Senators focusing on bill to limit nuclear deal with Iran

SUSAN WALSH, FILE AP PHOTO

SUSAN WALSH, FILE AP PHOTO

Kansas City Star, BY DEB RIECHMANN, April 1, 2015:

A bill calling for Congress to have a say on an emerging nuclear agreement with Iran has turned into a tug of war on Capitol Hill, with Republicans trying to raise the bar so high that a final deal might be impossible and Democrats aiming to give the White House more room to negotiate with Tehran.

Senators of both parties are considering more than 50 amendments to a bill introduced by Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Bob Menendez, D-N.J. The bill would restrict Obama’s ability to ease sanctions against Iran without congressional approval.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday is to debate the amendments and vote on the bill, which has pitted the White House against the GOP-led Congress on a critical foreign policy issue that President Barack Obama wants etched in his legacy. Obama administration officials, who are expected to continue lobbying lawmakers next week, don’t want Congress to take any action before a final deal could be reached by the end of June.

There is strong support, however, from lawmakers of both parties who think they should be able to weigh in on any agreement aimed at preventing Iran from being able to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says its program is for civilian purposes, but the U.S. and its partners negotiating with Tehran suspect Iran is keen to become a nuclear-armed powerhouse in the Middle East, where it already holds much sway.

There have been intense negotiations on Capitol Hill for the past several days about ways to amend the bill. Advocacy groups and congressional staffers provided details about amendments, which still might be withdrawn or rewritten.

Under the bill as it is currently written, Obama could unilaterally lift or ease any sanctions that were imposed on Iran through presidential action. But the bill would prohibit him for 60 days from suspending, waiving or otherwise easing any sanctions Congress levied on Iran. During that 60-day period, Congress could hold hearings and approve, disapprove or take no action on any final nuclear agreement with Iran.

If Congress passed a joint resolution approving a final deal — or took no action — Obama could move ahead to ease sanctions levied by Congress. But if Congress passed a joint resolution disapproving it, Obama would be blocked from providing Iran with any relief from congressional sanctions.

In an effort to give the president more negotiating room, Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, the new ranking Democrat on the foreign relations committee, and a few of his Democratic colleagues have proposed letting Obama waive congressionally imposed sanctions if not doing so would cause the U.S. to be in violation of a final agreement.

Several Democratic senators also have proposed shortening the congressional review period to 30 days or even 10 days that Congress is in session. Democrats also want to strike a part of the bill that requires the Obama administration to certify that Iran has not directly supported or carried out an act of terrorism against the United States or an American anywhere in the world.

On the Republican side, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a likely presidential candidate, has proposed an amendment that would require the Obama administration to certify that Iran’s leaders have publicly accepted Israel’s right to exist. That’s a tall order. Iran has threatened to destroy Israel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned the U.S. about making a deal with Iranian leaders, whom he distrusts.

Dylan Williams, a lobbyist for the liberal Jewish group J Street, argues that Rubio’s proposed amendment puts Republicans in a “lose-lose” position. Adopting the amendment would kill the Corker bill, Williams said, because many senators would vote against a provision they know the Iranians would never accept. Defeating the amendment, he said, would be seen as a slap at Netanyahu, whom GOP leaders have strongly supported on the Iran nuclear matter.

Republican senators also are contemplating amendments that would require that any final agreement be a treaty. That’s also a high hurdle because treaties must be approved by two-thirds of the Senate.

Before any sanctions are eased, one of four amendments drafted by Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming would require the president to certify that any funds Iran received as a result of sanction relief would not facilitate Iran’s ability to support terrorists or build nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles. He says he will formally introduce the amendments only if Democrats try to weaken the bill, which he supports.

And Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., has filed amendments to the bill to require Congress to address the issue of compensation for 52 Americans held hostage in Iran from November 1979 to January 1981 before any deal is finalized, any sanctions are eased or diplomatic relations with Iran are normalized.

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Netanyahu told cabinet: Our biggest fear is that Iran will honor nuclear deal (haaretz.com)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a recent meeting of the inner cabinet that if a comprehensive nuclear agreement between Iran and the six world powers is indeed signed by the June 30 deadline, the greatest concern is that Tehran will fully implement it without violations, two senior Israeli officials said.

The meeting of the inner cabinet was called on short notice on April 3, a few hours before the Passover seder. The evening before, Iran and the six powers had announced at Lausanne, Switzerland that they had reached a framework agreement on Iran’s nuclear program and that negotiations over a comprehensive agreement would continue until June 30.

The inner cabinet meeting was called after a harsh phone call between Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama over the agreement with Tehran.

The two senior Israeli officials, who are familiar with the details of the meeting but asked to remain anonymous, said a good deal of the three-hour meeting was spent on ministers “letting off steam” over the nuclear deal and the way that the U.S. conducted itself in the negotiations with Iran.

According to the two senior officials, Netanyahu said during the meeting that he feared that the “Iranians will keep to every letter in the agreement if indeed one is signed at the end of June.”

One official said: “Netanyahu said at the meeting that it would be impossible to catch the Iranians cheating simply because they will not break the agreement.”

Netanyahu also told the ministers that in 10 to 15 years, when the main clauses of the agreement expire, most of the sanctions will be lifted and the Iranians will show that they met all their obligations. They will then receive a “kashrut certificate” from the international community, which will see Iran as a “normal” country from which there is nothing to fear.

Under such circumstances, the prime minister said, it will be very difficult if not impossible to persuade the world powers to keep up their monitoring of Iran’s nuclear program, not to mention imposing new sanctions if concerns arise that Iran has gone back to developing a secret nuclear program for military purposes.

It was decided during the inner cabinet meeting to try to persuade the Obama administration to improve the agreement. However, Netanyahu and most of the ministers agreed that the only way to stop the agreement, even if it was unlikely to succeed, was through Congress. Thus, a good deal of Israeli efforts will focus on convincing members of Congress to vote for the Iran Nuclear Review Act, proposed by the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Corker, that could delay implementation of a deal if one is reached.

Corker’s bill calls for a 60-day delay in implementing any signed nuclear deal, during which time Congress would scrutinize all the agreement’s details. The bill requires senior administration officials to provide Congress with detailed reports on the deal as well as attend Congressional hearings on the subject. Corker’s bill also states that American sanctions that were imposed by law would only be lifted if within the 60 days allotted for scrutiny of the agreement, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs declared their support for the pact.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is to meet Tuesday for its first vote on the Corker bill, after which it will be voted on by the entire Senate. The White House is opposed to the bill and is threatening to veto it. At this point, in addition to all 54 Republican senators, nine Democratic senators have also expressed their support for the bill, leaving it four Democratic senators short, so far, of the 67-vote majority that would make the bill veto-proof.

The pro-Israeli lobby AIPAC, which coordinates the activities of the Israeli Embassy in Washington with the prime minister’s bureau in Jerusalem, has begun over the past few days to exert pressure on Democratic senators – both publicly and privately – to get them to vote for the Corker bill.

AIPAC also claimed over the weekend on its official Twitter account that the framework of the current agreement would make it possible for Iran to become a threshold nuclear state within 15 years and therefore pressure should be brought to bear on Congress to vote for the Corker bill.

Netanyahu and Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, want to see changes inserted in the bill that will make it more binding, and even turn it into one that prevents an agreement with Tehran rather than delaying it.

One change Netanyahu is seeking is a new clause that the deal with Iran be considered a treaty; an international treaty signed by the United States must be approved by a two-thirds majority in the Senate.

The Republican senator from Wisconsin, Ron Johnson, reportedly intends to demand at Tuesday’s meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that this clause be added to the bill.

Meanwhile, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, considered one of the Republican Party’s potential candidates for the 2016 presidential campaign, wants to see an amendment to the bill adopting Netanyahu’s demand that Iranian recognition of Israel’s right to exist be part of any comprehensive agreement signed at the end of June.

However, if the Senate Foreign Relations Committee votes in favor of one or both of these amendments in its meeting Tuesday, it could lead Democratic senators, who had already agreed to support the original deal with Iran, to change their minds.

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***Tell your Senators: I Support the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act!***

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Former Israeli Amb. Compares Obama to Neville Chamberlain, Says “US is Deteriorating Relationship w/Israel” (VIDEO)

The Gateway Pundit, by Jim Hoft, April 10, 2015:

Former Israeli ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman compares Obama to Neville Chamberlain

The Obama White House mocked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Thursday on Twitter over his Iranian nuclear concerns.
Notice the picture of the bomb in the White House tweet.

WH tweet

The Obama administration used the same bomb picture that Benjamin Netanyahu used in his speech at the United Nations in September 2012.

OB-UT309_0927bo_G_20120927143341

Today former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman responded to this latest insult to Israel.
Gillerman told FOX:

I think this is a very ominous message. The president has been all over the place trying to explain the deal with Iran, trying to sell the deal with Iran. I think he’s being a terrible salesman. I think by the White House doing this they are deteriorating the relationship between the United States and its only ally in the region to a very, very low point… This is not about your watch this is about the life of our children and grandchildren as well as your grandchildren. So if you don’t care what happens in 20 months after you leave the White House, we do.

And those words, “This will never happen under my watch,” echo very ominously the words of Neville Chamberlain the Prime Minister of England who came back from Munich and said there would be peace in our time and ended up bringing this world its worst war, World War II. And I think the way that the president is trying to appease Iran is very similar to the appeasement of Hitler.

Also see:

Bill Whittle – Take Them At Their Word: Iran Might Destroy Us

chamberlain-obama

Published on Apr 9, 2015 by PJ Media

Chamberlain didn’t take Hitler at his word that he was going to try to conquer Europe, and Obama isn’t taking Iran at their word that they will destroy us.

The diplomatic track to war

Iran negotiations. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Iran negotiations. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Jerusalem Post, by Caroline Glick, April 3, 2015:

The world powers assembled at Lausanne, Switzerland, with the representatives of the Islamic Republic may or may not reach a framework deal regarding Iran’s nuclear program. But succeed or fail, the disaster that their negotiations have unleashed is already unfolding. The damage they have caused is irreversible.
US President Barack Obama, his advisers and media cheerleaders have long presented his nuclear diplomacy with the Iran as the only way to avoid war. Obama and his supporters have castigated as warmongers those who oppose his policy of nuclear appeasement with the world’s most prolific state sponsor of terrorism.

But the opposite is the case. Had their view carried the day, war could have been averted.

Through their nuclear diplomacy, Obama and his comrades started the countdown to war.

In recent weeks we have watched the collapse of the allied powers’ negotiating positions.

They have conceded every position that might have placed a significant obstacle in Iran’s path to developing a nuclear arsenal.

They accepted Iran’s refusal to come clean on the military dimensions of its past nuclear work and so ensured that to the extent UN nuclear inspectors are able to access Iran’s nuclear installations, those inspections will not provide anything approaching a full picture of its nuclear status. By the same token, they bowed before Iran’s demand that inspectors be barred from all installations Iran defines as “military” and so enabled the ayatollahs to prevent the world from knowing anything worth knowing about its nuclear activities.

On the basis of Iran’s agreement to ship its stockpile of enriched uranium to Russia, the US accepted Iran’s demand that it be allowed to maintain and operate more than 6,000 centrifuges.

But when on Monday Iran went back on its word and refused to ship its uranium to Russia, the US didn’t respond by saying Iran couldn’t keep spinning 6,000 centrifuges. The US made excuses for Iran.

The US delegation willingly acceded to Iran’s demand that it be allowed to continue operating its fortified, underground enrichment facility at Fordow. In so doing, the US minimized the effectiveness of a future limited air campaign aimed at significantly reducing Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

With this broad range of great power concessions already in its pocket, the question of whether or not a deal is reached has become a secondary concern. The US and its negotiating partners have agreed to a set of understanding with the Iranians. Whether these understandings become a formal agreement or not is irrelevant because the understandings are already being implemented.

True, the US has not yet agreed to Iran’s demand for an immediate revocation of the economic sanctions now standing against it. But the notion that sanctions alone can pressure Iran into making nuclear concessions has been destroyed by Obama’s nuclear diplomacy in which the major concessions have all been made by the US.

No sanctions legislation that Congress may pass in the coming months will be able to force a change in Iran’s behavior if they are not accompanied by other coercive measures undertaken by the executive branch.

There is nothing new in this reality. For a regime with no qualms about repressing its society, economic sanctions are not an insurmountable challenge. But it is possible that if sanctions were implemented as part of a comprehensive plan to use limited coercive means to block Iran’s nuclear advance, they could have effectively blocked Iran’s progress to nuclear capabilities while preventing war. Such a comprehensive strategy could have included a proxy campaign to destabilize the regime by supporting regime opponents in their quest to overthrow the mullahs. It could have involved air strikes or sabotage of nuclear installations and strategic regime facilities like Revolutionary Guards command and control bases and ballistic missile storage facilities. It could have involved diplomatic isolation of Iran.

Moreover, if sanctions were combined with a stringent policy of blocking Iran’s regional expansion by supporting Iraqi sovereignty, supporting the now deposed government of Yemen and making a concerted effort to weaken Hezbollah and overthrow the Iranian-backed regime in Syria, then the US would have developed a strong deterrent position that would likely have convinced Iran that its interest was best served by curbing its imperialist enthusiasm and setting aside its nuclear ambitions.

In other words, a combination of these steps could have prevented war and prevented a nuclear Iran. But today, the US-led capitulation to Iran has pulled the rug out from any such comprehensive strategy. The administration has no credibility. No one trusts Obama to follow through on his declared commitment to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

No one trusts Washington when Obama claims that he is committed to the security of Israel and the US’s Sunni allies in the region.

And so we are now facing the unfolding disaster that Obama has wrought. The disaster is that deal or no deal, the US has just given the Iranians a green light to behave as if they have already built their nuclear umbrella. And they are in fact behaving in this manner.

They may not have a functional arsenal, but they act as though they do, and rightly so, because the US and its partners have just removed all significant obstacles from their path to nuclear capabilities. The Iranians know it. Their proxies know it. Their enemies know it.

As a consequence, all the regional implications of a nuclear armed Iran are already being played out. The surrounding Arab states led by Saudi Arabia are pursuing nuclear weapons. The path to a Middle East where every major and some minor actors have nuclear arsenals is before us.

Iran is working to expand its regional presence as if it were a nuclear state already. It is brazenly using its Yemeni Houthi proxy to gain maritime control over the Bab al-Mandab, which together with Iran’s control over the Straits of Hormuz completes its maritime control over shipping throughout the Middle East.

Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Eritrea, and their global trading partners will be faced with the fact that their primary maritime shipping route to Asia is controlled by Iran.

With its regional aggression now enjoying the indirect support of its nuclear negotiating partners led by the US, Iran has little to fear from the pan-Arab attempt to dislodge the Houthis from Aden and the Bab al-Mandab. If the Arabs succeed, Iran can regroup and launch a new offensive knowing it will face no repercussions for its aggression and imperialist endeavors.

Then of course there are Iran’s terror proxies.

Hezbollah, whose forces now operate openly in Syria and Lebanon, is reportedly active as well in Iraq and Yemen. These forces behave with a brazenness the likes of which we have never seen.

Hamas too believes that its nuclear-capable Iranian state sponsor ensures that regardless of its combat losses, it will be able to maintain its regime in Gaza and continue using its territory as a launching ground for assaults against Israel and Egypt.

Iran’s Shiite militias in Iraq have reportedly carried out heinous massacres of Sunnis who have fallen under their control and faced no international condemnation for their war crimes, operating as they are under Iran’s protection and sponsorship. And the Houthis, of course, just overthrew a Western-backed government that actively assisted the US and its allies in their campaign against al-Qaida.

For their proxies’ aggression, Iran has been rewarded with effective Western acceptance of its steps toward regional domination and nuclear armament.

Hezbollah’s activities represent an acute and strategic danger to Israel. Not only does Hezbollah now possess precision guided missiles that are capable of taking out strategic installations throughout the country, its arsenal of 100,000 missiles can cause a civilian disaster.

Hezbollah forces have been fighting in varied combat situations continuously for the past three years. Their combat capabilities are incomparably greater than those they fielded in the 2006 Second Lebanon War. There is every reason to believe that these Hezbollah fighters, now perched along Israel’s borders with Lebanon and Syria, can make good their threat to attack and hold fixed targets including border communities.

While Israel faces threats unlike any we have faced in recent decades that all emanate from Western-backed Iranian aggression and expansionism carried out under a Western-sanctioned Iranian nuclear umbrella, Israel is not alone in this reality. The unrolling disaster also threatens the moderate Sunni states including Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. The now regional war in Yemen is but the first act of the regional war at our doorstep.

There are many reasons this war is now inevitable.

Every state threatened by Iran has been watching the Western collapse in Switzerland.

They have been watching the Iranian advance on the ground. And today all of them are wondering the same thing: When and what should we strike to minimize the threats we are facing.

Everyone recognizes that the situation is only going to get worse. With each passing week, Iran’s power and brazenness will only increase.

Everyone understands this. And this week they learned that with Washington heading the committee welcoming Iran’s regional hegemony and nuclear capabilities, no outside power will stand up to Iran’s rise. The future of every state in the region hangs in the balance. And so, it can be expected that everyone is now working out a means to preempt and prevent a greater disaster.

These preemptive actions will no doubt include three categories of operations: striking Hezbollah’s missile arsenal; striking the Iranian Navy to limit its ability to project its force in the Bab al-Mandab; and conducting limited military operations to destroy a significant portion of Iran’s nuclear installations.

Friday is the eve of Passover. Thirteen years ago, Palestinian terrorists brought home the message of the Exodus when they blew up the Seder at Netanya’s Park Hotel, killing 30, wounding 140, and forcing Israel into war. The message of the Passover Haggada is that there are no shortcuts to freedom. To gain and keep it, you have to be willing to fight for it.

That war was caused by Israel’s embrace of the notion that you can bring peace through concessions that empower an enemy sworn to your destruction. The price of that delusion was thousands of lives lost and families destroyed.

Iran is far more powerful than the PLO. But the Americans apparently believe they are immune from the consequences of their leaders’ policies. This is not the case for Israel or for our neighbors. We lack the luxury of ignoring the fact that Obama’s disastrous diplomacy has brought war upon us. Deal or no deal, we are again about to be forced to pay a price to maintain our freedom.

As Nuclear Talks Continue, Iran Issues Latest Threat to Destroy Israel

Members of Iran's Basij paramilitary force march in TehranReuters

Members of Iran’s Basij paramilitary force march in TehranReuters

IPT News  •  Mar 31, 2015

On a day Iran and western powers reportedly agreed to move talks on Iran’s nuclear weapons program to “a new phase,” a commander of the Islamic Republic’s volunteer paramilitary force issued new threats of “wiping Israel off the map.”

The goal of Israel’s destruction is non-negotiable, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, head of Iran’s volunteer Basij Force said during a recent conference, according to a Kol Yisrael radio report. The Basij Force is a part of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Such talk might be dismissed as idle rhetoric.

But Iran continues to beef up Hizballah’s rocket arsenal, smuggling guided warheads into Lebanon, the Jerusalem Post‘s Yaakov Lappin reports.

Iran “is manufacturing new and advanced ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles,” Col. Aviram Hasson, an Israeli missile defense expert, told Israel Air and Missile Defense Conference in Herzliya this week. “It is turning unguided rockets that had an accuracy range of kilometers into weapons that are accurate to within meters.”

The advancements put Hizballah, Iran’s Lebanese terrorist proxy, “in a very different place compared to the Second Lebanon War in 2006,” Hasson said.

In that war, Hizballah fired 4,000 rockets at Israeli cities. The range of its current arsenal of more than 100,000 rockets include some capable of traveling several hundred kilometers, placing Israel’s civilian population centers at risk.

Israel’s Home Front Command has warned cities that they may need to evacuate civilians in the face of an onslaught of dozens to hundreds of missiles in a single day, Lappin reports.

Those missiles are likely beyond the capability of Israel’s “Iron Dome” defense system, which intercepted scores of Hamas rockets fired at the country during last summer’s war in Gaza. “David’s Sling,” a similar system for longer range missiles, isn’t expected to be operational for another year.

Hizballah fighters are busy in Syria, fighting alongside dictator Bashar al-Assad’s forces in fighting that has claimed more than 210,000 lives. But the group continues to plan for the next war with Israel, too, perhaps because Iran’s rhetoric about seeking Israel’s annihilation is consistent and specific.

“The biggest threat to our security and our future was and remains Iran’s attempts to arm with nuclear weapons,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday.

***

Statement by PM Netanyahu on Lausanne Talks

***

Also see:

Mischief at the U.N.

NETANYAHU AND OBAMA SHARE A WARM MOMENT, MAY 20, 2011. NEWSCOM

NETANYAHU AND OBAMA SHARE A WARM MOMENT, MAY 20, 2011.
NEWSCOM

Weekly Standard, By John Bolton, March 30, 2015:

Immediately after Israel’s March 17 election, Obama administration officials threatened to allow (or even encourage) the U.N. Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state and confine Israel to its pre-1967 borders. Within days, the president himself joined in, publicly criticizing not just Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom Obama has had notoriously bad relations, but sectors of Israeli opinion and even Israel itself.

The administration leaks suggesting that Israel be cut adrift in the Security Council in effect threatened “collective punishment” as a weapon in U.S.-Israel relations. This is especially ironic coming from “progressives” who have repeatedly accused Israel of “collective punishment” by forcefully retaliating against terrorist attacks. But more important, exposing Israel to the tender mercies of its Security Council opponents harms not only Israel’s interests, but America’s in equal measure. Roughly half of Washington’s Security Council vetoes have been cast against draft resolutions contrary to our Middle East interests.

America’s consistent view since Council Resolution 242 concluded the 1967 Arab-Israeli war is that only the parties themselves can structure a lasting peace. Deviating from that formula would be a radical departure by Obama from a bipartisan Middle East policy nearly half a century old.

In fact, Israel’s “1967 borders” are basically only the 1949 cease-fire lines, but its critics shrink from admitting this tedious reality. The indeterminate status of Israel’s borders from its 1948 creation is in fact a powerful argument why only negotiation with relevant Arab parties can ultimately fix the lines with certainty.

That is why Resolution 242’s “land for peace” formula, vague and elastic though it is, was acceptable to everyone in 1967: There were no hard and fast boundaries to fall back on, no longstanding historical precedents. Prior U.N. resolutions from the 1940s, for example, had all been overtaken by events. Only negotiation, if anything, could leave the parties content; externally imposed terms could only sow future conflicts. Hence, Resolution 242 does not call for a return to the prewar boundaries, but instead affirms the right of “every State in the area” to “secure and recognized boundaries.” Ignoring this fundamental reality is fantasy.

So what drives Obama to conjure his Security Council threat? Obviously, deep antipathy for Netanyahu is one reason. Obama didn’t like Netanyahu before Israel’s recent election, and liked him even less after Bibi’s speech to a joint session of Congress. Hoping to motivate lukewarm or indifferent Likud voters to pump up his election-day support, Netanyahu emphasized his opponents’ efforts to turn out anti-Likud Arab voters, and Obama flayed him for it. Obama also opposed Netanyahu’s preelection criticism of the “two-state solution” and disdained Netanyahu’s efforts to clarify his comments after he won.

So Obama’s list of complaints about Netanyahu is long and getting longer. But if the criticisms were really about Netanyahu’s campaign tactics, threatening to let slip the dogs of political war in the Security Council would hardly be an appropriate response. Obama’s punishment would simply not fit Netanyahu’s crime.

Far more disturbing, Obama’s postelection statements demonstrate something much deeper than just animosity toward Netanyahu. Obama said that “Israeli democracy has been premised on everybody in the country being treated equally and fairly. If that is lost, then I think that not only does it give ammunition to folks who don’t believe in a Jewish state, but it also, I think, starts to erode the meaning of democracy in the country.”

With these comments, Obama is criticizing not just Netanyahu, but the very legitimacy of Israel’s democracy, giving an implicit green light to those prepared to act violently against it. Obama’s remarks are substantially more egregious than Secretary of State John Kerry’s 2014 criticism that Israel’s unwillingness to follow the White House lead in the Palestinian negotiations made it understandable if there were another Palestinian intifada or further efforts by the international “boycotts, sanctions, and divestiture” movement against Israel.

Obama is thus going well beyond acting unpresidential or even immature. Whether one takes his or Netanyahu’s side, the administration’s approach is now squarely contrary to America’s larger strategic interests. And the global harm that will be done to common U.S. and Israeli interests through Security Council resolutions if Washington stands aside (or worse, joins in) will extend far beyond the terms of one prime minister and one president.

Consider the inevitable damage merely from the sort of council resolution threatened by Obama’s leakers. Declaring that a Palestinian state exists outside of Israel’s 1967 boundaries would instantly terminate all bilateral Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy on these central issues. What else would there be to talk about? Resolution 242’s basic premise would be upended; rather than enhancing the role of diplomacy between Israel and the relevant Arab parties, a Palestinian statehood resolution would eliminate it.

The reverberations would echo even wider. Already, Obama’s representatives on the U.N. Human Rights Council declined to defend Israel during the HRC’s annual festival of Israel-bashing, another first from our transformative president.

More seriously, Israel’s “occupation” of West Bank lands would immediately render it in violation of the statehood resolution, thus exposing it to international sanctions, including from the Security Council if Obama continued to stand aside. Prosecutions of Israeli officials in the International Criminal Court would instantly have a jurisdictional basis, and those officials would also be exposed to “universal jurisdiction” statutes that have become all the rage with the international left in recent decades. And won’t the White House be surprised when “Palestine” gains admission to the entire U.N. system, triggering a statutorily required cut-off of U.S. contributions to each agency that admits the new state!

No end of mischief will flow from even one undisciplined Security Council resolution, let alone whatever else Obama is prepared to allow. Obama’s criticisms, with the implied charge of racism not far beneath their surface, have once again brought Israel’s very legitimacy into question. We are all too close to resurrecting the U.N.’s 1975 “Zionism is racism” resolution. Daniel Patrick Moynihan would not recognize Obama as a president from the Democratic party.

Obama needs reminding that petulance is for teenagers, not presidents. U.S. interests extend beyond personalities and temporary frustrations. As in many other policy areas, Obama’s “l’état, c’est moi” approach is laying foundations for enormous problems both today and long after he leaves office. If anyone wants a convincing argument why national security must be at the very center of America’s 2016 presidential contest, Obama has surely supplied it.

John R. Bolton, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations
in 2005-06.

Also see:

The Collapse of Obama’s Geo-Political Equilibrium in the Middle East

Yemen President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, left, meets with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at Sharm El=Shaik Summit , March 27, 2015. Source: AP/MENA

Yemen President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, left, meets with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at Sharm El=Shaik Summit , March 27, 2015. Source: AP/MENA

NER, By Jerry Gordon, March 29, 2015:

This weekend, less than 72 hours before the deadline for P5+1 political framework for Iran’s nuclear program, President Obama’s “offshore balancing” act in the Middle East collapsed. In a January 27, 2014 New Yorkerinterview with editor David Remnick President Obama revealed:

It would be profoundly in the interest of citizens throughout the region if Sunnis and Shiites weren’t intending to kill each other … And although it would not solve the entire problem, if we were able to get Iran to operate in a responsible fashion – not funding terrorist organizations, not trying to stir up sectarian discontent in other countries, and not developing a nuclear weapon – you could see an equilibrium developing between Sunni, or predominantly Sunni, Gulf states and Iran in which there is competition, perhaps suspicion, but not an active or proxy warfare.

His naive  paradigm  of  a geo-political  equilibrium between Shia Iran and Sunni Arabs led by Saudi Arabia foundered with the dramatic intervention by the Saudi Air Force on Wednesday  March 25, 2015 attacking Houthi rebels in northern Yemen , the capital, Sana’a  and targets near Aden.  Operation “determination storm” has begun.  The Saudis gave less than 1 hour notice to the Pentagon and the White House of the launch of the air campaign.  The Administration wasn’t consulted. That effrontery to the leader of the free world was in evidence at the 26th Summit of the Arab League in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Shaik. Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi, The ousted US- backed President of Yemen, who had fled from Aden to Saudi Arabia, accused the Houthi of being “stooges” for Iran. He refused any offer of a cease fire while the Saudis and Emirati air units continue attacking Houthi forces.  Iran warned the Saudi and Emirate allies of “bloodshed,” if attacks continue.  The Saudi have mobilized 150,000 ground forces for possible action. The US may provide aerial refueling, bombs and air search and rescue for downed pilots as they did for two Saudi pilots on Thursday.

In a statement released today, Secretary General of the Arab League Nabil Al-Araby said   the Arab states would “join ranks and look into taking pre-emptive and defensive arrangements to maintain the Arab national security.”  The Declaration went on to point out:

 the  “conflict between the concept of a modern state and destructive projects that detract the idea of a national state and employ the ethnic, religious and sectarian variation in bloody conflicts, sponsored by external parties.” It cited recent developments in Yemen and the slide the country almost fell into as a flagrant example of these challenges and stressed the dire need for “necessary measures to counter them.”

The Washington Post reported   Arab leaders had effectively announced a “joint military force to intervene in neighboring states grappling with armed insurgencies.”

David P. Goldman in an Asia Times column, “The Middle Eastern Metternichs of Riyadh, noted the stunning assertion of the Saudi leadership in the confrontation with Iran over the US policy collapse in the Middle East and failures in Yemen:

A premise of the “realist” view that American policy in the region should shift towards Iran was that the Saudi monarchy would collapse and Sunni power along with it. All of us underestimated the Saudis.

Now the Saudis have emerged at the top of a Sunni coalition against Iran–limited for the moment to the Houthi insurgency in Yemen, to be sure, but nonetheless the most impressive piece of diplomacy in the Sunni world since Nasser, and perhaps in modern times. That attributes a lot of importance to a coalition assembled for a minor matter in a small country, but it may be the start of something important: the self-assertion of the Sunni world in response to the collapse of American regional power, the threat of Sunni jihadist insurgencies, and the Shi’ite bid for regional hegemony.

There was more drama in Lausanne, Switzerland, when an Iranian journalist Amir Hossein Motaghi, a former election aide to Islamic Republic President Rouhani defected. The UK Telegraph reported Motaghi saying: “The US negotiating team is mainly there to speak on Iran’s behalf with other members of the 5+1 countries and convince them of a deal.” Meanwhile Secretary of State Kerry and the US team are endeavoring to have the P5+1 approve a verbal outline of a political framework with the intransigent Iranians, who demand immediate lifting of financial sanctions while denying compliance with IAEA requests for background information on past military application developments.

These developments gave rise to further criticism by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu who warned  at a Sunday   cabinet meeting that:

 Iran is trying to “conquer the entire Middle East” as the West appears close to signing a pending nuclear deal with Israel’s arch-enemy.

“This deal, as it appears to be emerging, bears out all of our fears, and even more than that,” Netanyahu told his cabinet in Jerusalem, according to Reuters.

Doubtless, Netanyahu will have more to say to US House Speaker John Boehner who travels to Jerusalem this week for a previously arranged meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister in the midst of cobbling together a ruling majority following his victory in the March 17th, Knesset elections.

The failure of a US supported state in Yemen adds to the growing shadow of Iranian Hegemony over four Arab capitals in the Levant; Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and now Sana’a.  Should the Saudi and Gulf emirates air attacks not succeed in halting the Iran-backed Houthi conquest of the remaining stronghold of Aden, then Iran may control a major international geo-resource choke hold on the Red Sea with significant economic repercussions.  The prospect of a Shia Sunni sectarian war in the Middle East fuels the apocalyptic end time’s vision of chaos of the Iranian Shia Mahdists  are seeking to arouse the moribund Twelfth Imam from his slumber at the bottom of the holy well in the holy city of Qum hard by the underground uranium enrichment cascade hall of Fordow.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, elected by the Assembly of Experts  to fulfill that  bizarre Islamic obligation, is on the verge of achieving the ultimate symbol of chaos – becoming a nuclear threshold state courtesy of the looming  P5+1 political framework that may be announced on March 31st. With Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, ISIS cells, the vanquishing of US counterterrorism in the region, Iran has achieved its goal of fomenting chaos to bring about end times.   As night follows day, Sectarian war between Sunni Arab states and Shia Mahdmen in Tehran could erupt.  All while the Administration in Washington abandons Israel surrounded by Iranian proxies, Hezbollah, Hamas and Sunni Salafist Islamic State seeking its destruction.  Is this the legacy that President Obama wants to leave behind when he leaves the White House in January 2017?  If it is, then his pursuit of an accommodation with an Iran equipped with a stockpile of nuclear weapons and nuclear warhead tipped Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles amounts to colossal appeasement and “faithless execution” of his oath of office as Commander in Chief to protect America from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

This weekend the President was in Florida playing golf  in Palm City, Florida with a Halliburton Director and the Houston Astros owner while his global equilibrium went up in flames. So much for his feeling the pain of the middle class.   Stay tuned for further developments.

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Fox News Exclusive: Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (Ret.) Interviewed by Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday

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Israel on Iran deal: “The world has gone crazy…”

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.

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Also see:

Legal Experts: Future U.S. President Could Revoke Bad Nuke Deal With Iran

John Kerry / AP

John Kerry / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Daniel Wiser, March, 12, 2015:

Legal experts are refuting a claim by Iran’s foreign minister that revoking a potential deal on the country’s nuclear program would violate international law, amid confusion Wednesday regarding whether or not the deal the State Department is negotiating will be in any way legally binding.

Javad Zarif, Tehran’s chief representative in the ongoing nuclear talks among the United States, Iran, and five other world powers, criticized on Tuesday an open letter sent by 47 Republican senators concerning the negotiations. While the lawmakers said in their missive that a future president or Congress could revoke or substantially alter a nuclear pact, Zarif responded that such changes would be illegal under international statutes.

“I wish to enlighten the authors that if the next administration revokes any agreement with the stroke of a pen, as they boast, it will have simply committed a blatant violation of international law,” he said, according to Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

However, the U.S. State Department asserted on Tuesday that a prospective nuclear agreement with Iran would be “nonbinding.” Secretary of State John Kerry also confirmed in congressional testimony on Wednesday that the Obama administration is “not negotiating a legally binding plan” but one from “executive to executive,” Politico reported. Kerry insisted such a deal would still “have a capacity of enforcement.”

Jeremy Rabkin, a law professor at George Mason University and an expert in international law and Constitutional history, said in an email that “nonbinding” by definition means that the United States “will not violate international law if we don’t adhere to its terms”—contrary to Zarif’s assertion.

“In other words we’re saying it is NOT an international obligation, just a statement of intent,” he said.

The legal nature of a potential nuclear agreement remains a matter of dispute.

The GOP senators wrote about the necessity of congressional oversight for “binding international agreements” in their letter. But on Wednesday, Kerry rejected that  characterization as “absolutely incorrect,” because the plan would not be legally binding.

The potential deal’s executive and nonbinding nature means Congress could not amend it, Kerry said.

Rabkin said the question of whether a U.S. president can institute a binding international agreement without congressional approval is disputed among legal scholars, but the State Department’s declaration that an Iran deal would be nonbinding places it in a different category.

“What Kerry seemed to say was not that his Iran deal would be in the same category but that it would not be legally binding in any sense, just a kind of memorandum of understanding,” Rabkin said. “I wonder whether he understood what he was saying. It was more or less conceding that what Cotton’s letter said was the administration’s own view—that the ‘agreement’ with Iran would not be legally binding, so (presumably) not something that could bind Obama’s successor.”

Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.), one of the lead authors of the GOP’s letter to Iran, expressed confusion on Wednesday about the State Department’s classification of a nuclear deal with Tehran.

“Important question: if deal with Iran isn’t legally binding, then what’s to keep Iran from breaking said deal and developing a bomb?” Cotton tweeted.

John Yoo, a law professor at University of California, Berkeley and a former Justice Department official in the George W. Bush administration, wrote on Wednesday that Cotton and his fellow senators had it “exactly right” in their letter on matters of Constitutional law.

“The Cotton letter is right, because if President Obama strikes a nuclear deal with Iran using only [an executive agreement], he is only committing to refrain from exercising his executive power—i.e., by not attacking Iran or by lifting sanctions under power delegated by Congress,” Yoo wrote on National Review Online. “Not only could the next president terminate the agreement; Obama himself could terminate the deal.”

Additionally, Yoo said that under the Constitution’s Foreign Commerce Clause, Congress could still apply financial pressure on Iran regardless of an executive agreement.

“Obama’s executive agreement cannot prevent Congress from imposing mandatory, severe sanctions on Iran without the possibility of presidential waiver (my preferred solution for handling the Iranian nuclear crisis right now),” he said. “Obama can agree to allow Iran to keep a nuclear-processing capability; Congress can cut Iran out of the world trading and financial system.”

“As a matter of constitutional law, the Cotton letter should be no more controversial than a letter that simply enclosed a copy of the U.S. Constitution (without President Obama’s editing),” he added.

Also see:

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Published on Mar 12, 2015 by EnGlobal News World

47 Senators Warn Iran–and Obama–that Deal Must Pass Congress

AFP PHOTO / The White House / Pete Souza

AFP PHOTO / The White House / Pete Souza

Breitbart, by Joel B. Pollak, March. 9, 2015:

Forty-seven U.S. Senators have released an open letter to the Iranian government warning that any nuclear deal signed by President Barack Obama could be revoked by a subsequent U.S. president unless it is ratified by the Senate. The letter, while addressed to the “Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” is really a warning to Obama not to bypass Congress.

The president has vowed to veto the “Corker-Menendez-Graham” bill, also known as theIran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, currently pending in the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had prepared the bill for a vote this week, following last week’s stirring address by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but delayed the vote under pressure from Democratic supporters of the bill who want to wait for the administration’s March negotiation deadline to expire first.

The letter (full text here) is a response to that threat, and informs Iranian leaders that they “may not fully understand our constitutional system…while the President negotiates international agreements, Congress plays the significant role of ratifying them.”

It concludes: “…we will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei. The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen…”.

Harvard Law School professor Jack Goldsmith, who worked on terrorism issues in the Bush administration, raps the Senators for a technical error, noting that while the Senate may pass a resolution of ratification, it is still the President who ratifies a treaty. However, he adds that the legal error does not effect the overall argument of the letter, which is that any nuclear deal signed with Iran may be invalid after 2016.

There are another two possible loopholes: the nuclear deal may not, in fact, be a “nuclear-weapons” deal, but a deal covering nuclear technology more generally; and Ayatollah Khamenei is rumored to have died or may be dead by the time any agreement is reached.

The letter, Josh Rogin of Bloomberg News reports, was organized by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), a Harvard Law School graduate and veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Aside from its content, it may cause controversy for the rhetorical ploy of drawing attention to a domestic separation-of-powers dispute in correspondence with a foreign power, essentially inviting a theocratic regime in the Middle East to endorse the prerogatives of a democratically-elected legislature in the United States.

However, in doing so it may also strengthen the Obama administration’s hand at the negotiating table by demonstrating to the Iranian regime that the president has very little room for compromise.

The Jerusalem Post notes that the signatories include possible 2016 presidential contenders Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Rand Paul (R-KY).

Also see:

Briefing on Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program and News Roundup on Bibi’s Speech

 

Dr. Gary Samore describes the risks of Iran’s overt and covert nuclear program which is intended to develop nuclear weapons.

***

EMET has produced a white paper on the Iranian Nuclear Negotiations. It includes key facts about the Joint Plan of Action and implications of the emerging final deal. To read the white paper please click here.

Click here to view the shortened version.

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Fred Fleitz on why Netanyahu’s critics have it wrong

Published on Mar 4, 2015

The Center’s new Senior Vice President for Policy and Programs, Fred Fleitz, gives a run down of the major objections to Netanyahu’s speech, and why they are misguided.

Also see:

Netanyahu: ‘Even If Israel Has to Stand Alone, Israel Will Stand’

 

The complete transcript of Netanyahu’s address to Congress

 

Breitbart, by Ben Shapiro, March 3, 2015:

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the State of Israel reset the agenda for the Western world in a speech before a joint session of Congress.

For weeks, the Obama administration has attempted to direct attention away from Netanyahu’s actual agenda – stopping the Iranian nuclear deal – and toward petty political maneuvering over permissions to speak and Democratic boycotts. All of that fell away in the wake of a clear, powerful, and emotional call by Netanyahu for the United States and Israel to stand united against the evil terror of Iran.

Netanyahu opened by expressing his humility for the invite, calling Congress the “most important legislative body in the world.” He then apologized for the speech itself becoming controversial. “That was never my intention,” he stated. “I want to thank you, Democrats and Republicans, for your common support for Israel, year after year, decade after decade. I know that on whichever side of the aisle you sit, you stand with Israel.”

That clever gambit – an attempt to kill the Obama administration and the boycotting Democrats with kindness – placed President Obama’s puerile spitefulness on Israel in stark contrast. That, of course, was the point. Every time Netanyahu spelled out the ways in which the Obama administration had helped Israel – instances that were, by and large, pro forma commitments every American president makes to Israel – he forced Obama into a corner. Turning the other political cheek turned out to be a powerful weapon.

Netanyahu got to the heart of his message: absolutely devastating Obama’s reported Iranian peace deal. In the shadow of the Jewish holiday of Purim, when a Jewish woman pled for the survival of her people from the genocidal intentions of a Persian anti-Semite, Netanyahu echoed Queen Esther’s language:

I feel profound obligation to speak to you about a threat to the survival of my country and the survival of my people, Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. In nearly 4,000 years of history, many have tried repeatedly to destroy the Jewish people.

Netanyahu expressed that the threat was not only to Israel, but to the West, explaining, “Iran’s regime is not merely a Jewish problem any more than the Nazi regime was merely a Jewish problem…Iran’s regime poses a grave threat not only to Israel but to the peace of the entire world.”

And, he said, to understand the nature of the deal being cut, the key lay in understanding “the nature of that regime.” Netanyahu described Israel’s enemies, funded by Iran, as “clutching Israel with three tentacles of terror.” He described Iran stretching from Syria to Iraq to Yemen. “At a time when many hope that Iran will join the community of nations,” he stated, “Iran is busy gobbling up the nations. We must all stand together to stop Iran’s march of conquest, subjugation, and terror.”

But that was his point: Obama is forwarding Iran’s march, despite Iran’s obvious intention to destroy the West. Many commentators have described Netanyahu as the true leader of the free world, given President Obama’s unwillingness to speak on behalf of a free world. He made that case today before Congress:

Iran’s regime is as radical as ever. Its cries of Death to America, the same nation it calls the Great Satan, are as loud as ever. This shouldn’t be surprising…[Iran’s] ideology is rooted in militant Islam. That’s why this regime will always be an enemy of America.

“Militant Islam.” The two words Obama refuses to say in that order.

Netanyahu continued by leveling the Obama argument that America must cut a deal with Iran in order to stop ISIS:

Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam…Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire, first on the region, then on the entire world. They just disagree who will be the ruler of this empire. In this deadly game of thrones, there is no place for America or Israel…When it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.

And, Netanyahu pointed out, Obama’s negotiation would end with Iran gaining a nuclear weapon.

 That is exactly what could happen if the deal now being negotiated is accepted by Iran. That deal won’t prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. It would all but guarantee Iran gets those weapons. Lots of them.

Netanyahu laid out his two major critiques of the proposed deal. First, he explained, the deal would protect Iran’s “vast nuclear infrastructure,” placing them within a short period of developing nuclear weapons. Iran could cheat, Netanyahu pointed out – after all, “Inspectors document violations. They don’t stop them. Inspectors knew when North Korea broke to the bomb. But that didn’t stop anything.”

Second, and more importantly, he said, even if Iran complies with the deal, after the ten year period, they would be free to develop nuclear weapons without restriction. A decade, Netanyau pointed out, is a “blink of an eye in the life of our children.” And when that decade ends, “The foremost sponsor of global terrorism could be weeks away from having enough enriched uranium for an entire nuclear arsenal, and this with full international legitimacy.” Furthermore, no deal will include a stop on Iranian intercontinental ballistic missiles, leaving Europe and the United States vulnerable.

Netanyahu summed up, “It doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb. It paves Iran’s path to the bomb.” He also explained that such concessions would only embolden Iran to pursue more terror with more money and more legitimacy. “Why should Iran’s radical regime change for the better when it can enjoy the best of both worlds, aggression abroad, prosperity at home?” Netanyahu asked, pointing out that in response, other Middle Eastern countries would go nuclear.

Then Netanyahu truly turned brutal, eviscerating the Obama administration’s strawman-laden defense of the deal. “We’re being told that the only alternative to this bad deal is war. That’s not true. The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal,” Netanyahu averred.

Iran, Netanyahu said, could be held to account. They could earn their way to legitimacy, rather than being given legitimacy without making any concessions. They could be forced to stop regional aggression, stop supporting terrorism, stop threatening to “annihilate my country, Israel, the one and only Jewish state.” And, he continued:

If the world powers aren’t willing to insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal is signed, at the very least, insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal expires. If Iran changes its behavior, the restrictions would be lifted. If Iran doesn’t change its behavior, the restrictions should not be lifted. If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country.

What could the West do? Netanyahu suggested, “call their bluff”:

They need the deal a lot more than you do. And by maintaining the pressure on Iran, and those who do business with Iran, you have the power to make them need it even more. My friends, for over a year, we’ve been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well this is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. We’re better off without it.

Finally, Netanyahu invoked the Holocaust. He gave a tribute to Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, stating, “Standing up to Iran is not easy. Standing up to dark and murderous regimes never is.” Then he warned the world:

I wish I could promise you, Elie, that the lessons of history have been learned. I can only urge the leaders of the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past. Not to sacrificed the future for the present, not to ignore aggression in the hopes of gaining an illusory peace. But I can guarantee you this: the days when the Jewish people remain passive in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over!

Netanyahu vowed, “as PM of Israel, I can promise you one more thing. Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand. But I know that Israel does not stand alone, I know that America stands with Israel, I know that you stand with Israel.”

Netanyahu concluded by citing the Bible, in Hebrew. He quoted the parting words of Moses as the Jews were about to enter the land of Israel, from Deuteronomy 31:6:

Moses gave us a message that has steeled our resolve for thousands of years…Be strong and resolute, neither fear nor dread them. My friends, may Israel and America always stand together, strong and resolute, may we neither fear nor dread the challenges ahead, may we face the future with confidence, strength and hope. May God bless the state of Israel, and may God bless the United States of America.

The controversy over the politics of the speech is over. Now the world must answer Netanyahu’s question: will Israel have to stand alone?

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:

March 3, 2015 – On Bibi’s Knowns and Unknowns

150303_0-150x150High Frontier, By Henry F. Cooper on March 2, 2015:

In seeking to protect Israel from an existential Iranian threat, Prime Minister Netanyahu confronts problematic facts and key uncertainties. It will be interesting to hear how he deals with them in today’s address to Congress and all Americans—who also face an existential threat from Iran, whether they know it or not. 

Consider former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s breakdown on what we know and don’t know about important issues when considering the content of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address.

150303_2

In particular, contemplate Netanyahu’s efforts to assess existential threats to Israel in view of the apparent perceptions and actions of U.S. leadership in dealing with Iran, whose leaders since the 1979 revolution that founded the current regime have sworn to destroy the Little Satan Israel and the Great Satan America. This common threat should unite us with our Israeli friends—but does it do so?  If not, why not?

Known Knowns.

Not the least of the Prime Minister’s “known knowns,” to use the first of Rumsfeld’s categories, is that one of the few consistencies of recent U.S. foreign policy is the Obama administration’s failures and obviously delusional perspectives,

  • From its widely publicized “Reset” with Russia—now fomenting what some call a new Cold War with aggressive actions in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, while our strategic forces atrophy due to lack of the support promised by the Obama administration in exchange for the votes of a few foolish Republican Senators during the 2010 Lame Duck Session, enabling ratification of the New START Treaty, an  ill-advised treaty that required U.S. strategic force reductions and legitimized a build-up of modernized Russian strategic forces;
  • To its vacuous “pivot to Asia” as North Korea increases its ability to threaten us with nuclear armed missiles and satellites (in cooperation with Iran), not to mention China’s persistent progress in becoming a peer economic and military competitor-especially to threaten our naval operations and key space systems as well as the U.S. homeland; and
  • To its failures in the Middle East where we have withdrawn from three more embassies (most recently in Yemen, the President’s alleged model just a few months ago for his “successful” leading-from-behind policy in the Middle East) and have no apparent strategy to deal with the growing threat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which the President ridiculed as a “Jayvee team” last September as they began to advance and our “partners” dropped their arms (actually U.S. made arms we had supplied) and ran. And ISIS is expanding beyond the Middle East, and has designs on America as well. Meanwhile, U.S. led negotiations with Iran seem to have reduced sanctions that were encouraging Iran to negotiate seriously with little apparent in return—we continue to “kick the can” down the road while the centrifuges spin.

Last week, the President and Secretary of State John Kerry declared we were safer than ever; but the President’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper almost immediately thereafter told the Senate Armed Services Committee that 2014 was “the most lethal year for global terrorism in the 45 years such data has been compiled.” Click here for a blunt but accurate assessment of this sad illustration of why Netanyahu has to believe Obama administration is at a minimum delusional—to be generous.

Furthermore, in some cases the record shows that our leaders have been astonishingly duplicitous.  For example, there’s Benghazi—where it is now clear from recently made public email traffic (thanks to the persistent efforts of Judicial Watch) that the events were well known within minutes; nevertheless, the President and his most senior foreign policy advisors, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and his National Security Advisor Susan Rice, misrepresented those facts to America and the rest of the world—for weeks on end, and to this day they have not admitted that they lied.

This will be a very political issue in the 2016 elections—click here for one example from the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). And of course, Rep. Trey Gowdy’s (R-SC) House Select Committee on Benghazi is supposed to be weighing in soon—including testimony from former Secretary of State Clinton.   That hearing should be interesting.

Recently, Ms. Rice claimed that Netanyahu’s speech today is “destructive of the fabric” of our long time close ties with Israel. Maybe such “torn fabric” is with President Obama if it is possible to make that relationship less amicable—but with congress and the American people?  I don’t think so. And I think Bibi—who well understands the American people from his years living with us knows better.

Imagine what he must think as he contemplates these facts among the “known” threats with which Israel must contend—and which American should also recognize and counter effectively. And why he wants to address the U.S. Congress and American people to seek to reassure the historic ties between the United States and Israel in confronting common enemies—particularly an Iran intent on gaining nuclear armed missiles that represent a threat to both our nations.

Known Unknowns.

Among the known unknowns are factors that affect the all-important issue of when Iran can gain deliverable nuclear weapons.

Uncertainties in estimating with confidence that timeline provoke major controversy because of a fundamental difference of perspectives—and inconvenient facts that limit confidence in gaining verifiably agreed approaches to processing nuclear materials.

Netanyahu wants assurance that Iran will never gain a capability that indeed is as existential threat to Israel posed by even one—or at most a few—Iranian nuclear weapons.

The administration’s apparent interest is to delay the time for Iran gets that capability—and to negotiate with Iran and others among the P5 +1 (the five members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) about “how much delay is enough.” For an up-to-date summary of ongoing efforts, see Michael Gordon’s article in the March 1, 2015 New York Times.

Notwithstanding optimistic prognostications, Effective verification is very problematic, especially considering a major circumvention “loophole” as discussed in depth by Sellin and Vallely in their February 28, 2015 Family Security Matters article US – Iran nuclear deal may be dead on arrival and should be.”

In particular, the well-known and long-standing alliance between Iran and North Korea in developing and testing nuclear weapons and the ballistic missiles to deliver them is an obvious pathway for Iran to cheat on whatever verification arrangements are negotiated with Iran alone.

Netanyahu has previously discussed his concerns about negotiating limits on Iran’s nuclear materials enrichment efforts rather than to end them. And I have written—e.g., in our June 14, 2013 message and in earlier linked messages—about his views of a pending “red line” which he believes must not be crossed, views also shared in his September 27, 2012 address to the United Nations. It will be instructive to learn if he believes we are currently crossing that “red line.”

The perspective of many of the U.S. “elite” seems consistent with a policy of containment, as was underwritten by our deterrent policies during the Cold War with the Soviet Union.  But Iran is not the Soviet Union—and there is justified concern that the Mullahs cannot be deterred, when it comes to destroying the Little Satan and the Great Satan.

At least Bibi is cognizant of this reality—perhaps our leaders are not, or do not take it seriously. And dealing with the known unknowns adds major concerns about our negotiation objectives and approach.

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High Frontier Next Steps.

We currently are focused on raising South Carolinians’ awareness of EMP threats to the electric grid, and what they can do to counter them—especially as such threats are posed by rogue states like North Korea and Iran, and Islamic Terrorists like ISIS. We are working the problem in South Carolina from the bottom-up among local and state authorities—because Washington seems unable even to identify the obvious problems, let alone deal with them.

On March 14, 2015, we are joining with the Center for Security Policy and Breitbart News to sponsor the all-day South Carolina National Security Action Summit to discuss these very clear and present dangers we face—especially the vulnerability of our electric grid, the global jihad, immigration issues and the hollowing out of our military capabilities. As should be clear from my above discussion, these are linked to threats that also confront Israel.

A number of experts will be joining to discuss solutions to these important problems, if we simply can persuade the powers that be to execute them! So far, Senator Ted Cruz, former Senator Rick Santorum, Ambassador John Bolton, Governor Bobby Jindal, Phyllis Schlafly, Frank Gaffney, Dr. Peter Pry and a number of others have confirmed their participation. Please make your plans to join us in Columbia at the Brookland Baptist Banquet and Conference Center—especially if you live in South Carolina or nearby. Please click here to learn more and to reserve your tickets!

Netanyahu to AIPAC: ‘Moral Obligation’ to Speak Against Iran Deal ‘While There’s Still Time’

 

PJ Media, by Bridget Johnson, March 2, 2015:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayhu rocked the house at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee mega-conference in Washington this morning, teasing his speech to a joint session of Congress tomorrow to focus on his rift with the administration over “the best way to prevent Iran from developing those weapons.”

Netanyahu received a standing ovation from the crowd at the mere mention of his name by AIPAC CEO Howard Kohr, who introduced the prime minister.

And he received thunderous applause, cheers, and an extended standing ovation befitting a rock star when he finally took the stage before the packed crowd of 16,000.

“As prime minister of Israel I have a moral obligation to speak out about these dangers while there’s still time to avert them,” he said of Iran, which “envelops the entire world with its tentacles of terror.”

“The days when the Jewish people are passive in the face of threats to annihilate us, those days are over,” Netanyahu said, garnering a massive ovation. “Tomorrow as prime minister of the one and only Jewish state I plan to use that voice.”

“Never has so much been written about a speech that hasn’t been given,” he quipped.

He thanked the Israeli ambassador in Washington, Ron Dermer, as “a man who knows how to take the heat.”

Still, he said, “reports of the demise of the U.S.-Israeli relations are not only premature, they’re just wrong.”

“My address is not to show disrespect to President Obama or the office that he holds — I have great respect for both,” Netanyahu said, adding he’s been “deeply grateful” for Obama’s support for Israel.

The address also is “not intended to inject Israel into the partisan debate,” he added, noting the military assistance from Congress including the Iron Dome missile defense system. “Working together has made Israel stronger; working together has made our alliance stronger.”

“I regret that some people have misperceived my visit here,” he said. “Israel has always been a bipartisan issue. Israel should always remain a bipartisan issue.”

The purpose of his visit, Netanyahu said, is “to speak up about a potential deal with Iran that could threaten the survival of Israel.”

He framed the disagreement as matter of differing perspectives in the U.S. and Israel, where leaders in Washington worry about the security of its citizens while Israel worries about the survival of its citizens.

“America lives in one of the world’s safest neighborhoods; Israel lives in the world’s most dangerous neighborhood,” he said.

In his nine years as prime minister, Netanyahu stressed, “not a single day, not one day I didn’t think about the survival of my country and the actions that I take to ensure that, not one day.”

“And because of these differences, America and Israel have had some serious disagreements over the course of our nearly 70-year-old friendship,” he said, citing historical instances where Washington called out Israel beginning with David Ben-Gurion’s declaration of statehood.

“Despite occasional disagreements, the friendship between America and Israel grew stronger and stronger, decade after decade. And our friendship will weather the current disagreement, as well, to grow even stronger in the future.”

As the region “descends into medieval barbarism,” he said, Israel is “the one that upholds these values common to us and to you.”

“As Christians in the Middle East are beheaded and their ancient communities are decimated, Israel’s Christian community is growing and thriving, the only one such community in the Middle East,” Netanyahu said, drawing a loud standing ovation.

Of U.S.-Israel rifts: “Disagreements in the family are always uncomfortable, but we must always remember that we are family.”

Israel and the U.S.: Two (‘Unclean’) Dogs in the Same Fight With Iranian Jihadism

iran1a-640x401Breitbart, by ANDREW G. BOSTOM,  March 2,  2015:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is slated to address Congress Tuesday, March 3, 2015 regarding his concerns over the so-called “P5 (i.e., the U.S., Russia, China, France, and Britain) +1 (Germany)” nuclear negotiations with Iran.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015, a week before Netanyahu’s scheduled appearance– which is clearly unwelcome by the Obama Administration– Susan Rice, the Administration’s national security adviser, told PBS’s Charlie Rose, bluntly:

I think it’s [Netanyahu’s address] destructive of the fabric of the [U.S.-Israel] relationship.

Subsequently, Israel National News (on March 1, 2015) repeated unconfirmed allegations from a Kuwaiti newspaper that President Obama personally thwarted a planned Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities in 2014, threatening to shoot down Israeli jets before they reached their Iranian targets. By Sunday evening (3/1/15), in a statement issued toThe Washington Times, a senior Obama Administration official claimed the Kuwaiti report was “totally false.”

Pair this frank denial of the Kuwaiti story with Ms. Rice’s icy, hostile remark, and it reflects an Obama administration thoroughly, even vindictively dismissive of the Israeli Prime Minister’s grave, rational apprehensions. Mr. Netanyahu appropriately rejects the current negotiations process which abets, and de facto legitimizes, Iran’s nuclear aspirations, under the guise of regulated uranium enrichment for promised non-military uses, while ignoring the Islamic Republic’s long range ballistic missile development, and nuclear weaponization programs. Speaking at Bar Ilan University, on February 9, 2015, Netanyahu offered a plaintive rationale for his Congressional address in early March, highlighting the shared existential threat to Israel, and the U.S:

The true question is whether Iran will have nuclear bombs to implement its intention to destroy the State of Israel. That is something we will not allow. This is not a political issue either in Israel or the U.S. This is an existential issue.

Referencing the disturbing findings of a confidential IAEA report exposed by the New York Times on February 20, 2015 (discussed below), Netanyahu later expressed his “astonishment” that the P5 +1 negotiations had not been abandoned altogether:

Not only are they continuing, there is an increased effort to reach a nuclear agreement in the coming days and weeks. Therefore, the coming month is critical for the nuclear talks between Iran and the major powers because a framework agreement is liable to be signed that will allow Iran to develop the nuclear capabilities that threaten our existence.

The Israeli Prime Minister re-affirmed his view of the unacceptable dangers such an agreement posed to Israel, and the international community overall. He also criticized the moral depravity of negotiations with an Iranian regime that continued to actively support global jihad terrorism.

[T]herefore, I will go to the US next week in order to explain to the American Congress, which could influence the fate of the agreement, why this agreement is dangerous for Israel, the region and the entire world. [Iran] continues its murderous terror activities around the region and the world, does not, unfortunately, bother the international community, which is continuing to talk with Iran about a nuclear accord that will allow it to build an industrial capacity to develop nuclear arms.

The sobriety of Prime Minster Netanyahu’s tocsin of looming calamity is completely validated by the following recent developments, which highlight Iran’s aggressive pursuit of nuclear and conventional military capabilities (directed against both Israel, and the U.S.), all inspired by its openly avowed, bellicose Islamic ideology:

  • An independent report of 102 pp. issued on 11/20/2014, reviewing over a decade of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) analyses (and other investigative findings), concluded (despite repeated, disingenuous countervailing protests) that the Iranian regime continued to engage in “systematic,” “vigorous” combined military, and dual military-civilian efforts “such as enrichment, weaponization, warhead, and delivery system at some stage,” whose ultimate goal was procuring nuclear weapons capability. There were “no serious indications that Tehran has stopped or abandoned this project or intends to do so.” Iran, on the contrary, “has resorted to further secrecy and concealment to keep its program intact and unhindered.” Additional discoveries and data all underscored how “a military program and military related activities” remain “at the heart of the Iranian nuclear program.”
  • A subsequent updated report by the IAEA itself, leaked to the New York Times and disclosed on February 20, 2015, stated that 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.” Adding Iran had not provided explanations for the IAEA’s queries about all Iranian nuclear-related work, the IAEA report claimed the agency was “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.”
  • An Israeli TV Channel 2 Wednesday, January 21, 2015 report showed images taken by the Eros B commercial Earth observation satellite revealing that “Iran has built a 27-meter-long missile, capable of delivering a warhead far beyond Europe, and placed it on a launch pad at a site close to Tehran.”
  • Former CIA analyst Fred Fleitz published (on January 22, 2015) a conservative estimate that Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium—which has burgeoned since 2009—could be readily further enriched to provide 6 to 8 nuclear weapons. Reviewing Fleitz’s data, Ollie Heinonen, previously an IAEA official who now teaches at Harvard’s Kennedy School, maintained that Iran could produce a “higher number” of weapons—perhaps as many as 11—from the enriched uranium it has accumulated since 2009.
  • On Tuesday, February 24, 2015, the Iranian opposition group the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) claimed that a complex, dubbed Lavizan-3, on the outskirts of Tehran, was “buried deep underground in tunnels and underground facilities” with “radiation-proof doors” to prevent any leaks that could be detected by the United Nations International Energy Agency inspectors. The NCRI claimed it smuggled out a photograph demonstrating a 1-foot thick lead-lined door which shields the complex from radiation, alleging further that the clandestine rooms and hallways are insulated for sound and radiation leaks so that they would remain undetected. The NCRI also maintained that the Iranian regime has secretly used the site to enrich uranium with advanced centrifuges since 2008, consistent with a long established deceptive pattern of hiding its actual nuclear activities.
  • The presence of Iranian command posts and special forces in the Golan Heights now extends beyond Iran’s pattern of supporting proxy activities (i.e., by Hezbollah). Per May 2014 statements by Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) senior official Hossein Hamedani that were censored and removed immediately after publication in Iran, the command posts are designed to coordinate “130,000 trained Iranian Basij fighters waiting to enter Syria.” A February 13, 2015 essay in the Lebanese publication Al-Akhbar by Nahed Al-Hattar noted, appositely, that while Israel’s nuclear weapons capabilities were constrained due to international considerations, Iran has amassed a “practical, direct and conventional” threat against the Jewish State: “Israel faces a fateful crisis. As much as it feared the Iranian nuclear program, it never imagined that Iran would be standing on its border even before its nuclear agreement with the Americans was complete. The Iranian threat to Israel is no longer theoretical, nor does it have anything to do with Israel’s deterrent of using its nuclear weapons, which cannot be used considering the international power balance. The threat has become direct, practical and conventional.”
  • Iran’s Fars News Agency reported February 25, 2015 that at a simulated “life size” U.S. aircraft carrier was destroyed by IRGC missiles during the IRGC Navy’s massive “The Great Prophet 9” war games in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. In a Sunday 3/1/15 follow-up statement, Iranian legislators lauded the IRGC’s naval war games: “Using the hi-tech weapons and complicated and high-precision missiles in these military drills was a clear message to the world that sanctions can never prevent Iranians’ access to the most advanced and state-of-the-art weapons.”
  • On February 11, 2015, during events marking the 36th anniversary of the 1979 “revolution,” the theocratic putsch’s virulently anti-American and anti-Israeli character was re-affirmed. Prominent displays of hatred toward President Obama, shown hanging from a gallows, and Secretary of State Kerry, depicted as a devious fox, were featured. And at a February 11, 2015 address in Kermanshah, Basij commander Mohammad Reza Naqdi declared“The Iranian people calls in unison the slogans ‘death to America’ and ‘death to Israel’. America and Israel will end up like the rest. The Iranian nation’s unity will cause the elimination of these arrogant [countries]…The 5+1 coalition [the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany – who are conducting nuclear negotiations with Iran] is a coalition against humanity and against Islam. The enemies always fear Islam and the progress of the Iranian nation…”
  • Finally, a domino display held in the city of Gonabad, in the Razavi Korasan Province of Iran, February 16, 2015, riveted upon Iran’s nuclear program. Structures made of dominoes simulating obstacles to the Iranian nuclear program—sanctions, the Stuxnet virus, the assassination of scientists—were toppled, being replaced by messages proclaiming Iran’s nuclear accomplishments. Some of the US-related models featured, such as the word “CIA,” the RQ-170 drone, and the US flag, were collapsed. The show concluded with a missile destroying a domino structure of an Israeli flag.

What animates Iran’s relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons capability, a quest initiated under the combined leadership of Mir Hossein Mousavi (now a “Green Movement” leader), and Ayatollah Khomeini himself, between 1987 to 1988? Though almost universally ignored, or willfully obfuscated and trivialized, Iran’s central abiding motivations are pellucid. Brazenly articulated by its foundational ideologues and governmental decrees, repeated in countless religio-political pronouncements over the intervening 36-years since the retrograde Khomeini “revolution” of 1979, the three pillars of Iran’s hegemonic aspirations remain jihad, canonical Islamic Jew-hatred, and the uniquely dehumanizing Shiite Islamic conception of “najis,” “impurity/uncleanliness,” as it pertains to non-Muslims (which I will elaborate).

For the second part of this analysis, click here.