Chicanery and Resignation as Iran Nuclear Talks Approach Their Conclusion

399618039CSP, by Fred Fleitz:

Amid growing speculation that the P-5 nuclear talks with Iran might be extended pass a November 24 deadline, there were several developments this week that further muddied the waters over the nuclear negotiations.

  1. NYT says Obama plans to sidestep Congress on an Iran deal

An October 19 New York Times article by David Sanger said the Obama administration “will do everything in his power to avoid letting Congress have a vote” on a final nuclear deal with Iran. Sanger also said the president intends to suspend sanctions without Congressional consent.

Although some talking heads got worked up over Sanger’s article, none of this is news.

Since a nuclear agreement with Iran will not be a treaty, it will not be subject to Senate ratification. Last July, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) tried to give Congress a role in approving the agreement by submitting an amendment requiring congressional review of any final agreement with Iran. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to allow this amendment be put to a vote.

Concerning Iran sanctions, Congress has always given presidents the leeway to suspend sanctions if he believes this is in the interests of the United States. The president has already unilaterally suspended some Iran sanctions. Those of us who follow the Iranian nuclear issue have long known the president would unilaterally suspend most of the remaining sanctions after a final nuclear deal was reached.

Several members of Congress expressed their irritation with the Obama administration after the Sanger article. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said on Wednesday that the House will not sit idly by while the Obama administration negotiates a deal with Iran. House Foreign Affairs Committee member Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) said “I disagree with the administration’s reported assertion that it does not need to come to Congress at this point during negotiations with Iran.”

Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) said “Congress will not permit the president to unilaterally unravel Iran sanctions that passed the Senate in a 99-to-0 vote.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) recently said “If a potential deal does not substantially and effectively dismantle Iran’s illicit nuclear weapons program, I expect Congress will respond. An agreement cannot allow Iran to be a threshold nuclear state.” Menendez has said he may push new sanctions against Iran if a final agreement is not reached by November 24.

  1. Do Iran’s recent steps to dilute some of its enriched uranium mean Tehran is serious about reaching a deal on its nuclear program?

Reuters reported on Monday that a new IAEA report said Iran diluted 4,100 kg of 2% enriched uranium to the natural uranium level (0.7% uranium-235). While some may portray this as an important gesture indicating Tehran wants to negotiate a comprehensive agreement on its nuclear program, this move actually will have little impact on the threat from Iran’s nuclear program because its large stockpile of reactor-grade uranium was unaffected. Where this batch 2% enriched uranium enriched came from is unclear. However, a September 2014 IAEA report specified this was a separate batch from Iran’s 12,464 kg of reactor-grade uranium (enriched to 3 to 5%). Iran can still make 7-8 nuclear weapons from its reactor-grade uranium stockpile if this uranium was further enriched to weapons-grade.

  1. New U.S. Concessions

The Iranian news service Mehr reported this week that the Obama administration has offered to allow Iran to operate 4,000 uranium centrifuges. Iran is using centrifuges to enrich uranium to reactor-grade and could easily adapt them to enrich to weapons-grade. Iran has 19,000 centrifuges but only about 9,000 are currently operational.

If this report is true it is consistent with previous reports of U.S. offers allowing Iran to operate 1,500-4,500 centrifuges if it converted any uranium it enriched to uranium power. As I explained in an October 2 National Review Online article, these previous concessions would do little to stop or slow Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Whether or not the U.S. actually made the offer reported by the Iranian news service, this report confirms what appears to be the disturbing direction of the nuclear talks: the United States has conceded to Iran the right to enrich uranium and is now negotiating the size of an Iranian enrichment program.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu got it right when he told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell earlier this month that Iran’s centrifuges “are only good for one thing: to make bomb-grade material.” This is why Israel seeks the full dismantlement of Iran’s uranium enrichment infrastructure and its heavy-water plutonium reactor.

U.S. Iran policy has drifted further than most Americans realize under this administration.   While Obama officials and the foreign policy establishment dismissed Netanyahu‘s sobering words as unreasonable and extreme, he expressed what was the official U.S. position until January 2009.

  1. Dennis Ross Thinks There Could be a Partial Nuclear Deal with Iran

Dennis Ross, a former State Department officer who served as a special adviser to the Obama administration for the Persian Gulf, said in an October 15 Foreign Affairs article that “ultimately, there appears to be little likelihood of a comprehensive deal at the present time” because Iran is demanding a roll back of all sanctions and wants to operate industrial-scale uranium enrichment with limited transparency about its nuclear program. Ross claims the West will only permit a small enrichment program and wants full transparency.

Ross thinks a partial deal which “contains” Iran’s nuclear program and prevents Tehran from moving closer to a nuclear “breakout” capability – the ability to produce enough weapons-grade fuel for one nuclear weapon – would be a good outcome for the nuclear talks. Ross says this might also be achieved by a “muddling through” strategy under which Iran would agree to limit its nuclear program and the West would not impose additional sanctions. Under such a scenario, the nuclear talks would be suspended for a few months but bilateral talks with Tehran would continue.

Ross’ piece was probably a trial balloon by the Obama administration to weigh alternatives to a final deal with Iran.   His proposals are troubling because they perpetuate the fiction that last fall’s interim deal with Iran and the deal currently being negotiated push Iran back from a nuclear breakout. In fact, Iran passed that threshold years ago and can currently make enough nuclear fuel for one nuclear bomb in three to five weeks.

The current understandings with Iran allow Tehran to continue to enrich uranium and keep a huge stockpile of reactor-grade uranium which could be used to fuel 7-8 nuclear weapons if this uranium was enriched to weapons-grade. Iran also has been permitted during this year’s nuclear talks to install new centrifuge designs that may be four to 16 times more efficient. These are unacceptable concessions that Ross is proposing be made permanent under a partial deal with Iran or through a muddling through strategy.

Also see:

The Iran Lobby: Alive, Well and Changing the Face of the Middle East

799454648CSP, By Clare M. Lopez, Oct. 23, 2014:

“In February 2009, as President Barack Obama and his new administration were settling into office, the Center for Security Policy published a report I wrote entitled “RISE OF THE ‘IRAN LOBBY’ Tehran’s front groups move on—and into— the Obama Administration.” This occasional paper from the Center was offered as a warning about the constellation of forces that was just then moving into power positions from which to influence U.S. foreign policy in ways supportive of the Tehran regime’s objectives. Today, five years later, the disastrous fruits of that network’s efforts are evident across the Middle East in ways both predictable and unforeseen: Iran stands on the brink of deploying deliverable nuclear weapons, Turkey’s leadership sponsors HAMAS terrorism and harbors both neo-Ottoman ambitions and a visceral hatred of the Jewish State of Israel, and an Islamic State proclaiming itself a Caliphate sweeps armies and borders before it, oddly enabled by both Iran and Turkey.”

See version with embedded hyperlinks here

See version with footnotes here

 

The Secret History of Hezbollah

BY TONY BADRAN:

Thirty years ago last month, Hezbollah blew up the barracks of the U.S Marines and French paratroopers stationed at the Beirut airport, killing 241 U.S. servicemen and 58 Frenchmen. It wasn’t Hezbollah’s first terrorist operation, but this attack, the most memorable in Lebanon’s vicious and chaotic 15-year-long civil war, marked the Party of God’s entry onto the world stage.

HOSSEIN DEHGHAN IN PARLIAMENT, 2013 AP / EBRAHIM NOROOZI

HOSSEIN DEHGHAN IN PARLIAMENT, 2013
AP / EBRAHIM NOROOZI

Three decades later, thanks to the efforts of Israeli Hezbollah expert Shimon Shapira, we now know that one of the men responsible for the attack was an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander named Hossein Dehghan​—​the man Iranian president Hassan Rouhani recently tapped to be his defense minister. In other words, Hezbollah and the Islamic Republic of Iran have been joined at the hip from the very beginning, even before the 1979 Iranian revolution.

Of course, that’s not the standard account of Hezbollah, the historical narrative jointly constructed and largely agreed upon by Middle East experts, journalists, some Western and Arab intelligence officials, and even Hezbollah figures themselves. This account holds that Hezbollah was founded in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley in 1982 to fight, or “resist,” the Israeli invasion of that year. On this reading, the belief​—​held by the organization’s many critics, targets, and enemies​—​that Hezbollah is little more than an IRGC battalion on the eastern Mediterranean is simply part of a U.S.-Israeli disinformation campaign meant to smear a national resistance movement fighting for the liberation of Lebanese lands. Sure, Hezbollah was founded with some help from Iranian officials, and still receives financial assistance from Tehran, but the organization is strictly a Lebanese affair. It was engendered by Israel’s 1982 invasion and subsequent occupation of Lebanon. The occupation, as one author sympathetic to the group put it, is Hezbollah’s “raison d’être.” 

Even former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak contends that it was the Israeli occupation that gave birth to Hezbollah. “It was our stay [in Lebanon] that established [Hezbollah],” Israel’s most decorated soldier said in 2010. “Hezbollah got stronger not as a result of our exit from Lebanon but as a result of our stay in Lebanon.” Perhaps Barak was simply keen to defend his decision to withdraw Israeli troops from Lebanon in 2000, for his account is simply not true.

The big bang theory of Hezbollah that puts the Israeli occupation at the alpha point is based not in fact but in legend​—​it’s an Israel-centric myth that makes the Jewish state Hezbollah’s motivation and prime mover. In reality, the story of Hezbollah’s origins is a story about Iran, featuring the anti-shah revolutionaries active in Lebanon in the 1970s, years before Israel’s intervention. Thus, to uncover Hezbollah’s roots, it is necessary to mine the accounts of Iranian cadres operating in Lebanon a decade before Israel invaded.

There we find that, contrary to the common wisdom, Hezbollah didn’t arise as a resistance movement to the Israeli occupation. Rather, it was born from the struggle between Iranian revolutionary factions opposed to the shah. Lebanon was a critical front for this rivalry between Hezbollah’s Iranian progenitors and their domestic adversaries. Accordingly, an accurate understanding of this history gives us not only the true story of Hezbollah’s beginnings, but also an insight into the origins of Iran’s Islamic Revolution. Those early internal conflicts and impulses, played out in Lebanon as well as Iran, also provide a roadmap for reading the nature of the current regime in Tehran, its motivations and concerns, its strategies and gambits as it moves toward acquiring a nuclear weapon and challenging the American order in the Middle East.

Read more at The Weekly Standard

Tony Badran is a columnist for the Beirut-based website NOW Lebanon and a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Iran Orders Elite Troops: Lay Off U.S. Forces in Iraq

1412594766052.cachedBy Eli Lake:
The last time Iranian and American forces were in Iraq, the two sides quietly fought each other. Now Iran’s Quds Force officers in Iraq are purposely leaving the Americans alone.
Pay no attention to the Shi’ite militias threatening to kill U.S. troops in Iraq. The elite Iranian forces backing those militias have been ordered not to attack the Americans.

That’s the conclusion of the latest U.S. intelligence assessment for Iraq. And it represents a stunning turnaround for Iran’s Quds Force, once considered America’s most dangerous foe in the region.

U.S. intelligence officials tell The Daily Beast that the apparent Iranian decision not to target American troops inside Iraq reflects Iran’s desire to strike a nuclear bargain with the United States and the rest of the international community before the current negotiations expire at the end of November.

“They are not going after Americans,” one senior U.S. intelligence official told The Daily Beast familiar with the recent assessments. “They want the nuclear talks to succeed and an incident between our guys and their guys would not be good for those talks.”

The Quds Force, named for the Arabic word for Jerusalem, are believed to have hundreds of troops in Iraq. As the primary arm of the Iranian state that supports allied terrorist organizations, their operatives worried Obama’s predecessor so much that the Treasury Department began sanctioning its members in 2007 for sabotaging the government of Iraq. The U.S. military accused the Quds Force of orchestrating cells of terrorists in Iraq. In 2012, Wired magazine dubbed Quds Force leader Qassem Suleimani the most dangerous person on the planet. In 2013, the New Yorker arrived at a similar conclusion, and claimed he has “directed Assad’s war in Syria.”

More recently, the Treasury Department has accused the Quds Force of international heroin trafficking and conducting terrorism and intelligence operations against the Afghanistan government. That’s why it’s so extraordinary that the Quds Force would be perceived to be laying off U.S. forces in Iraq.

But in some ways, the assessment is not surprising. Both Iran and the United States share a common enemy in the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). In late August, U.S. airpower and Iranian-backed militias broke the ISIS siege on the town of Amerli. Suleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, was photographed in Amerli, after the town was liberated from ISIS.

The latest assessments from the U.S. intelligence community also interpret Iran’s behavior in part as linked to the ongoing negotiations between Iran, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China.

A U.S. intelligence official said the Quds Force behavior was the equivalent of a confidence building measure, a diplomatic term that refers to a concession offered to improve the atmosphere of negotiations. (Iran had already offered to play a more “active role” in the regional fight against ISIS, in exchange for nuclear concessions.)

Read more at The Daily Beast

Obama Admin Making “Disturbing Counterproposals” to Iran

2655171361Center For Security Policy, Fred Fleitz:

“U.S. negotiators have responded to Iranian intransigence on key issues with creative but sometimes disturbing counterproposals.”

This sentence describing the ongoing nuclear talks with Iran were not the words of Republican critics of President Obama’s Iran policy.  They were part of a lead editorial that ran in the Washington Post on October 3, 2014.

Think about it: the Washington Post is accusing the Obama administration of making disturbing counterproposals to a radical Islamist state-sponsor of terror which is suspected of having a covert nuclear weapons program.

The long list of these disturbing U.S. counterproposals include:

  • Dropping Western demands that Iran disassemble uranium centrifuges.
  • Allowing Iran to keep its large enriched uranium stockpile.
  • Allowing Iran to develop and install advanced uranium centrifuges.
  • Implicitly accepting Iran’s “right” to enrich uranium.
  • No longer insisting that Iran stop construction of the Arak heavy water reactor which will be a source of plutonium when completed.

While the U.S. continues to make disturbing counterproposals and concessions in the nuclear talks, Iran has given little in return and is refusing to cooperate with IAEA investigations into indications that its nuclear program has military applications.  Iran also refuses to provide IAEA inspectors with full access to its nuclear facilities.

I agree with the Washington Post’s concern that President Obama might be tempted to make more concessions to Iran to get a final nuclear agreement before the talks are schedule to end on November 24.  The Post recommends that unless there is a dramatic change in Iran’s positions, the interim deal which set up this year’s nuclear talks should be extended and Iran be threatened with tougher sanctions if it does not agree.

This recommendation does not go far enough.  A diplomatic process to reduce the threat from a nuclear Iran that includes disturbing American counterproposals and concessions is not in the national security interests of the United States.  It is therefore imperative that Congress reject these talks as well as any agreement they may produce and reestablish a responsible U.S. policy on the Iranian nuclear program by placing new sanctions on Iran until it complies with all UN Security Council resolutions on its nuclear program.

The Nuclear Giveaway

2051705677By Fred Fleitz:

With the Iran nuclear talks now in their endgame and the prospect of a very different political environment in Washington next year if Republicans capture the Senate, Obama officials are in overdrive to achieve their dream of a legacy agreement with Tehran so that President Obama can claim he halted the threat from the Iranian nuclear program. Their goal is to get a final agreement before the nuclear talks are scheduled to end November 24.

While the Obama administration has long been desperate to get such an agreement, two recent ill-advised American concessions and a string of misleading statements and proposals demonstrate how far the White House is willing to go and why it is vital that Congress denounce on a bipartisan basis the nuclear talks and a possible final agreement .

Two weeks ago, the United States floated a proposal to let Iran keep all of its 19,000 centrifuge machines, which Tehran is using to enrich uranium to reactor grade as long as all but 1,500 are “disconnected” and cease enriching uranium. This proposal alarmed many experts because Iran could quickly begin enriching uranium to weapons grade by reconnecting all of its centrifuges.

As generous as this offer was, it apparently did not go far enough for Tehran. The Associated Press reported on September 25 that U.S. diplomats have proposed letting Iran operate up to 4,500 centrifuges if its stockpile of enriched uranium gas is converted to uranium “powder.” This proposal rests on the assumption that such an arrangement would give the international community plenty of time to react to an Iranian “dash” toward constructing a nuclear weapon because it would take over a year for Iran to re-convert low-enriched powder into uranium gas for further enrichment to weapons-grade uranium.

The assumption behind this proposal is false. Both Amos Yadlin, former head of the Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate, and Mark Hibbs, a senior associate with the Carnegie Endowment and nuclear proliferation expert, agree that it would take Iran only about two weeks.

A final agreement also appears unlikely to do anything to reduce the nuclear-proliferation threat posed by Iran’s large stockpile of low-enriched uranium. I noted in NRO last November how a 2013 American Enterprise Institute study found that Iran has produced enough reactor-grade uranium since 2009 “to fuel a small arsenal of nuclear weapons after conversion to weapons grade.” The Langley Intelligence Group Network agreed with this assessment and estimated that, from its 20 percent-enriched-uranium stockpile, Iran could make enough nuclear fuel for one bomb and could make another seven from its reactor-grade uranium if further enriched to weapons grade.

Estimates by the American Enterprise Institute, the Institute for Science and International Security, and the Nuclear Proliferation Education Center on how fast Iran could make enough weapons-grade uranium for one nuclear bomb using reactor-grade uranium range from four to six weeks.

This latest proposed concession continues a pattern of misleading statements and proposals by Obama-administration officials on the Iran talks that began with last November’s interim agreement with Iran, which set up this year’s negotiations on a final agreement.

Read more at Center for Security Policy

See also:

An Emboldened Iran Takes the Stage at the United Nations

rouhani_3048708b-411x350By Arnold Ahlert:

On Thursday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addressed the United Nations in a speech replete with anti-Western sentiments, anti-Semitism, tiresome tropes regarding the genesis of terror, and promises to continue pursuing his nation’s nuclear program.

While acknowledging that terror had become a global issue, Rouhani sought to put the blame everywhere else. “Today’s anti-Westernism is the offspring of yesterday’s colonialism,” Rouhani insisted, proceeding to take a none-too-subtle shot at America, noting that “certain intelligence agencies have put blades in the hands of madmen, who now spare no one.” Apparently omitted from this list of madmen is Syrian President Bashar Assad, who has received direct support from Iran in the form of financial assistance, and despite all denials to the contrary, hundreds of Revolutionary Guard troops fighting in that nation. Iran also supports Hezbollah and Hamas, both of whom have been designated as terrorist organizations by the U.S. State Department.

Thus, it was no surprise that Rouhani characterized the last war between Hamas and Israel as a conflict in which “thousands of innocent Palestinians in Gaza” were victims of the “Zionist regime’s aggression,” even as he characterized his own nation—the one that has openly boasted about sharing missile technology with Hamas to improve their ability to hit Israeli cities—as one of “tranquil secure and stable nations” in the Middle East.

Rouhani also aligned himself with the American left’s thoroughly misguided notions about the root of terror, “that germinates in poverty, discrimination, humiliation and injustice” that “grows in a culture of violence.” Several studies have thoroughly debunked that contention, yet it provides Rouhani and other apologists the opportunity to obscure the reality that Islamic fundamentalism is the primary driver of terror throughout the world. Thus, Rouhani expresses “astonishment” that groups like ISIS “call themselves Islamic” and that the Western media “repeats this false claim, which provokes hatred of all Muslims” and is “part of a (sic) Islamophobic project.” Like every other religion, Rouhani insists Islam is peaceful, and like every other prophet, the taking of even one innocent life is condemned by the prophet Mohammed.

Not quite. The Qur’an is filled with verses promoting violence and death against unbelievers, all the innocence in the world notwithstanding. Furthermore, the concept of abrogation explains that later verses in the Qur’an take precedence over earlier ones. Almost all of the violent verses appear later in the book.

Rouhani nonetheless continued his deceptive characterization of the real problems of the Middle East. “The strategic blunders of the West in the Middle-East, Central Asia and the Caucuses have turned these parts of the world into a haven for terrorists and extremists,” he insists, citing Iraq, Afghanistan and the “improper interference in Syria” as examples. He further insists the Middle East wants democracy—even as it impossible to believe he is unaware of the reality that democracy and Sharia Law are fundamentally incompatible systems of governance.

That reality made itself plain last week, when six Iranians were given suspended sentences of six months and 91 lashes for “obscene behavior” for appearing in a video singing the American pop song “Happy.”

They got off easy. In August, 16-year-old Ateqeh Rajabi was hanged in the Iranian town of Neka. She was executed for having sex with her boyfriend. She was one of several victims executed for sexual “crimes” that violated Sharia Law.

Read more at Frontpage

Will Iran Sell Out Al Qaeda for Nukes?

1411638316752.cachedBy Josh Rogin and Eli Lake:

The Iranians want to make a deal with the U.S.: They help us fight terror in exchange for nuclear concessions. Tehran could start by giving up the al Qaeda leaders it’s harboring.
On Wednesday in New York, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani offered to help the West fight terrorism—and play a more “active role” in the Middle East—as long as the West is willing to do it Iran’s way and also come to a deal on its nuclear program.

The Iranian offer has been widely been interpreted as one to fight ISIS alongside the U.S. After all, Iranian-backed militias and American airpower earlier this month helped drive ISIS out of the Iraqi town of Amerli.

But there’s a second possibility. Iran has long been harboring senior al Qaeda, al Nusra, and so-called Khorasan Group leaders as part of its complicated strategy to influence the region and keep itself off the terrorist target list, according the U.S. government, intelligence agencies, and terrorism experts.

Now, with a potential nuclear deal and rapprochement with the West in sight, the Shiite regime in Tehran could be looking to sell its Sunni terrorist friends down the river.

“The Iranians have kept a lot of these guys as a point of protection. They are explosive bargaining chips,” said Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council. “If they would have handed them over to the United States years ago without getting anything in return, they would have become a greater target for al Qaeda and they would have less cards to play with the U.S. now.”

U.S. officials have insisted all week that although U.S. and Iranian officials have been discussing the war on ISIS and Tehran’s nuclear program on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly this week, the two issues are not linked and never should be. But Iranian officials told Reuters that Iran would help the U.S. fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria only if the U.S. made concessions on Tehran’s nuclear program. The White House publicly rejected the offer.

On Wednesday, Rouhani connected the issues again and said that if only the U.S. struck a deal with Iran on the nuclear issue, Iran could really start to help on ISIS and other terrorist organizations.

“If Iran could reach a comprehensive deal on its nuclear program and leave sanctions behind, it would be able to assume a more active position on interregional dialogue in the Islamic world,” Rouhani told an audience at an event hosted by the New America Foundation.

“No one is justified in helping terrorists, whether they are taking action in Syria, or Iraq, or Lebanon, it really doesn’t matter,” he said. “Terrorism must be driven out and eradicated from the region.”

Washington experts often point out that Iran has more to lose than any country from the spread of ISIS and al Qaeda. The predominantly Shiite country is ideologically opposed to the Sunni terror groups, and ISIS threatens Iran’s dominance over neighboring Iraq. In 2003, Iranhanded over to the United Nations the names of hundreds of al Qaeda suspects.

Yet the relationship between the Shiite mullahs and the Sunni extremists isn’t that simple. The question now is whether Iran is willing to trade those bargaining chips in exchange for the ability to preserve its nuclear program.

“The Iranian regime has nurtured al Qaeda for many years. There are links, there are contacts, they know these people,” said Fouad Hamdan, executive director of the Netherlands-based Rule of Law Foundation, which funds Naame Shaam, an NGO focused on Iran’s role in Syria.

Naame Shaam has produced a 105-page report on Iran’s mischief inside Syria and its ties to al Qaeda, al Nusra, and ISIS. Al Qaeda and ISIS are under orders not to attack inside Iran in order to preserve their supply network there, the report states. The U.S. government concurs.

Read more at The Daily Beast

Also MUST see: (h/t Tom Wyld – @WyldDarkHeart)

 

Foreign policy FUBAR: US providing intel to Hezbollah

hezbollah-300x180By Allen West:

I simply don’t believe in coincidences, especially when it comes to the Obama administration. Remember when we reported here about President Barack Hussein Obama meeting with pro-Hezbollah clerics on 9-11?

And now some very disturbing news has surfaced about American-Hezbollah coordination — let me remind you that Hezbollah is an Iranian-backed Islamic terrorist group based in Lebanon. It was Hezbollah who was responsible for the 1983 Marine Beirut bombing which killed over 250 American Marines, Sailors, and others. It was Hezbollah who was responsible for the hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achilles Lauro and the heinous and barbaric murder of American Jewish citizen Leon Kilnghoffer — a man confined to a wheel chair and pushed off the ship into the Mediterranean Sea.

And despite all this, Hezbollah is indirectly receiving American intelligence aid.

As reported by Arutz Sheva,”Mohammed Afif, the new head of public relations for the Lebanese-based Iranian-backed terror organization Hezbollah, gave a rare New York Times interview as Lebanese experts reveal his group is indirectly receiving American intelligence aid in its fight against Islamic State (ISIS). Following ISIS’s temporary conquest of Arsal last month on the Lebanese side of the Syrian border, the US sent new weapons to the Lebanese army, which coordinates with Hezbollah. Likewise, US intelligence has found its way to Hezbollah according to Lebanese experts. That leaked intelligence may explain some recent impressive achievements against ISIS, including the first known Hezbollah drone strike.”

So let’s have a quick review. The Obama administration released five senior Taliban members to Qatar — where the head of Hamas resides. Obama coordinated with Qatar and Turkey, both major supporters to Islamic terrorist groups. Now apparently Obama is assisting Hezbollah with intelligence — and Hezbollah is a named Islamic terrorist organization.

This ladies and gents is our biggest fear — that the Obama administration would work with nefarious actors in its quest to deal with ISIS — instead of destroying ISIS itself. So Obama may not be dealing with Iran directly, but he’s working with Iran’s proxy terrorist army, Hezbollah.

***

> America is providing intelligence aid to Hezbollah, an Islamic terrorist group that is the avowed enemy of our ally Israel.

> Hezbollah is allied fighting in support of Bashar al-Assad whom Obama said must go.

> Therefore, we are providing intelligence support to Hezbollah who is fighting against the Syrian rebels who we want to arm and train to fight against ISIS who are fighting against Assad who is supported by Hezbollah who is supported by Iran who is the largest sponsor of Islamic terrorism who is responsible for countless attacks against our men and women and is marching towards developing a nuclear bomb capability.

Yep ladies and gents, that is Obama foreign policy — FUBAR!

Read more

America is handing the region to Iran instead of arming the Kurds to defeat IS

kurdsI24 News, By SHERKOH ABBAS Sep. 22, 2014:

“You can lead them to water, but you can’t make them drink.” After having its “head” dunked in the truth of Islamism, the Obama Administration seems to prefer to drown in its failed anti-Bush pacifism.

Everyone knows the most reliably pro-American military in the Syria-Iraq region is the Peshmerga, yet American arms have not been provided to these Kurds, nor has their justified nationalist aspiration been acknowledged, let alone endorsed.

Instead, America is handing the region to Iran (enhancing its nuclear ambitions), accommodating resurrected Turkish dreams of a worldwide caliphate (transcending its “sultanate”), and failing to enlist necessary support from Wahhabist Saudi Arabia (reinforcing its ideological outreach). Indeed, America can’t find anyone to provide the “boots on the ground” that can begin to match the burgeoning Islamic Army, threatening to conquer the American Homeland… and everything in between.

Lame excuses for inaction advanced by Obama’s spokespeople are easily exposed; for example, they failed to ensure that the Continuing (Funding) Resolution passed last week would allow direct support for Erbil without first transiting Baghdad. Again, ideology (“We must not undermine the new ‘unity’ government”) shrouds intent and pays lip-service to the legitimate, urgent needs of one of the diminishing number of unabashedly pro-American fighting forces.

The vacuum displacing a relatively tranquil Pax Americana is predictably and rapidly being filled by both Sunni and Shiite Islamists, and Kurdistan finds itself in the cross fire.

Tehran wants to immortalize a Shiite Crescent (Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon), Ankara wants to sever it with Sunnis (multi-national Arabs and non-Arab Ottomans), and Riyadh wants to stir the pot just enough to foment insurrection, but not enough to allow the Kingdom to be threatened. Geopolitical lines are thereby crossed as these aspirations are being fulfilled, while Kurdistan (joining Israel, to a degree) serves as an irritant, a stubborn target for those harboring far greater aspirations.

Each of these countries has attempted to manipulate Kurdistan via political alliances that serve only to undermine the legitimate aspirations of the populace – self-determination, either as an independent state or as a quasi-independent federated-region. In the mean time, 30-40 million Kurds struggle for survival.

Instead of helping Kurds, who are ready to do America’s bidding, Obama aspires to let the Free Syrian Army decide which “moderates” should receive armaments and year-long training in Saudi Arabia (costing American taxpayers $1 billion). Is Obama enamored of Saudi oil?

Instead of helping Kurds, who desperately need American support, Obama is acceding to Turkey’s rapprochement with the Islamic State, most recently having absented itself from America’s nascent “alliance of the unwilling” in return for release of 49 Turkish hostages. Is Obama pro-Brotherhood?

Instead of helping Kurds, after more than 60 villages and towns in Syrian Kurdistan have fallen to the Islamic State, Obama is receding from opposing Assad (propped up by Rouhani and Putin), hoping that Syrian air defenses (yet to be degraded) won’t block Allied bombers. Is Obama a genocide-appeaser?

Kurds eagerly and valiantly defend Western civilization against Muslims who continue fighting the Crusades; they may be a millennium remote chronologically, but they remain zealots hungry to avenge the 1683 defeat of Islam outside the gates of Vienna.

Demography is rapidly changing, as Kurds are increasingly subject to ethnic cleansing; if defeated, Kurds would be forcibly resettled out of Syria and thereby lose their distinctive identity for, already, a million refugees have relocated, replaced by pro-Assad Shi’ite/Alawite Arabs. Sporadic air-support (recalling the Yazidi plight) is grossly insufficient against the Islamic State. Yet, inexplicably, Obama has even failed to ensure other Arab nations (plus his Turkish pal, Erdoğan) and opposition groups (plus other countries, worldwide) condemn the Islamists’ anti-Kurd acts.

Political groups petitioning for support must have “clean hands.” Thus, elements of the Free Syrian Army seeking allied arms must pass the litmus-test of supporting Kurds, for most are allied with the Muslim Brotherhood or al-Qaida. Unlike stateless-Kurdistan, pro- and anti-Assad entities are merely struggling for power. Therefore, America must provide military, political and humanitarian assistance to Kurdistan urgently, empowering it to lead a coalition of ignored minorities.

Dr. Sherkoh Abbas (President of the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria) and Dr. Robert Sklaroff (a physician-activist) have co-written essays during the past half-decade advocating for an independent Kurdistan.

Also see:

United States says role for Iran in tackling Islamic State

Syrian Ambassador to the U.N. Bashar Ja'afari waits to speak during a United Nations Security Council meeting on Iraq at U.N. headquarters in New York, September 19, 2014. CREDIT: REUTERS/SHANNON STAPLETON

Syrian Ambassador to the U.N. Bashar Ja’afari waits to speak during a United Nations Security Council meeting on Iraq at U.N. headquarters in New York, September 19, 2014.
CREDIT: REUTERS/SHANNON STAPLETON

(Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday that Iran had a role to play in a global coalition to tackle Islamic State militants who have seized swaths of Iraq and Syria and proclaimed a caliphate in the heart of the Middle East.

“The coalition required to eliminate ISIL (Islamic State) is not only, or even primarily, military in nature,” Kerry told a United Nations Security Council meeting on Iraq.

“It must be comprehensive and include close collaboration across multiple lines of effort. It’s about taking out an entire network, decimating and discrediting a militant cult masquerading as a religious movement,” he said. “There is a role for nearly every country in the world to play, including Iran.”

Kerry’s remarks appeared to represent a shift away from previous U.S. statements indicating a reluctance to cooperate with Iran to confront the threat of Islamic State. The United States cut off diplomatic ties with Tehran during a hostage crisis after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The United States, president of the U.N. Security Council for September, called the meeting on Iraq as it builds an international military, political and financial coalition to defeat the radical Sunni Muslim group.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, this week said he had rejected an offer by Washington for talks on fighting Islamic State. Kerry said he refused to be drawn into a “back and forth” with Iran over the issue.

Shi’ite Muslim-dominated Iran is a key ally of the governments in Iraq and Syria.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is the only country in the region that is both capable of and has shown unqualified determination to help the Iraqi government and coordinate with it to assist all those threatened by ISIL,” Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told the council.

“Any real and genuine initiative to remedy regional predicaments needs to originate from within the region and be based on regional cooperation. Combating extremism is not an exception,” he said, repeating Tehran’s official view.

Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are expected to hold bilateral talks on the sidelines of the annual gathering of world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly next week where Islamic State and Tehran’s nuclear program will likely be among key topics of discussion.

U.S. President Barack Obama has said 40 nations have pledged help to a coalition against Islamic State. French jets struck a suspected Islamic State target in Iraq for the first time on Friday, joining a U.S. bombing campaign that started a month ago when Iraq asked for help.

“In 2003, acting against Iraq was something that divided this council; in 2014, acting for Iraq and against the (Islamic State) … terrorists is a duty for all of us,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told the U.N. Security Council, referring to French opposition to the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

The U.N. Security Council on Friday adopted a statement urging “the international community, in accordance with international law, to further strengthen and expand support for the government of Iraq as it fights ISIL (Islamic State) and associated armed groups.”

The U.N. special envoy to Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, said the United Nations estimates some 8,500 have been killed during clashes in Iraq since January and more than 16,000 injured.

“ISIL is a scourge that has brought untold sorrow to the people of Iraq and Syria,” Mladenov told the Security Council. “They have shown contempt for equality, fundamental human rights and the dignity and worth of the human person.”

The United States is also planning to carry out air strikes against Islamic State in Syria, while the U.S. Congress on Thursday gave final approval to Obama’s plan for training and arming moderate Syrian rebels to take on the militants.

Other Western powers have been more reluctant to launch military strikes in Syria, which could be seen to bolster President Bashar al-Assad. Western states have repeatedly called for Assad’s departure over his crackdown on popular protests in 2011 that sparked a civil war, now in its fourth year.

Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin warned that any action by an international coalition against Islamic State should be in line with international law and the U.N. Charter.

He said Russia, long an ally of the Syrian government, was “extremely concerned” about possible air strikes against the militants in Syria without the Damascus government’s approval.

“International counter terrorist operations should be carried out either with the approval of the sovereign government or with the approval of the U.N. Security Council,” Churkin told the council.

“Any other options are considered illegal and undermine international and regional stability,” he said.

Cruz: Nuclear Iran is a Bigger Threat than ISIL

Ted CruzWashington Free Beacon, By Alana Goodman:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) said the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) could lead to a “massive loss of life” in the United States if it is not stopped, but added that he still believes Iran’s nuclear ambitions pose a greater threat to the U.S. than the Islamic State, in an interview with the Washington Free Beacon last week.

The senator also tied Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the Obama administration’s Iran policy, and warned the White House against using a military campaign against ISIL as an excuse to appease Tehran.

“As grave as the threat from ISIS is, in my view the most significant threat to U.S. national security remains the threat of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons capability,” said Cruz. “The incoherence of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy will come to full flower if the peril of ISIS is used as an excuse to further appease Iran and facilitate their acquiring nuclear weapon capability.”

He added that “everything President Obama and Hillary Clinton and John Kerry have done have increased the chances of Iran acquiring nuclear weapon capability, and have perversely increased the chances of future military conflict.”

While Cruz has not said whether he will run for president in 2016, his response to one question suggested that the possibility is on his mind.

“What should a strong president do [to prevent a nuclear Iran]? Well number one, I’ve introduced legislation in the Senate, comprehensive Iran sanctions legislation that demonstrates the direction I believe we should be taking,” said Cruz.

Although he noted that he remains supportive of a new sanctions legislation introduced by Sens. Mark Kirk and Robert Menendez, he called the proposals “weak sauce.”

“Kirk-Menendez on its face is pretty weak sauce. It lays out future contingencies in which ultimately sanctions will be re-imposed. That’s not a rational way to negotiate with religious extremists like [Iranian Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei,” said Cruz.

“The legislation I’ve introduced would immediately re-impose sanctions on Iran, would strengthen those sanctions to make them as crippling as humanly possible, and then it lays out a clear path to how Iran can lift those sanctions.”

Cruz said both ISIL and the Iranian regime are “radical Islamic terrorists who want to kill us. The one thing on which they agree is killing Americans.”

His comments echoed former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who said earlier this month that Tehran posed a more significant geo-strategic threat than ISIL.

Still, the senator warned that failing to confront ISIL could lead to massive U.S. casualties.

“If we don’t act now and if they are able to consolidate power and control of a nation state with massive oil revenues, the inevitable consequence of that will be a significant and perhaps even massive loss of life here in the United States,” said Cruz.

He criticized the idea of arming Syria’s anti-Assad rebels, saying that many of them were allied with ISIL, and the Obama administration had not provided a clear plan on how to keep the weapons from falling into the hands of terrorist groups.

Cruz also defended his opposition to U.S. military action against the Syrian regime last summer.

“Had the administration gotten what it wanted last summer, there’s a very real chance ISIS would be stronger today than it is right now,” said Cruz.

The potential 2016 presidential hopeful sought to strike a middle ground between the non-interventionist wing of the Republican Party and those who supported President Bush’s “freedom agenda.”

“We have a job to do, and it’s not transform distant countries into democratic utopias,” said Cruz. “It’s not turn Iraq into Switzerland. It’s to prevent people who want to kill Americans from killing Americans.”

“I think it is unquestionably right that we are tired of sending our sons and daughters to distant lands to engage with nation-building,” he added. “But I think it is a profound misreading of the American spirit to confuse that with Americans being unwilling to defend themselves, being unwilling to stand up to serious and real national security threats, and to stand up with overwhelming force.”

Israel Warns of Iranian Sweet Talk; Says Nothing’s Changed

1065by Paul Alster
Special to IPT News
September 19, 2014

The international community is allowing the rise of ISIS to distract it from the far more dangerous prospect of a nuclear Iran, Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz warned Wednesday. The comments followed his visit last week to the United States, where he met with senior State Department figures William Burns and Wendy Sherman.

“The Iranians are getting almost everything but giving almost nothing,” Steinitz told a Jerusalem news conference in which he expressed his belief that Iran is being far from truthful in its ongoing P5+1 nuclear talks. “Although it is important to defeat ISIS [Islamic State], if Iran gets nuclear weapons, it’s a different world for decades. This is the main threat to global security and should be the priority… I went [to Washington] concerned and I came back concerned,” Steinitz added. “I didn’t hear anything… that gave me hope.”

Senior Israeli military and intelligence figures have issued similar warnings in recent months, indicating that while Iran under President Hassan Rouhani offers the veneer of a more moderate regime, little has changed in Tehran. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s firebrand supreme leader, still calls all the shots.

A recently published 80-point International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran’s compliance – or non-compliance – indicates that Steinitz has genuine grounds for concern. Among its key findings:

19. “Contrary to the relevant resolutions of the Board of Governors and the Security Council, Iran has not suspended all of its enrichment related activities in the declared facilities…”

49. “Iran is conducting a number of activities at UCF, EUPP, FMP and the Fuel Plate Fabrication Plant (FPFP) at Esfahan … which are in contravention of its obligations to suspend all enrichment related activities and heavy water related projects…”

62. “The Agency remains concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.”

67. “[A]t a particular location at the Parchin site, the Agency has observed through satellite imagery ongoing construction activity that appears to show the removal/replacement or refurbishment of the site’s two main buildings’ external wall structures … These activities are likely to have further undermined the Agency’s ability to conduct effective verification. It remains important for Iran to provide answers to the Agency’s questions and access to the particular location in question.”

Of the main points in the report’s summary, the following is undoubtedly of significant concern:

75. “While the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material at the nuclear facilities and LOFs declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement, the Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”

Iranian failure to comply with the interim P5+1 deal struck last year by the U.S. and other leading nations should mark the end of negotiations, said Steinitz, one of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s closest allies. Allowing the talks to stumble along gives Iran the benefit of continued relief from international sanctions that dealt a crippling blow to the Iranian economy.

“From our point of view, President Obama’s very important principle and statement that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal,’ is by no means a failure,” Steinitz said. “In a sense, it’s a kind of success… It means standing up for your principles and not sacrificing global security.”

Israeli military officials share concern that Iran is threatens that security through its astonishing subterfuge and double-dealing – presenting a benign face to the world while continuing to support terror organizations such as Hamas in Gaza and Hizballah in southern Lebanon.

In a recent exclusive interview, a senior Israeli naval officer (speaking to the IPT on condition of anonymity), outlined the extent to which Iran continues to try evading international efforts to stem its attempts to arm its proxy armies.

“It is a war against this axis [Iran, Hamas, and Hizballah], and this war on the seas is continuing at the same time as these [P5+1] talks are going on,” the navy official said. “I’m happy that these talks are going on because maybe, maybe, it’s a channel to stop this madness. But at the same time, I know that I will not go back home and rest because of the talks. I will keep working.”

“[Iran] not only uses every possible way to pass on weapons, but they are also passing on information and instructions on how to produce weapons in Gaza. We know for sure that even if rockets and weapons reached Gaza tunnels via the Sinai deserts, they weren’t produced in the Sinai desert. They probably arrived by the sea and came from Iran via the Red Sea ports, or Egypt – of course without the knowledge of Egypt itself.”

In recent years, the Israeli navy has intercepted huge Iranian arms shipments on vessels such as the Frankop (2009), the Victoria (2011), and earlier this year the Klos-C, whose cache of M-302 missiles, mortars, and masses of ammunition were hidden under its legitimate cement cargo.

“We know for sure that … weapons have passed through ports on ships that had no knowledge they were carrying this lethal cargo,” the officer explained. “We know they are using containers that are transported from one ship to another, some of which sometimes stand for days or weeks out in the blazing sun waiting for a ship to take it. If one of these [unstable] containers blows up a lot of innocent people will get hurt. All the time Iran uses innocent people and they don’t care how many of those innocent people get hurt, as long as they achieve their mission.”

“My men and ships are out there and we have been kept busy, not only with Iran, but with a lot of people who are not willing to accept the State of Israel. [Syrian dictator Bashar al-]Assad is a little more occupied now than in the past and I don’t believe he has aspirations about war with Israel, but he will do whatever he can by using proxies such as Hizballah that will keep Israel and its army occupied.”

Continuing concerns over Iranian deception, together with the new threat posed to Middle Eastern stability posed by the swift rise of ISIS, have brought about an apparent change – if not in public, then seemingly in private – in alliances of convenience between states which formerly would have balked at the thought of working together, the senior officer said.

“If someone in your neighborhood is slaughtering and torturing – like what happened to the American reporters – you understand that you will do everything for him not to be your neighbor,” he said. “You will join hands with a neighbor with whom you may never have been friendly before to make sure the crazy neighbor won’t do you any harm.”

“I won’t go into specific details on cooperation” he adds, “but I will say for sure that every sane human being that is living around here just wants to have a family, a peaceful life, and a place of work. I hope that one day we will see this happen and … I will go out with my flotilla and join hands with the Egyptian navy, Saudi Arabian navy, everyone around us, to make sure we will keep those people out of the Middle East.”

Paul Alster is an Israel-based contributor to FoxNews.com and The Jerusalem Report and blogs at paulalster.com. He can be followed on Twitter: @paul_alster

No Place for Iran in ISIS Plans

3184128428Center For Security Policy, by Fred Fleitz:

Secretary of State John Kerry’s awkward denial that the United States has not proposed “coordinating with Iran” against ISIS suggests the Obama administration did indeed propose this and is engaged in damage control after its efforts were revealed by Iranian officials.

I wrote in a Sept. 3 Newsmax article that while the U.S. should attack ISIS — also known as ISIL and the Islamic State — in Syria even though this will help keep Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power, the United States must resist the temptation to draw Iran further into the crises in Iraq and Syria. I believe this because Iran bears significant responsibility for the outbreak of sectarian tensions in Iraq since 2011 due to its strong support for the Nouri al-Maliki government and by its training of Shiite militias that have massacred Iraqi Sunnis.

An increased Iranian presence in Iraq would alienate Iraqi Sunnis and make it more difficult to bring them back into the political process.

I believe the Obama administration has been unable to resist the temptation of trying to bring Iran into the battle against ISIS. According to The New York Times, Iranian officials claim they have rejected multiple invitations by the United States to join a coalition against ISIS.

According to the Iranian state news agency — IRNA — Iran’s President Khamenei recently said, “The American ambassador in Iraq asked our ambassador [in Iraq] for a session to discuss coordinating a fight against Daesh [ISIS].”

Khamenei said the Iranian government rejected this request.

Kerry’s denial of Khamenei’s claim was tortuous and hard to believe. Kerry said today that he is not going to get into a “back and forth” with Iran over whether his diplomats suggested that the U.S. and Iran join forces against ISIS. Kerry also said, “I have no idea of what interpretation they drew from any discussion that may or may not have taken place. We are not coordinating with Iran. Period.”

The Los Angeles Times reported today that the U.S. has been discussing ISIS with Iran. According to a Sept. 14 LA Times article, “The U.S., for its part, says it is not coordinating military efforts against Islamic State with Iran, though it has repeatedly discussed the issue with Iranian officials.”

Despite holding behind the scenes discussions with Iran about Iraq, Syria and ISIS, the United States vetoed Iran’s participation in an international conference that opened today in Paris on the ISIS threat. While I agree this was the right move, the Obama administration’s decision to publicly block Iran from the Paris ISIS conference while it conducts secret talks with Tehran on the same issues this conference will be addressing suggests Obama officials are trying to conceal what they are discussing with Iran from the American people and Congress.

So when do U.S. talks with Iran about ISIS become cooperation? More importantly, why is the United States using nuclear talks with Iran — which are going very badly — to discuss Iraq and Syria? What purpose could this achieve other than getting Iran more involved in these two countries.

It is fortunate that Iran revealed the overtures by Obama officials to coordinate on the ISIS threat since Congress can now demand answers from the administration about this latest foreign policy blunder and hopefully force the president to halt any efforts by his diplomats to draw Iran further into the crises in Iraq and Syria.

LOPEZ: Obama pledges additional support for Iranian puppet regimes

In this photo released by an official website of the Iranian supreme leader's office, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a meeting in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014.  (AP Photo/Office of the Supreme Leader)

In this photo released by an official website of the Iranian supreme leader’s office, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a meeting in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Office of the Supreme Leader)

By Clare Lopez:

In a prime time address to the nation on the eve of 11 September 2014, President Obama pledged an expanded U.S. effort to destroy the Islamic State (IS), which he still calls “ISIL” (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant). American air power, stepped-up training for anti-Assad Syrian jihadis (which he calls “moderate rebels”), an additional $25 million in financial aid to Baghdad, and partnership with “a broad coalition” (that currently consists of 9 countries) comprise the key elements of the new military campaign.

Given that the only territory IS currently threatens are the regimes of two Iranian puppets – one in Baghdad, one in Damascus – Obama’s announcement in effect amounts to a renewed U.S. commitment to support Tehran’s grip on regional hegemony. The nuclear talks about how quickly the U.S. will accede to the Iranian bomb resume in another week.

Remarkably, the president opened his remarks with the rather preposterous claim that “ISIL is not Islamic.” Now, Obama himself has admitted in his autobiography “Dreams From My Father” that he “made faces during Quranic studies.” Still, it might be expected that he retained something of those madrassa lessons—or at least that White House advisors (not the Muslim Brotherhood ones, though) would have steered him away from such an egregious misstatement.

As it is, one of the reasons that the Saudi regime is so shaken by the approach of IS forces toward its borders is precisely because Riyadh royals know full well their Islamic piety doesn’t begin to measure up to the purity of IS practice. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the IS leader, not only boasts a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from a Baghdad university, but wears the black turban to signify descent from Muhammad. Whether entitled to claim the Islamic prophet’s bloodline or not, al-Baghdadi models his every action on the example Muslims believe set out for them centuries ago by the founder of their faith. For Muslim purists like al-Baghdadi, the Qur’anic verse 33:21 that tells them “Ye have indeed in the Apostle of Allah a beautiful pattern of conduct for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day…” is taken quite literally (amputations, beheading, crucifixions, flogging and all).

Obama rambled on, claiming next that “ISIL is certainly not a state.” Unfortunately for the Iranian proxies in Baghdad and Damascus that are his intended beneficiaries, it is their former states that no longer exist—because the Islamic State, the Caliphate, has dismantled them. Obama did seem to recognize the effective erasure of the 1916 Sykes-Picot borders at least in some measure, though, as he declared his intent to expand U.S. air strikes more evenly throughout the Caliphate (including into what used to be called Syria as well as the former Iraq).

Apparently in pursuit of a public relations coup that’s eluded him of late, Obama nevertheless offered up additional glimpses of his unenviable conundrum about which jihadis to support on the ground in the intra-Islamic sectarian struggle that’s torn the region apart since the Islamic Uprising began in 2011.

For example, he seems to have conveniently forgotten that the ranks of today’s IS are full of Syrian jihadis armed, funded, and trained by U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) in cooperation with the now-terrified Hashemites, NATO ally Turkey, Muslim Brotherhood sponsor Qatar, and the flailing Saudi monarchy. A monster has slipped the leash but the American president says he’s more than ready to provide even more support to more Syrian rebels, who, this time, definitely will be exclusively the ‘moderate’ ones.

But what about the threat to the homeland if IS is allowed to exist and consolidate? Well, the question somehow is never asked about how either individual jihadis or small jihadi cells that an IS enclave might direct to attack the homeland are in any way different than the jihadis the Iranian or the Saudi state have launched our way over the decades—to include the hijackers of September 11, 2001 or the uncounted numbers of Hizballah cells operating across the Americas today. But there’s never been a hint of a suggestion that those jihadist sponsoring states constitute a compelling national security threat to the U.S. that requires an international coalition to deal with them.

Read more at Washington Times

Clare M. Lopez is the Vice President for Research and Analysis at the Center for Security Policy.