Indeed one of the primary but underappreciated elements of the global jihad is the subtle psychological warfare in which bin Laden engages above by way of the materialist argument.

Understanding the West’s unhealthy sense of guilt and shame, bin Laden portrays jihadists as the oppressed to our oppressor, the victim to our aggressor. Bin Laden knew that repeating such arguments — regardless of their veracity — would have a profound effect on the Western consciousness over time.

Conversely, playing on our moral relativism, multiculturalism and religious tolerance, bin Laden knew that we would fail to internalize his idealist worldview: A worldview formed by the Islamic doctrine that animates jihadists and lays bare their goals, strategies and tactics.

We have accepted the former (materialism) but ignored the latter (idealism), which explains in part why we are losing to the global jihad.

If you disagree with this assertion, consider that we in the West ask “Why do they hate us?” We search in vain for “root causes” of radicalization, and tell ourselves that a group that calls itself Islamic State and follows Muhammad literally perverts Islam or has nothing to do with it at all.

Meanwhile, our enemies self-identify as Islamic jihadists — a jihad compelled by the corpus of Islamic texts – whose end goal is to make the entire world submit to Allah’s rule.

President Obama either out of political correctness, ignorance or a more nefarious impulse damages America’s cause by parroting the victomology that Osama bin Laden knew Western progressives would buy hook, line and sinker.

He gives credence to our enemies’ arguments while implementing an agenda ostensibly to combat them wholly consonant with such a worldview, and thereby wholly ineffectual.

This is the far more consequential and far more dangerous takeaway from the president’s interview than the tired invocation of “Bush’s fault” that Obama’s critics have harped on.

The Question of Obama’s Allegiances

lk1-450x261Frontpage, March 20, 2015 by David Meir-Levi:

Since before his first term, our President’s words and deeds regarding the Middle East, Jihad, and the Israel-Arab conflict have been confusing.

At first some thought him an incompetent amateur, especially regarding his heavy-handed “reset” of America’s relationship with the Muslim world and with Russia. But many of our presidents have made errors at the onset and then later matured into office.

Then he seemed to be merely a self-absorbed ego-centric narcissist, especially regarding his proclivity for golf vacations during crises.  But most of our presidents seem to have been able to separate their personal predilections from their role as leader of the free world.

Then some opined that he was blinded by political correctness, especially regarding his ex-cathedra pronouncements about not implying any connection between Islam and terrorism. But many seemed to think that his concern for the well-being of our Muslim-American citizens, and for the otherwise globally besmirched reputation of supposedly peace-loving Islam, was an appropriate and necessary position in order to uphold American values of tolerance and protection for minorities.

Then he appeared to be simply ignorant of the historical realities of Islam’s commitment to global jihad “…until there is no worship except for Allah,” or perhaps too easily swayed by the gaggle of advisors who surround him. But here one must stop and ask the obvious question: How ignorant about Islam could he be, having himself grown up as a Muslim in a majority-Muslim country?

And one must also note that it was he who selected those advisors.

Nearly a dozen of his appointees to important and even critical government posts are people with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. In addition there is Huma Abedin, a very close confidant to Hillary Clinton, and her connections to the Muslim Brotherhood are well documented. And then there is Valerie Jarrett,“Obama’s Rasputin” (who is neither Iranian nor Muslim, but seems to hold unconscionable sway over the Obama White House and may be the real brains behind Obama’s current policy toward Iran). How deeply have they penetrated, what secrets do they know, how badly has our country’s security been compromised?

And he appointed them. No “guilt by association” here.

The confusion regarding our President’s lax and accommodating attitude and policy toward individuals, terrorist organizations and governments that are unequivocally aligned with our nation’s enemies, some of which have declared war on us, can be dispelled if we analyze his behavior over the last two years.

During the “Arab Spring” he promptly abandoned Hosni Mubarak, a long-time American ally. Then he supported Mohammed Morsi who became President of Egypt in 2012, even though Morsi represented the Muslim Brotherhood, which supports Hamas and other Arab anti-American and anti-Israel terror organizations, and which has as its eternal mission the subjugation of all non-Muslim nations and peoples to Islam, via jihad. He then did his best to undermine Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, who took over from Morsi in a wildly popular coup, even though el-Sisi quickly proved himself the enemy of the Brotherhood and of the Al-Qaeda and of the ISIS forces that had ensconced themselves in the Sinai Peninsula.

He retreated repeatedly from his “red lines” in Syria, resulting in the death of hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians and facilitating the extension of Iranian hegemony from Iraq to Syria and the Mediterranean Sea, thus bringing into Iran’s cross-hairs the countries of North Africa, Israel, Turkey, Eastern Europe and even the eastern flank of Western Europe.

As quickly as he abandoned Mubarak in Egypt, he abandoned the Yemeni government to a Houthi victory. The Houthi are supported by Iran, whose victory in Yemen means the extension of Iranian control to both sides of the Persian Gulf, the waterway through which half of the world’s oil flows.

In July, 2014, during Israel’s defensive operation against Hamas, Obama telephoned Netanyahu to announce that he wanted an unconditional “humanitarian” cease-fire that would lead to a permanent one. The terms of such a cease-fire would include opening Gaza’s borders with Egypt and Israel and ending Israel’s maritime blockade of the Gaza coast. Such terms would allow Hamas to quickly rebuild its arsenal, starting with $47 million dollars of US financial support, purchase more missiles from North Korea, and import more building materials to reconstruct its tunnels. In short, Obama sided openly, intentionally, willfully, and forcefully with Hamas, against Israel, and against America’s long-time Sunni Arab allies – Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. Such an agreement means that Hamas wins big-time; and Israel, America’s ally, loses.

This past February, our President openly supported Qatar despite Qatar’s long history of supporting Hamas with arms and money, hosting al-Jazeera, and recently supplying arms to ISIS terrorists in Libya. But John Kerry said that he was aware of Qatar’s history, so Obama must also be aware, and chooses to support Qatar anyway. That is a choice in favor of America’s enemies.

And our President has made a similar choice in his prolonged negotiations with Iran, even as the Ayatollahs crossed one after another of Obama’s “red lines” and announced repeatedly their intention to develop their nuclear capacities and their missile delivery system. Rather than preventing Iran’s quest for deployable nuclear arms, Obama has facilitated it.

And now he is further facilitating Iran’s ascension to regional hegemony and nuclear power by ignoring Iran’s backing of the Assad regime, Hezbollah, and the growing number of Iranian generals and military experts who are operating in the Golan Heights along the border with Israel. That is another choice in favors our allies’ enemy.

Finally, his recently proposed strategy to combat global Jihad’s threat to Western Civilization offers the last and perhaps most important insight into what Obama is really doing. A full-jihadist-employment program that will bring “Hope and Change” to the world’s worst psychopathic murderers, even as they extend their hegemony over Libya which they promise will be their launching pad for their invasion of the rest of Western Europe, is not his “..lamest attempt at some sort of strategy.” It is not his “entry into the twilight zone.” Rather it is an overt statement of his true ideology, an ideology of which he gave only an obscure hint in a speech last year in which he warned us all that America must be careful to always be “…on the right side of history…” when it comes to our dealings with the Muslim world; but in Muslim parlance the right side of history is Allah’s side.

His is an ideology that requires that he whitewash the most horrific manifestations of Islamofascism, explain them away, excuse, or deny their very existence in order to direct our attention away from the dire existential threat that they pose. But whitewashing evil is complicity with evil, and complicity with evil is evil. How can our Commander-in-Chief, the leader of the Western World, the single most powerful person on the planet, collude so openly with those who are working so furiously to obliterate us?

He cannot be so naïve or so ignorant that he does not know that ISIS is indeed an Islamic terrorist organization, that Islamic terrorism arises not from unemployment but from Islamic ideology, and that an Iran armed with nuclear warheads and a 2,500-kilometer missile delivery system poses a threat to the entire world: a threat that has already begun to spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East which could end in “mutually assured destruction,” the threat of which reined in the world’s nuclear powers during the Cold War but seems irrelevant to the Armageddon mentality of the Ayatollahs. And if he is neither naïve nor ignorant about the dangers to our country and to the world that his policy toward Islamic fascism has helped to create, then why does he support those who pose that threat?

Caroline Glick came the closest to connecting the dots to their terrifying but undeniable conclusion when she opined that Obama may be acting out of anti-Semitism, or perhaps even out of sympathy for Islamic fascism. But “acting out of sympathy” does not quite connect us to that final dot. Sympathy alone is inadequate to explain his facilitating, enabling, obfuscating, whitewashing, and congenially interacting with Islamofascist extremists. There can be only one explanation for his otherwise unexplainable series of decisions and statements that have supported or even facilitated Islamic fascism’s expansion.

What other explanation can there be other than that he wants the Jihadists to win?

What other explanation can there be but that he actually wants Iran to achieve nuclear capacity, to surround Sunni Islam in the Fertile Crescent, to reign as a supreme regional hegemon, armed with atomic weapons, controlling the Straits of Hormuz, and equipped to fulfill the jihadist dream of obliterating Israel and annihilating another 6,000,000 Jews?

What other explanation can there be but that he does not merely sympathize with Islamic fascism, but that he is at one with the ideologically driven psychotic murderers who seek to destroy all of western civilization and replace it with the 7th century barbarism that they call “true Islam”?

What other explanation can there be but that our president is fighting on the side of our enemies, and that he is, therefore, committing treason?

Egypt Fights ISIS—Obama Cuts Off Egypt

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

PJ Media, By P. David Hornik On March 18, 2015:

Again, those disturbing questions about whose side the president is on.

A disturbing report by Avi Issacharoff, one of Israel’s leading Middle East analysts, notes that Egypt is now under assault by ISIS from two directions—from its own Sinai Peninsula to the northeast and from the state of Libya, or what’s left of it, to the West.

It was last month that 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians living in Libya were kidnapped by ISIS and subjected to a mass beheading on a beach. In response to that violent episode, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ordered airstrikes against ISIS in Libya.

And in Sinai, Egyptian forces trying to tame the region have been hit by at least three ISIS terror attacks just last week. The trouble, Issacharoff notes, is that “precisely during these difficult days for the Egyptians, Washington is delaying military assistance deliveries to Cairo . . .”

The Obama administration has held a deep grudge against the government ever since Sisi, backed by a massive popular revolt, overthrew Egypt’s short-lived Muslim Brotherhood regime in July 2013. The administration reacted by embargoing arms—even though Egypt had been a longstanding U.S. ally and Sisi’s is a nonradical, anti-terror government.

It was Sisi who, when recently addressing an audience of Sunni clerics at Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, called for a more moderate Islam that would not “want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants.”

Soon after, Sisi took the unprecedented step for an Egyptian leader of attending mass at a Coptic church.

Sisi also appears likely to keep the peace between Egypt and Israel. The two countries are tacitly collaborating against terror both in Sinai and Gaza, as Sisi cracks down hard on a common enemy—Hamas.

None of this is meant to say that Sisi is an angel who has brought democracy to Egypt by waving a magic wand. Seemingly, though, he deserves better treatment from Washington.

Things did seem to be improving last September when Washington said it was going through with a sale of ten Apache helicopters to Egypt.

But since then, says Issacharoff, Washington:

Has been making it increasingly difficult for Cairo to make additional military purchases.

For example, the US is delaying the shipment of tanks, spare parts and other weapons that the army desperately needs in its war against Islamic State.

So why is it? Why is an administration that seemingly has made fighting ISIS one of its missions choking off a would-be friendly state under ISIS assault?

The administration’s coziness with the Brotherhood—the incubus of modern Sunni terror, subject of a possible imminent crackdown in Britain—is well known (see, for instance, here and here). Thus, is the punishment for overthrowing a Brotherhood regime—even when that overthrow was backed by the most massive popular protest in history—getting thrown to the dogs amid an ISIS siege?

“According to an Egyptian official,” says Issacharoff, “the formal explanation [for the arms cutoff] is that Cairo does not respect human rights.”

As mentioned, Sisi has not transformed beleaguered Egypt into the Arab world’s first model democracy. Still, the idea that Egypt is being punished for human-rights failings is peculiar especially in light of reports of severe abuses by U.S.- (and Iran-) supported Shiite militias fighting ISIS in Iraq.

ABC now reports that “U.S.-trained and armed Iraqi military units, the key to the American strategy against ISIS, are under investigation for committing some of the same atrocities as the terror group…” Compared to such forces, let alone the Iranian regime itself, Sisi’s government is indeed a very mild human rights culprit (not to mention Egypt’s deposed Muslim Brotherhood regime, which was hardly a human rights beacon).

The situation is also parallel in some respects to the administration’s arms cutoff to Israel while it was fighting Hamas in Gaza last summer. That move may have been prompted by Palestinian civilian casualties, and the U.S.-Israeli defense relationship was eventually resumed. Still, a similar message came through: that being a U.S.- and Western-aligned country that is fighting terror is no guarantee of sympathy from the Obama administration.

The administration’s strange behavior at present—supporting ISIS-fighting forces on one front that are just as barbaric as ISIS; denying support to much more moderate ISIS-fighting forces on another front—can perhaps be explained in terms of moral confusion, of difficulty  distinguishing between friends and enemies. Or perhaps in terms of something darker. [emphasis added]

In any case, Egypt, the largest and, in some ways most important, Arab country and a would-be ally of civilization, is now in acute distress.

Also see:

Congress Seeks to Cut Off Taxpayer Funding For Iran Deal

Secretary of State John Kerry, and Wendy Sherman, the under secretary of state for political affairs, in Lausanne, Switzerland. / AP

Secretary of State John Kerry, and Wendy Sherman, the under secretary of state for political affairs, in Lausanne, Switzerland. / AP

Move to eliminate all U.S. funding for diplomacy with Iran

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, March 20, 2015:

Congressional leaders have begun pressuring their colleagues to cut off all U.S. funding for the ongoing talks with Iran over its contested nuclear program as the Obama administration rushes to hash out the details of a deal in the coming months, according to multiple sources and a letter that will be sent next week to appropriators in the House of Representatives.

With the deadline approaching, congressional Republicans have been exasperated by the Obama administration’s efforts to prevent them from having any oversight over the deal.

Reps. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.) and Lee Zeldin (R., N.Y.) are now petitioning their colleagues on the House Appropriations Committee to prohibit all taxpayer funding for the talks, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.

This would purge all U.S. funds available to Obama administration officials for travel abroad, hotel stays, and any other activities related to the P5+1 talks with Iran.

In a letter that will be sent next Tuesday to leaders on the House Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, Roskam and Zeldin recommend that funding for the deal in the fiscal year 2016 budget be fully eliminated.

“As you begin work on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations bill, we urge the prohibition of funding for the ongoing U.S. involvement in dangerous P5+1 negotiations with Iran,” the lawmakers write, according to a draft of the letter obtained by theFree Beacon.

The lawmakers express frustration over the Obama administration’s reported concessions to Iran, which are said to permit Tehran to retain aspects of its nuclear infrastructure, including the ability to enrich uranium, the key component in a nuclear bomb.

“After two negotiation extensions, billions of dollars in sanctions relief, and an emerging deal that would utterly fail to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program, we should abandon these talks until Tehran is prepared to make meaningful concessions that would truly block its path to a bomb,” the letter states. “We therefore respectfully request that you work to include the prohibition on additional funds for U.S. involvement in these ill-conceived negotiations.”

There is also a consensus among Republicans and critics of the administration’s diplomacy that Iran cannot be trusted to uphold any agreement it might sign.

“At this point, Iran seems more intent on buying time to advance its nuclear program rather than negotiating in good faith,” the letter states. “Congress must act to ensure that negotiations with Iran do not proceed if Tehran continues its pursuit of nuclear weapons with impunity and if no meaningful progress is made.”

The lawmakers also lash out at the White House’s efforts to keep Congress out of the negotiations and “in the dark” about key details of the emerging final deal.

“The deal reportedly under consideration would leave Iran’s nuclear infrastructure virtually intact and expire in ten years, at which point the mullahs could freely pursue a nuclear weapon,” Roskam and Zeldin write. “Moreover, Congress has been left completely in the dark by the administration, which continues to stonewall bipartisan calls for prospective sanctions on Iran and congressional approval over any final agreement.”

One senior congressional aide familiar with the letter said that taxpayer dollars should not be spent on a deal that would only embolden Iran’s activities.

“The administration has refused to include Congress in any way, shape, or form throughout its destructive negotiations with Iran,” the aide said. “I’m not surprised that lawmakers are trying to exercise their constitutional power of the purse in order to prevent indefinite extensions of these backward talks.”

“They are fed up and the American taxpayers, who don’t want to be complicit in this failing strategy, are fed up,” the source added. “What this letter is basically saying is ‘This experiment has gone on long enough, so we’re no longer going to foot the bill.’”

President Obama released a video Thursday urging Iranians to support a diplomatic resolution.

“The days and weeks ahead will be critical. Our negotiations have made progress, but gaps remain. And there are people, in both our countries and beyond, who oppose a diplomatic resolution. My message to you—the people of Iran—is that, together, we have to speak up for the future we seek,” said the president.

Iran nuclear talks reportedly hit snag over lifting of sanctions as Obama makes appeal to Iran’s people

US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets with Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (R) over Tehran's nuclear program in Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 20, 2015 (AFP Photo/Brian Snyder)

US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets with Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (R) over Tehran’s nuclear program in Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 20, 2015 (AFP Photo/Brian Snyder)

Fox News, March 20, 2015:

A dispute over when international sanctions against Iran would be lifted following a potential nuclear agreement reportedly is the latest issue to bog down negotiations.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Iran’s negotiators say that sanctions must be lifted almost immediately after a deal is concluded. U.S. and European diplomats, for their part, hold that sanctions should only be lifted once Tehran accounts for its past nuclear activity and is confirmed to be using nuclear energy for peaceful means by the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog.

One European diplomat was quoted by the Journal as saying there was “no way” Western negotiators would budge from their position, which the diplomat said the Iranians considered a “deal-breaker. They don’t want it at all.”

Amid the dispute, officials from Iran and the U.S. reportedly said Friday that talks will resume next week.

According to the Journal, both sides believe that the U.S. and European Union can lift some of the sanctions each has unilaterally imposed on Iran’s energy and finance sectors. However, the issue of lifting sanctions imposed by the U.N. is more complex and according to negotiators, is likely to take years, not weeks or months, to accomplish.

For its part, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says that Iran has failed to turn over key documents about its nuclear program, and has also denied access to scientists and nuclear sites.

Both sides are working to meet a March 31 deadline to construct the framework of a permanent agreement. The final deadline for all the details to be worked out is June 30. On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif met face-to-face for the fourth straight day in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The Associated Press reported late Thursday that elements of a draft deal had been agreed that would commit Iran to a 40 percent cut in the number of machines it could use to make an atomic bomb. In return, the Iranians would get quick relief from some crippling economic sanctions and a partial lift of a U.N. embargo on conventional arms.

Officials told the AP that the tentative deal imposes at least a decade of new limits on the number of centrifuges Iran can operate to enrich uranium, a process that can lead to nuclear weapons-grade material. The sides are zeroing in on a cap of 6,000 centrifuges, officials said, down from the 6,500 they spoke of in recent weeks.

That’s also fewer than the 10,000 such machines Tehran now runs, yet substantially more than the 500 to 1,500 that Washington originally wanted as a ceiling. Only a year ago, U.S. officials floated 4,000 as a possible compromise.

It’s unclear how complete the draft is. Iran’s deeply buried underground enrichment plant remains a problem, officials said, with Washington demanding the facility be repurposed and Tehran insisting it be able to run hundreds of centrifuges there. Iran says it wants to use the machines for scientific research; the Americans fear they could be quickly retooled for enrichment.

A planned heavy water reactor will be re-engineered to produce much less plutonium than originally envisioned, relieving concerns that it could be an alternative pathway to a bomb. U.S. officials believe they can extend the time Tehran would need to produce a nuclear weapon to at least a year. Right now, Iran would require only two to three months to amass enough material to make a bomb.

President Barack Obama appealed directly to Iranian citizens in a message commemorating Nowruz, the Persian New Year.

“Our negotiations have made progress, but gaps remain,” Obama said Thursday in a video message posted online.

“If Iran’s leaders can agree to a reasonable deal, it can lead to a better path — the path of greater opportunities for the Iranian people,” he said.

The pressure in Congress on the administration over Iran remained intense, with the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee saying he would move ahead with legislation giving lawmakers a say over any nuclear deal. And 360 House Republicans and Democrats — more than enough to override any presidential veto — sent a letter to Obama saying if an agreement is reached, Congress will decide on easing sanctions it has imposed.

“Congress must be convinced that its terms foreclose any pathway to a bomb, and only then will Congress be able to consider permanent sanctions relief,” the lawmakers wrote.

Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told administration officials at a hearing Thursday that Congress cannot be marginalized and “any attempts to sidestep Congress will be resisted on both sides of the aisle.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Also see:

Obama’s Iran Agenda

obama iranWeekly Standard, by Stephan Hayes, March 20, 2015:

Iran is an opportunity, not a threat; it’s a potential partner, not an enemy.

For more than six years, this view of the Islamic Republic has guided the decisions made by Barack Obama. The president has repeatedly declared his eagerness to welcome Iran into the community of civilized nations. His words sometimes suggest that Iran has a choice to make, that their acceptance into this mythical community depends in some way on their behavior. But there’s little over those six years to indicate that he means it. Instead, Obama has made clear that in his eagerness to salvage anything from his tattered foreign policy legacy he is willing to gamble the security of the United States on a blind and irrational hope that Iran will someday change for the better.

To this end, he has abandoned more than three decades of bipartisan U.S. policy towards Iran—on its nuclear weapons program, on its regional ambitions, and on its support for terrorism.

These are radical departures. The Obama administration’s goal in nuclear talks is no longer preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons at all costs, but managing the process by which Iran becomes a nuclear state. The Obama administration no longer seeks to thwart Iran’s expansionist aims in the region and in many respects is now facilitating its aggression. On terrorism, the Obama administration has cast aside inconvenient realities about Iran’s support for jihadists of all kinds and has chosen instead to pretend that to the extent there any longer exists a war on terror, Washington and Tehran are on the same side.

At one point, the Obama administration signaled that its eagerness for a nuclear deal with Iran would be tempered by its insistence on a few simple demands. Iran would have to dismantle all but a few hundred early-generation centrifuges and stop work on advanced centrifuge design; the heavy-water reactor at Arak would be shut down, and the fortified underground nuclear facility at Fordow would be shuttered; Iran’s ballistic missile program would be frozen or perhaps even rolled back; and sanctions would only be lifted after intrusive inspections verified Iranian compliance with any agreements. If news accounts about details of an imminent deal are accurate, including an Associated Press report last week reportedly based on a draft agreement, the administration is poised to capitulate on all of these issues.

And what if Iran violates the terms of even this weak deal? There are good reasons to be concerned. When Iran signed the interim agreement (Joint Plan of Action) in November 2013, it agreed to freeze new centrifuge activities. Last fall, however, Iran started feeding hexafluoride gas (UF6) into the IR-5 centrifuge at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant at Natanz—a new development. The International Atomic Energy Agency recorded the activity, the United States confronted Iran, and the feeding stopped. Despite this, President Obama has repeatedly declared Iran in compliance with the interim agreement. Then, last week, a senior administration official involved in the negotiations with Iran went even further to accommodate the Iranians. The violation was “probably a mistake,” read a Bloomberg report sourced to “U.S. officials negotiating with Iran.” According to the story, U.S. officials believe “Iran hadn’t technically violated the interim accord, which allowed some research and development activities to continue. What’s more, the person responsible was probably a low- or mid-level employee who wasn’t acting on orders from above, they said.” Probably? The obvious question: Why would Iran comply with the terms of any nuclear deal if the United States is eager to make excuses for violations?

Even as the nuclear talks continued, Iran moved aggressively to expand its influence in the region. The Iranian regime is spending lavishly to influence political, military, and intelligence officials in Afghanistan; it has played a decisive role in supporting Bashar al-Assad in Syria, providing funding, arms, intelligence, and manpower to aid the slaughter of the Syrian people; it fomented the unrest in Yemen that led to the overthrow of a nominally pro-American government; and, perhaps most troubling, Iranian regime elements are operating freely in much of Iraq, fighting alongside Iraqi security forces and at times going much further, with credible reports of targeting and killing of Sunni civilians. U.S. policy on Iranian expansionism has weakened over the past decade. It has evolved from thwarting those efforts to tolerating them—and now, in some respects, to facilitating them.

We’ve seen a similar pattern on Iran and terror. Iran continues to fund Hamas and Hezbollah, using these proxies to conduct attacks in Israel and elsewhere in the region and beyond. In 2011, the Treasury Department designated six al Qaeda operatives working under a secret agreement with the Iranian regime. Three months later, Treasury designated Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security for facilitating “the movement of al Qaeda operatives in Iran” and providing “money and weapons to Al Qaeda in Iraq.” The agreement provided al Qaeda senior leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan with a “core pipeline” of support. In an interview with The Weekly Standard at the time, David Cohen, then a top Treasury official and now the number two at the CIA, said: “There is an agreement between the Iranian government and al Qaeda to allow this network to operate. There’s no dispute in the intelligence community.”

These are the hallmarks of a rogue regime, and Iran has shown no willingness to modify its behavior. A rational Iran policy would require that Iran stop its aggression and bring an end to its terrorism before the United States even considers engaging in negotiations on nuclear weapons. This is no rational Iran policy.

So from the beginning of these negotiations, the administration has sought to “decouple” the nuclear talks from the hostile behavior of the Iranian regime. Discussion of Iran’s increased regional aggression and its unceasing support for terrorists, including al Qaeda, has seemed to be out of bounds for U.S. negotiators.

Last week, The Weekly Standard sought answers from the White House to four questions about Iran’s support for al Qaeda.

Our questions were straightforward:

(1) Is there still an agreement between the Iranian regime and al Qaeda?

(2) Is the Iranian regime currently harboring al Qaeda operatives?

(3) Have U.S. negotiators raised this relationship in the context of ongoing nuclear negotiations?

(4) Have U.S. government officials raised this issue at all, in any context, with Iranian regime officials?

Bernadette Meehan, the spokeswoman for the National Security Council, sent us to the intelligence community for answers to the first two questions. A senior U.S. intelligence official tells TWS: “There has been no significant or substantive change in our assessment of the relationship between Iran and al Qaeda.” Meaning, it continues.

Meehan offered this as an answer to the final two questions. “You are no doubt aware that we have made very clear that the nuclear negotiations are focused exclusively on the nuclear issue, and do not include discussions of regional issues.”

That’s not exactly right.

According to a Wall Street Journal report last fall, Obama included both regional issues and terrorism in a letter he wrote to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini, seeking to push the regime towards a nuclear agreement. Remarkably, the president didn’t challenge Iran on its aggression, and he didn’t confront the Iranian leader on his support for Hamas, Hezbollah, and al Qaeda. Instead, Obama green-lighted Iran’s involvement in the Syrian civil war. And his appeal to Khameini on terrorism did not involve a demand that Iran stop supporting the jihadist networks at war with America over the past two decades but a submissive suggestion that Iran and the United States might be allies against a common foe.

The administration is not, in fact, decoupling terrorism and regional aggression from the Iranian nuclear negotiations. Obama has made certain that they are part of the discussion. But rather than insist that Iran curb its destructive regional ambitions or end its lethal support for terror, the president has shown his willingness to tolerate, even condone, such behavior.

Obama puts the chances of a nuclear agreement with Iran at less than 50-50. Perhaps it’s not a certainty, but we think it’s considerably higher. The Obama administration is desperate for an accord, and Iran should be eager to accept a deal that provides a glide path to nuclear weapons.

If it happens, the media will celebrate such a deal as “groundbreaking” and hail Obama as a “historic” leader willing to look beyond the petty preoccupations of his predecessors.

And Obama will welcome into the civilized community of nations an Iranian regime that doesn’t deserve to be there.

Crises and “Root Crises”

300px-AlgerHissUNConference

Soviet GRU officer and Acting UN Secretary General Alger Hiss of the US State Department presiding over the opening of the United Nations in San Francisco, 1945. Next to him sits is his real boss, Soviet foreign minister Molotov. 

By Diana West, March 19, 2015:

There are crises, and there are what I am going to call “root crises.”

Crises are what we read about in the headlines: Obama’s latest post-Constitutional/dictatorial act; the most recent episode in population replacement; the next terrifying Supreme Court decision; the predictable disaster of Iranian nuclear negotiations, or continued American military presence in Afghanistan; the looming threat of the United Nations empowered by an “internationalist” US president.

“Root crises,” however, don’t make headlines, are never addressed, and are rarely articulated, especially by elected officials and others with lawful authority or even media platforms. For this reason, the crises that grow from root crises only multiply, and are never dispatched.

A recent, incipient exception — and ray of light — was Sen. Cotton’s website letteraddressed to the theocratic rulers of Iran. Cotton exposed the root crisis from which the crisis of Iranian nuclear negotiations arises  — the Constitutional crisis at home in which an administration (not the first) runs amok, unbounded by checks and balances.

Behold the flak Sen. Cotton drew. The wild hysterics on the Left and the Establishment Right (same difference) tells me that there is much righteous power to be drawn from bringing such root crises to light. But Cotton and his 46 GOP colleagues have to keep the light shining and more.

They need to realize that the unaddressed “root crisis” of broken checks and balances has a root crisis, too — many of them. If they dig deeper, it will become clear that Congress, a co-equal branch of government, itselt is in crisis. It has not just permitted, it has enabled the executive branch to engage in the Constitutionally illegal behaviors that the Senator’s letter warns of. Obama could not do this without help. Congress has flouted its Constutitional responsibility just as much as President Obama has by failing to to impeach him — a big root crisis, heretofore unaddressed. Continuing to ignore this, continuing to flinch at “political considerations,” will leave this systemic crisis to metasticize further.

Digging deeper still, we arrive at the time before this president — not the first — overturned, with Congress’ collusion, the system of checks and balances. Here, we find still another root crisis that has never been addressed: President Obama does not have clean identify documents. As I have written in many syndicated columns and posts before — to no particular avail, I suppose, but for the pride of the record — the “birth certificate” the White House website hosts and passes off as a copy of an official paper document has been demonstrated to be a fraud. That no public official in the entire country (and forget 99.9 percent of the media) — with the magnificent exception of Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio — has made this case to the conned, victimized American People is a root crisis, indeed.

It shows the cowardly soul — the most serious root crisis there is.

As a result of this and more, then, the unbounded and fraudulent Obama administration is, of course, reaching for more powers through the use of the “internationalist” United Nations, whether in dealings with Iran or, it seems, Israel. “Internationalist,” of course, is a euphemistic adjective that describes the movement toward what is euphemistically known as “world government.” This latter term is not used too much, possibly because it frightens people who grasp that denizens of such a “world government” are “subjects,” not “citizens,” ruled by the fiat of “transnational” elites.

This should not be a mystery. It is a fact and a root crisis that the euphemistically named “United Nations,” seat of the euphemistically named “Security Council,” was fostered into being in the final years of World War II and originally presided over by a decorated Soviet GRU officer/US State Department official named Alger Hiss.

These roots run deep.

***

After Ralph Peters expounds on Obama’s behavior towards Israel, which he explains is to be expected based on Obama’s roots, Claudia Rosett lays bare the fraud of the United Nations and echoes Diana West in her warning of the dangers of internationalism – “A path to global governance is very dangerous to all of us”

Obama Whitewashes Iranian Terrorism

Hezbollah-Fighters-300x214Frontpage, March 18, 2015 by Joseph Klein:

The Obama administration is shamelessly whitewashing the Iranian regime’s state sponsorship of global terrorism, no doubt to help soften Iran’s image in preparation for trying to foist a bad nuclear deal on the American people. It also did the same thing for Iran’s jihadist proxy terrorist group, Hezbollah.

The administration’s most recent unclassified version of the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community report published on February 26, 2015, delivered to the US Senate by National Intelligence director James Clapper, conspicuously omitted any reference to the ongoing terrorist threat posed by Iran and Hezbollah. While acknowledging that Iran remains “an ongoing threat to US national interests,” the report noted Iran’s “intentions to dampen sectarianism, build responsive partners, and deescalate tensions with Saudi Arabia.” The report also noted Iran‘s commitment of more resources to the fight against the Sunni extremists of the Islamic State.

In the small section devoted to Yemen, the report made no mention of Iranian support for the Huthi rebels. It simply portrayed Iran as a beneficiary of the Huthis’ rise to power: “Huthi ascendency in Yemen has increased Iran’s influence as well.”

By contrast, in the previous Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community report dated January 29, 2014, Iran and Hezbollah figured prominently under a section entitled “Terrorist Activities Overseas.”

In addition to mentioning the large role played by Iran and Hezbollah in propping up the Assad regime in Syria, which they view as “a key partner in the ‘axis of resistance’ against Israel, the earlier intelligence report said that “Iran and Lebanese Hizballah continue to directly threaten the interests of US allies. Hizballah has increased its global terrorist activity in recent years to a level that we have not seen since the 1990s.”

In the specific section of the January 29, 2014 report devoted to Iran, the report stated: “In the

broader Middle East, Iran will continue to provide arms and other aid to Palestinian groups, Huthi rebels in Yemen, and Shia militants in Bahrain to expand Iranian influence and to counter perceived foreign threats.”

What happened between 2014 and 2015 to merit deleting any association of Iran and Hezbollah with continued global terrorist activity in the most recent intelligence assessment report? Did Iran’s leaders suddenly decide to forswear terrorism and join the family of civilized nations? Obviously not. For example, as Middle East and national security expert Daniel Byman testified on February 11, 2015 before the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, Iran’s proxy Hezbollah continued its terrorist operations in 2014 in far-flung locations:

Iran, often working with Hizballah, has repeatedly tried to use terrorism against an array of Israeli and Western targets and interests, and this pattern has continued in recent years. Recent plots reportedly range from plots against an Israeli shipping company and USAID offices in Nigeria in 2013 to reconnoitering the Israeli embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan, for a possible attack. Hizballah operatives planned an attack in 2014 against Israeli tourists in Bangkok and in October 2014 Hizballah operatives were arrested in Peru for planning attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets there.

With respect to Yemen, Iran’s increased influence in the country was not just a by-product of the “Huthi ascendency,” as the February 2015 intelligence assessment report intimated. Iran’s intervention on behalf of its Shiite allies with arms, training and funding made the Huthi takeover of the Yemen government possible. With Iran also heavily involved in Iraq, the proclamation of an emerging Iranian empire by Ali Younusi, an adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei, rings true, at least as to Iran’s hegemonic intentions. “Iran is an empire once again at last, and its capital is Baghdad,” he declared.

However, the Obama administration is willing to fudge the truth to induce Iran to stay at the negotiating table and make some sort of nuclear arms deal that President Obama can trumpet as a major diplomatic achievement. Anyway, in the Obama administration’s calculations, Iran can’t be all that bad since it now helping to fight those truly evil Islamic State terrorists in Iraq and Syria whom we too are fighting.

Max Abrahms, professor of political science at Northeastern University and member at the Council of Foreign Relations, postulated a “quid pro quo” arrangement. “Iran helps us with counter-terrorism and we facilitate their nuclear ambitions and cut down on our labelling of them as terrorists,” he was quoted by Newsweek as saying.

The February 2015 intelligence assessment report does not limit its whitewashing of Iran’s malevolent intentions to the subject of terrorism. It turned a blind eye to Iran’s unwillingness to come clean with international inspectors with regard to the military dimensions of its nuclear program.

The February 2015 intelligence assessment report claimed that the temporary agreement in place with Iran, known as the Joint Plan of Action, has “enhanced the transparency of Iran’s nuclear activities, mainly through improved International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) access.”  It ignored the International Atomic Energy Agency’s repeated warnings that Iran has not been cooperating with the IAEA’s inquiry into allegations of Iran’s past nuclear-related military development work.

One would think that unfettered inspections to verify compliance with the terms of any final agreement would be absolutely non-negotiable, especially given Iran’s past record of cheating and defying international inspectors. However, according to a report in the New York Times on March 17th, unnamed officials have indicated that “provisions for extensive verification” are still being negotiated. The other issue where there is reportedly a gap is the timetable for removal of the United Nations sanctions and other sanctions.

The February 2015 intelligence assessment report conceded that Iran has “the ability to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons, if it chooses to do so,” but refused to take a position on Iran’s probable intentions. “We do not know whether Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons,” the report stated. “Tehran would choose ballistic missiles as its preferred method of delivering nuclear weapons, if it builds them,” the report added.

Iran has remained free to develop or acquire ballistic missiles and the technology to miniaturize nuclear weapons for delivery by Iran’s “preferred method.”  That apparently won’t change with a final deal, since Iran has refused to allow its missile program to be a part of the negotiations. Thus, while the Obama administration is negotiating everything –  the scope of inspections, the number of centrifuges that Iran will be able to keep spinning from the get-go, the timing of sanctions relief and the sunset date after which any significant nuclear restrictions will go away – it is being outmaneuvered by the Iranian negotiators who stick resolutely to their red lines. And, in the process, the Obama administration is providing Iran and its proxy Hezbollah a measure of respectability in the eyes of the world by whitewashing their terrorism records in an official U.S. intelligence assessment document.

***

Dropping Iran and Hezbollah from Threat Assessment a Strategic Error (centerforsecuritypolicy.org)

It is surprising that Iran and Hezbollah were notably omitted from the list of terror threats inthis year’s Worldwide Threat Assessment. The reason for doing so is likely political, tied to negotiation over the Iranian nuclear program and in due to the Obama Administration’s view that Iran has a constructive role to play in the fight against Islamic State. However, both ideas are unsound; Iran can not be trusted, either to surrender its nuclear program nor as an ally against Islamic State.

Many have warned about further Iranian influence in Iraq, and General Petraeus noted to then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates in 2007 that Iran was seeking to expand influence over Iraq and challenge American power in the region. Such fears are not unfounded with the fact that Iran is backing most Shia militias in Iraq and the propensity for said militias to engage in brutal acts on Sunni Iraqis for the crime of simply being Sunni. Iranian support for anti-Islamic State actions in Iraq has been considerable, as seen in the retaking of Tikrit. No US support was requested in the operation, and two-thirds of the troops involved in the offensive to retake Tikrit were from Iranian-backed Shia militias. The head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, Major General Qasem Soleimani, is personally overseeing operations in Tikrit.

It is quite possible that Iran may itself be encouraging sectarian conflict in Iraq to drive the Iraqi Shia population to support an alliance with Iran to protect them from the Islamic State fundamentalist Sunni threat. This was done during the second Iraq War, when Iran gave weapons and funding to Al Qaeda in Iraq, Islamic State’s predecessor.

Now, recent reports suggest that terrorist organization Hezbollah will send 800 fighters toIraq in order to participate in a future counterattack against Islamic State in Mosul. Iran has already sent military forces to aid in the battle for Tikrit. Hezbollah’s entry in lieu of further direct Iranian military involvement are concerns from Sunni Arab Iraqis over having further Persian troops in country, and due to the similarity between the terrain of Lebanon with that of northern Iraq. Hezbollah previously had advisors in Iraq, but withdrew them after the Israeli military conducted a strike on a Hezbollah position in the Golan Heights this January.

While ignoring Iranian activity with terrorism, the Worldwide Threat Assessment Report did note that Iran’s nuclear and cyberwarfare programs had become quite advanced, citing the 2012-13 DDOS attacks on the financial sector and noting their recent attempts to develop ICBMs:

We continue to assess that Iran’s overarching strategic goals of enhancing its security, prestige, and regional influence have led it to pursue capabilities to meet its civilian goals and give it the ability to build missile – deliverable nuclear weapons, if it chooses to do so…We judge that Tehran would choose ballistic missiles as its preferred method of delivering nuclear weapons, if it builds them. Iran’s ballistic missiles are inherently capable of delivering WMD, and Tehran already has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East. Iran’s progress on space launch vehicles — along with its desire to deter the United States and its allies — provides Tehran with the means and motivation to develop longer – range missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

The inclusion of Iran’s nuclear and cyber capabilities, while ignoring their regional strategy of using Islamist proxies and terrorists to advance their interests, which has played so successfully in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, misses the forest for the trees, and provides additional evidence that the Obama administration does not understand the nature of the regime in Tehran.

5 Ways The Obama Camp Has Shown Its Hatred Towards Bibi

Netanyahu obama israelCSP, by Alex VanNess,March 18, 2015:

During Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to a Joint Session of Congress, he stated that he would always be grateful for President Obama’s support for Israel.  Additionally, President Obama continues todescribe the bond between Israel and the U.S. as unbreakable.  Despite both leaders attempts to reassure people of the close relationship between the U.S. and Israel, the Obama administrations animus towards Netanyahu is unprecedented in the history of the U.S./Israel relationship.

  1. Obama badmouths him to other world leaders.  During the 2011 G20 summit in Cannes, it was reported that former French President Nicolas Sarkozy described Netanyahu as a “liar” that he cannot stand.  The Presidents response was less than presidential, responding to Sarkozy by saying: “You’re fed up with him?  I have to deal with him every day.”
  2. Obama’s staff feels comfortable berating him.  It has been reported that officials in the Obama administration use a lot of terms to described Netanyahu. This list includes recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and “Aspergery.”  Last year, a senior Obama official even went so far as to describe Netanyahu a “chickens**t.”
  3. Obama threw a hissy fit when Netanyahu spoke in front of Congress.  After House Speaker John Boehner decided to move around the White House to invite Netanyahu to speak to Congress, the President declined to meet with Netanyahu during his visit. The President also chose to skip Netanyahu’s speech altogether.  This led to a double-digit number of Democrats boycotting the speech.
  4. Obama officials chose not to meet with Netanyahu, but did meet with his opposition.  The President’s excuse for not meeting with Netanyahu was that he did not want to be seen as interfering in the Israeli election process.  However, this didn’t stop Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry from meetinginformally with Netanyahu’s opposition, Isaac Herzog in Munich a few weeks prior to his speech.
  5. Obama campaigners are actively working to manipulate Israeli elections.  Following Netanyahu’s address to Congress, a group of Obama campaign veterans arrived in Israel to lead the campaign against Netanyahu.  Obama’s 2012 field director Jeremy Bird is now leading a group, called OneVoice, a U.S. taxpayer funded 501(c)(3), engaging in political activity in Israel.  OneVoice is funding V-2015’s “Just Not Bibi” campaign.

These are only a few of the many assaults on Netanyahu by the Obama machine and the contempt goes beyond the Prime Minister.  The Obama administrations current Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power has shown herself to be hostile to Israel in the past.  She has regarded Israel as a human rights abuser and called for the US to shift Israeli military aid to Ramallah and to deploy forces to protect Palestinian.  Secretary Kerry has described Israel as a country on the road to becoming an “Apartheid state.”  There have even been reports that the Obama administration threatened to shoot down Israeli planes.

Additionally, there is a growing hostility towards Israel in the Democratic Party.  During the 2012 Democratic National Convention, party officials had difficulty hearing each other through all of the Boo’s as they voted to reinsert “Jerusalem” as Israel’s capital into the Party platform.

Following a dramatic come from behind turn in the morning hours on Wednesday, the Likud party emerged as the clear winner with 30 seats in the Knesset.  This will mean Netanyahu will return to the post of Prime Minister.

Netanyahu coming back in power will be a blow to the Obama team, especially because the administration has no interest in dealing with any type of opposition to their negotiations with Iran.  Even though the President talks about the unbreakable bond between the U.S. and Israel, we are likely to see more confrontations, nasty remarks, and blatant anti-Israel sentiments coming out of this administration and the Democratic Party.

The post-election hostility has already started.  Following Netanyahu declaring victory, Obama’s former strategist and political adviser David Axelrod decided to tweet his contempt for the election results and Netanyahu.

axlegrease tweet

Axelrod’s distasteful tweet towards the Prime Minister is just a glimmer of the things to come in the U.S./Israel relationship, as the Obama administration and Democratic Party as a whole starts to divorce themselves from support for Israel.

***

Also see:

Obama Removes Iran from Terror List, Praises it for Fighting Terrorism

obama-iran-450x286Frontpage, March 16, 2015 by Daniel Greenfield:

The mask is coming off faster than ever.

You know the country responsible for killing hundreds of marines, which provided sanctuary to Al Qaeda and whose terrorist proxies helped give Al Qaeda the skills to carry out 9/11?

They’re no longer terrorists. Sure their terrorist groups currently control parts of Lebanon and Yemen, but they’re not terrorists. Because if Iran was a state sponsor of terror, then Obama letting them have the bomb might look bad. This way it’s fine.

An annual report delivered recently to the US Senate by James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, removed Iran and Hezbollah from its list of terrorism threats, after years in which they featured in similar reports

In describing Iran’s regional role, the report noted the Islamic Republic’s “intentions to dampen sectarianism, build responsive partners, and deescalate tensions with Saudi Arabia,” but cautioned that “Iranian leaders—particularly within the security services—are pursuing policies with negative secondary consequences for regional stability and potentially for Iran.

The only time the report mentions Hezbollah is when describing it as a victim of attacks.

Lebanon faces growing threats from terrorist groups, including the al-Nusrah Front and ISIL. Sunni extremists are trying to establish networks in Lebanon and have increased attacks against Lebanese army and Hizballah positions along the Lebanese-Syrian border. Lebanon potentially faces a protracted conflict in northern and eastern parts of the country from extremist groups seeking to seize Lebanese territory, supplies, and hostages.

That clarifies that Obama no longer considers Hezbollah an enemy (not that he ever did). Instead it’s an ally that is classed together with Lebanon, rather than a threat to it.

Here’s what Obama chose to turn his back on.

“The worst part for me is that nobody remembers,” Mark Nevells said last year on the anniversary of the Hezbollah bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut.

A Marine had thrown his body in front of the truck to try stop the vehicle and afterward for five days, Nevells and other Marines had dug through the rubble for the bodies of the men they had served with.

One of the first Marines on the scene heard voices coming from underneath the rubble. “Get us out. Don’t leave us.”

The Marines lost more people that day than at any time since Iwo Jima and the number of Americans murdered that day by a terrorist group was a record that would stand until September 11.

And more of it still.

The Marines who died in the bombing were lucky. Another Marine did not die as quickly.

Colonel William R. Higgins was captured by Hezbollah, the terrorist group acting as Iran’s hand in Lebanon, and tortured for months until his body was dumped near a mosque.

An autopsy report found that he had been starved and had suffered multiple lethal injuries that could have caused his death.  The skin on his face had been partially removed along with his tongue and he had also been castrated.

Fred Hof, a diplomat who had been a friend of the murdered man, said, “I am one of a small handful of Americans who knows the exact manner of Rich’s death. If I were to describe it to you now – which I will not – I can guarantee that a significant number of people in this room would become physically ill.”

Like Higgins, William Francis Buckley, the CIA station chief, was also captured and tortured for months. On video tapes released by his Hezbollah captors, he was incoherent and his mind had been broken by the horrors inflicted on his ravaged body and his soul.

“They had done more than ruin his body,” CIA Director William Casey said. “His eyes made it clear his mind had been played with. It was horrific, medieval and barbarous”

Robert Stethem, a Navy diver, was brutally murdered when Hezbollah terrorists took over TWA flight 847. The Iranian-backed terrorists, one of whom was Imad Mughniyah, beat and kicked him to death.

“They were jumping in the air and landing full force on his body. He must have had all his ribs broken,” Uli Derickson, the stewardess, described. “I was sitting only 15 feet away. I couldn’t listen to it. I put my fingers in my ears. I will never forget. I could still hear. They put the mike up to his face so his screams could be heard by the outside world.”

Obama wants you to believe that the 47 Senators who stood up to him on Iran are traitors. The truth is he’s the traitor.

Also see:

America is Losing the War Against Sunni Jihadists and Empowering The Shia Caliphate

isis-640x480Breitbartby DR. SEBASTIAN GORKA, March 13, 2015:

With its support of the Baghdad government and the wrong rebels in Syria, the US Administration is doing the unthinkable: strengthening the spread of Tehran’s control in the Middle East and at the same time also helping the Sunni extremists to grow in power.

The American strategy against Global Jihad is having the opposite effect of that intended. And even key government officials are beginning to openly admit the failure of our policies.

The Director of National Intelligence, retired General James Clapper, recently testified that the terrorist threat is worse than at any other time in history and Major General Michael Nagata, responsible for planning our response to the civil war in Syria, has stated that the Islamic State is now more dangerous than Al Qaeda.

Seemingly just to prove the broader point about the global appeal of Jihad against the “infidel,” ISIS has just accepted the African terrorist group Boko Haram’s pledge of allegiance, meaning that the Sunni Caliphate established last year in Mosul by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi now officially covers any territory that Boko Haram controls in Nigeria.

The spread of ISIS influence is not just about territorial control, it is about the staggering success of its international call to holy war, with an estimated 19,000 westerners having left their homes to wage jihad. The visual below, based upon a British think-tank’s unclassified research, shows just how international a recruitment wave this is, with almost every country on the map sending recruits to fight in just Syria alone.

image

Given all the evidence, even the most influential liberal commentators and pundits have admitted the failure of the Obama strategy against “Violent Extremism.” Writing recently in the New York Times, Thomas Friedman stated: “When you don’t call things by their real name, you always get in trouble. And this administration, so fearful of being accused of Islamophobia, is refusing to make any link to radical Islam” and added that as a nation “We’ve entered the theater of the absurd.” The left wing Atlantic magazine even dedicated 11,000 words to an article proving the Islamic roots of ISIS and the religious justification for its violence.

Fourteen years after the September 11th attacks and half way through President Obama’s second term, how can we explain a failure so egregious that even the pillars of the liberal left are finally prepared to call it out? The key mistakes upon which the current strategy is built are:

  • The White House’s belief in the ability to “degrade and destroy” ISIS through air power alone
  • The belief that Iran can be leveraged as an ally against ISIS
  • Gambling on Islamic rebels such as the Free Syrian Army as a way to remove President Assad of Syria, and mostly important:
  • The belief that ideology is irrelevant to the enemy we face and that this war can be won solely through military means or local proxies.

Each one of these premises is flawed and is undermining US national interests as well as the safety and stability of our regional allies.

Firstly, in the history of modern military air power, since the first hand grenade was thrown out of a biplane over a century ago, the number of insurgencies like ISIS that have been defeated by airstrikes alone is zero. Insurgents are defined by their capability to hold ground. This is what separates a rag-tag terrorist group from a real threat like the Islamic State. As a result, their control of territory by ground forces can only be countered by other ground forces contesting the same space and eventually destroying or pushing them out. This is not a call for the deployment of US troops, but for the recognition of the fact that only a ground response– for example, made up of Iraqi, Kurdish, Jordanian and Egyptian units– can defeat ISIS. (According to my sources even Ben Rhodes, the Deputy National Security Adviser, has admitted that US airstrikes are not working because we do not have the intelligence on the ground to know what to hit.) Any such response on the ground will not happen without US leadership and support, and in this President Sisi of Egypt will play the pivotal role even if the Obama Administration doesn’t like the former General. Without Egypt’s military might, the Islamic State will continue to grow and threaten the US even more than it already does.

By bringing Iran into our plans against ISIS, we are in fact strengthening a rival brand of Jihad. The war today in Syria and Iraq is not about the corruption of the former Maliki government in Baghdad or the human rights record of President Assad of Syria. It is about whose version of Islam will dominate the region. One only has to read or listen to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s sermon from the Grand Mosque Mosul in which he declared the Islamic State. The speech is about reestablishing the theocratic empire of Islam – the Caliphate – under Sunni control. ISIS even posted their real intent on social media:

Iran, on the other hand, also believes in the need to re-establish the Caliphate, but under its control as a Shia empire, and the wars in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, must be understood as the re-ignition of a 1,400 year old argument about who should control Islam. In fact, that is how the Sunni and Shia division of Islam occurred after the death of Mohammad, and those are the stakes for Tehran. The fact that the mullahs now control five regional capitals– Tehran, Baghdad, Beirut, Damascus, and now Sanaa– means that despite ISIS’s growth, the Shia extremists are winning. The White House’s belief that Tehran is an altruistic foe of Sunni jihadists like ISIS is driven by shortsightedness and a lack of understanding of the historic battle that is in play, and will simply strengthen the Shia proto-Caliphate, eventually even to include Tehran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons should the nascent deal the President is pushing come to fruition.

By contrast, in Syria, since 2011, the administration has been driven by its pathological hatred of Assad and the belief that, despite his enjoying the support of both Beijing and Moscow, Assad can be removed through the support of indigenous rebels such as the Free Syria Army. Speaking to the few true moderates that have organizational capability in theater, the sad truth is that we have chosen the wrong rebels. The more organized and loudest rebel groups are not the moderates but the true jihadists, some of whom have in fact formally allied themselves with ISIS. (This is not just a failure of the White House, but also the Republicans in Congress, especially Senator John McCain, who has the uncanny knack of supporting those who would kill us after they have killed all the Shia in the region).

Most disturbing of all is the Administrations willful dismissal of the real center of gravity in this war: the ideology of Global Jihadism. With its constant refrain that “upstream causes” such as poverty and lack of education are the real reason for terrorist violence, the White House displays a total ignorance of the groups we face today, from Al Qaeda to ISIS, from the Fort Hood shooter to the Tsarnaev brothers who killed and maimed hundreds at the Boston bombing.

As political correctness has been forced onto the practice of national security in general and counterterrorism specifically, we see absurd conclusions being drawn and fantastical policies being implemented. The recent international summit on “Combating Violent Extremism” hosted by the President and the White House assiduously preached repeatedly that religion has nothing to do with ISIS or Al Qaeda and concluded with this visual that all we need is more community outreach:

White House Summit

Of course, if poverty and lack of education were the drivers of terrorist violence, then half of the population of India would be terrorists. But they aren’t. Why? Because terrorist violence does not happen in a vacuum. It requires a spark, a narrative that acts as the justification to violence and the catalyst to mobilize people to do horrific acts against their fellow man. That ideology can be secular – for example, the communist terrorism of the Weather Underground led by Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers – or religious, such as ISIS. How else, for example, can one understand why the Islamic state would behead the 21 Coptic Christians whose murder they filmed on the shores of Libya, but instead burn alive the Jordanian pilot Lieutenant Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh? These decisions were not random.

For the jihadists of ISIS, the Copts are kuffar, infidels, and as the Koran teaches, the infidel must be “smitten on the neck” (e.g. Koran Ch. 47 V. 4). However, Lt. Kaseasbeh was a Muslim, a Jordanian Sunni, who in taking arms up against the Caliphate made himself an “apostate” and as a result he had to be killed not as an infidel but as one who committed the sin of leaving Islam and therefore, he was to be treated as if he were in hell, i.e. burnt alive. Religion is therefore so important to this war that it even defines the way in which the terrorists will kill you should you be captured.

Today, the Global Jihad has two brands. It is a war of the “Sunni Coke” versus the “Shia Pepsi” which also targets the local minorities caught in the middle, most especially the ancient Christians of the region.(Incredibly, the Parliament of the European Union seems to understand the threat better than the White House based upon the resolution it just issued against ISIS.) The powers that be have allowed politics and ideology to distort and pervert the practice of national security to such an extent that, incredibly, we are not only helping the Sunni Jihadists, but also the Shia extremists of Iran. Whichever side wins the war for the crown of the Caliph is irrelevant, since once their immediate foe is vanquished we, the infidel West, will be their next target.

Sebastian Gorka Ph.D. is the Major General Matthew C. Horner Chair of Military Theory at the Marine Corps University. You can see his briefing from the Global Counterterrorism Summit on Why ISIS is Much More Dangerous than Al Qaeda here and follow him on Twitter at: @SebGorka.