Thursday, July 30, 2015

Israel Officially Refers to "Our Sunni Arab Allies"

Israel Foreign Ministry: Sunni Arab Nations Are "Allies"

The director general of Israel's Foreign Ministry, Dore Gold, called the Middle East's Sunni Arab nations "Israel's allies." 
Dore Gold is the first to publicly
refer to Sunni Arab's as allies

Referring to Iran, Gold said, "What we have is a regime on a roll that is trying to conquer the Middle East, and it's not Israel talking, that is our Sunni Arab neighbors - and you know what? I'll use another expression - that is our Sunni Arab allies talking."

His presentation [was] in New York, organized by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations...

Hizbullah Warns Arab States Against Ties with Israel
- Daniel Siryoti

Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned moderate Arab states against pursuing any type of cooperation with Israel. "Some Arab countries and some senior Arab officials have recently been talking with Israel and even negotiating with it. This may have disastrous results and dire consequences," Nasrallah said.

"The Zionist entity is taking advantage of the events in our region in a bid to normalize ties with several Arab states...and right now, there are some Arab countries that have taken Israel out of the circle of threats. This is something very dangerous." Attempts in the Arab world to normalize relations with Israel "must be countered. We must boost all forms of resistance against the Israeli normalization."  
(Israel Hayom)

We Must Confront Iran's Sinister Ambitions - Tzipi Livni

  • While much of the world celebrated the Vienna deal with Iran, deep concern has enveloped Israel, where there is harsh criticism, crossing party lines,
    Tzipi Livni
    involving central aspects of the agreement. The issues causing concern include inspections of Iranian facilities, the failure to dismantle Iran's nuclear infrastructure,  and the early lifting of sanctions.
  • I want to draw attention to the urgent need to make some critical complementary strategic decisions to confront Iran's destructive regional agenda - whether the U.S. Congress backs the Vienna agreement or not. It is hard to deny the strategic and regional impact of legitimizing Iran's status as a nuclear threshold state and allowing it to be empowered both financially and militarily, while it continues its aggression and sponsorship of terror throughout the region.
  • Both Israel and key Sunni states in the Middle East are gravely concerned that the deal risks sending the message that the international community is willing to live with Iranian regional aggression, to accept an unrepentant Iran as a legitimate regional power and, to some extent, to leave the task of confronting Iran's terror to the countries in the region that are its target.  
  • Responses to this argument would be more persuasive if there were a feeling that the world was truly willing to mobilize and confront Iran's regional aggression.
  • The reason Iran's pursuit of a nuclear weapon was considered so perilous was in large part because of the nature of the Iranian regime and its broader agenda. What is urgently needed is a joint hands-on commitment to combating Iran's destabilizing and destructive role across the Middle East.

    The writer was Israel's minister of foreign affairs (2006-2009), leader of the opposition until 2012, and minister of justice (2013-2014).
  • (Newsweek)


    Israel Now Key Hub of Anti-ISIS Operations - Orlando Radice  

    Advances by the Islamic State are pushing Egypt and Jordan to unprecedented levels of security cooperation with Israel.

    "A new strategic map is being created in this part of the Middle East," said Oded Eran, a former Israeli ambassador to Jordan and senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. "The common threat is making this cooperation essential to the security of all three countries."

    IDF Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Michael Herzog said: "Below the radar there is productive cooperation between Israel and key Arab countries, especially its neighbors Egypt and Jordan, focused on common security threats."

    Over the past two years there have been reports that Jordan has allowed Israeli drones into its airspace for surveillance flights over its borders with Syria and Iraq.    
    (Jewish Chronicle-UK)

    Egypt Also Fears the Iran Nuclear Deal - Oren Kessler

    Last week, both the Egyptian Foreign Ministry and the Al-Azhar religious seminary condemned Iran's "interference" in Arab affairs. Like Israel and the Gulf States, Egypt dreads the effect of a cash-flush and potentially nuclear-armed Iran on its interests and security.

    Egypt is, with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies, a pillar of the Sunni Arab bloc opposed to the spread of Iranian influence in the region. Today, just 15% of Egyptians view Iran as having a positive influence in the world, and anti-Shiite and anti-Iranian invective is common in Egyptian media. 
    The writer is deputy director for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. 
    (National Interest)

    Bikini Protest Against Muslim Beach Attack

    From the online protest "I wear my swimsuit in Park Leo." The tweet reads: All women's bodies are free and nobody can decide for them."

    Bikini Protest Against Brutal Park Beating

    Protesters have taken their outrage to social media after a 21-year-old French woman was brutally attacked by a gang of young Islamist women for wearing a bikini in a public park in the northern French city of Reims.

    The woman, named as Angelique Sloss, was severely beaten last week by five women between the ages of 16 and 24, while she was sunbathing with two friends. All the attackers have since been arrested and are scheduled to appear in court in September.

    The incident began when one of the Muslim women allegedly shouted at Sloss for acting “immorally” by wearing a swim suit in public, leading to speculation that the attack was religiously motivated. Sloss responded and the women began slapping and punching her. A passerby eventually broke up the attack.

    Using the hashtag #JePorteMonMaillotAuParcLeo (I wear my swimsuit to Park Leo), the campaign was organized by an anti-racism organization called SOS Racisme. Women (and men) have taken pictures of themselves wearing swim suits in public parks and beaches and posted them on Twitter.

    Protesters wearing bikinis and swim suits also held a demonstration in the park with hundreds more taking to express outrage and their solidary with Sloss on social media.  
    [Clarion Project]

    Wednesday, July 29, 2015

    Only Hillary or Chuck Can Kill Iran Deal

    The only two individuals who can crush the Obama Iran deal

    The Democratic Party, on the Edge of the Abyss - Martin Peretz

    Two of the most powerful members of the Democratic Party, former and current senators from New York, now hold the fate of the putative deal with Iran in their hands. Because they alone can overturn it, this means that presumptive presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and presumptive Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer carry a heavy burden that will deeply affect their personal reputations and, most probably, the trustworthiness of the Democrats in foreign policy for at least a generation.

    [Iran has] managed to achieve all ... without having to pause their “Death to America” street rallies, return their American hostages, curb their aggression in the Middle East, or release their defrauded presidential candidates from house arrest.

    Consider the last six years of our President’s policies. Having supported the majority Shi’ite population in Iraq and strengthened Iranian influence there, he proceeded to avoid supporting the majority Sunni population in Syria, thereby strengthening Iranian influence there too. We also declined to leave even a modest troop presence in Iraq on the fatuous premise that we would thus “end the war.” On top of all of this, and emblematic of the lack of principle in our president’s vaporous philosophy of “change,” was his willingness to allow the famous Syrian red line against the use of chemical weapons to be casually crossed.

    Taken together, these decisions produced a vacuum that has led to the rise of ISIS, fueled by a combination of grievance toward the mullahs and their Syrian and Iraqi proxies as well as American incompetence and indifference. This result was not only foreseeable but was foreseen: Hillary Clinton was eager to admit in her most recent memoir that she wanted to do more for the Syrian opposition.

    Two decades ago, the North Koreans challenged the administration of our last Democratic president in the same way as Iran challenges our current one. Who can forget The New York Times’s editorial judgment in 1993 that “President Clinton is adopting a sound diplomatic strategy for coaxing North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions” by “rightly resisting pressure to get tough with Pyongyang”? This month, one day after the Ayatollah said emphatically the deal will not change his country’s attitude toward the U.S., the Times asserts that President Obama “was right to keep the focus on restraining” the Iran nuclear program, but that if the sanctions are not lifted quickly enough, the so-called Iranian “moderates” could be discredited, “boosting the hard-liners.” Cognitive dissonance seems to be the official editorial policy of the Democratic elite.

    While our leaders take a holiday from history, the bad actors of the world do not take much of a vacation. American voters know this, which is likely why Obama did not disclose his detailed intentions regarding Iran in his 2012 re-election campaign.

    Fortunately, America is full of talented, responsible, creative negotiators who can improve on the woefully low bar set by Obama, Biden, and Kerry in this catastrophic bargaining process. There is no reason Senator Schumer, with Secretary Clinton’s backing, cannot lead a consensus in Congress to tie a set of focused, reasonable conditions to their support for the existing deal. Since Iran was happy to trade and re-trade right up to the negotiators’ self-imposed deadline, and then extend the deadline, there is no reason Congress cannot exercise its constitutional prerogative and send the administration back to the table with some improvements.

    For starters: Cancel the automatic removal of the conventional arms embargo in five years and the ballistic-missile ban in eight years and link them to a future vote in Congress, which will depend crucially on concrete Iranian behavior; release immediately all American hostages held in Iran; insist that Iran come clean immediately about prior illegal military nuclear activities; and enhance the verification procedure to ensure quick inspector access to any suspect Iranian site upon demand within a week. If those four conditions are incorporated in the deal, the U.S. Congress will then lift American sanctions.

    The George W. Bush Administration’s post-invasion missteps in Iraq, and their grisly consequences, have given the Democrats a dangerous sense of their own freedom: Americans may oppose aggression without strategy, but history has shown that they also oppose idealism without strength and pragmatism without principle.

    Our current president flatters himself with comparisons to Abraham Lincoln. But Lincoln knew about confronting adversarial regimes possessed of corrupt, intolerant and militant principles. Even as he worried about losing his re-election bid 151 years ago this summer to New York Democrat Gen. George B. McClellan, who advocated a quick peace with the South and an end to emancipation, he sent Gen. Philip Sheridan to destroy the economic infrastructure of the Shenandoah Valley and Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman to do the same in Georgia. Lincoln understood that there are some illegitimate regimes that demand resistance rather than compromise.
    [The Tower]

    Tuesday, July 28, 2015

    Ramifications of Iran Deal

    Does the Deal Makes It Less Likely Iran Will Get a Nuke?
    - Herb Keinon

    As to the argument that the only alternative to the deal is war, Israel has consistently promoted two different alternatives. "First, Israel supported the policy of 'dismantle for dismantle,' whereby the sanctions regime would be dismantled only when Iran's military nuclear program is dismantled. This policy was based on successive UN Security Council resolutions and was U.S. policy until 2013. Its implementation would have genuinely closed the Iranian nuclear file."

    In the absence of a complete roll-back of Iran's nuclear infrastructure, there should at least be a significant roll-back, with severe restrictions on Iran lifted only when it stopped its regional aggression, support of global terrorism and efforts to destroy Israel.
    (Jerusalem Post)

    Iran Deal and the "Problem of Conjecture" - Niall Ferguson

    Why should Iran suddenly mend its ways? In return for merely slowing down its pursuit of nuclear weapons, it is being handed up to $150 billion in previously frozen assets, a commercial bonanza as sanctions are lifted, and the prospect of an end to conventional arms and ballistic-missile embargoes after, respectively, five and eight years. All Iran has to do is keep the International Atomic Energy Agency happy that it is sticking to its nuclear commitments. There will be no "snap back" of sanctions if Tehran opts to use its new resources to double or quadruple its support for Hizbullah and Hamas, the Assad regime in Syria, and the Houthi rebellion in Yemen.

    Today, faced with two forms of Islamic extremism, Shiite and Sunni, we are tilting toward Iran, the principal sponsor of the former.

    We are alienating our allies, moderate Sunnis as well as Israelis. No one can say for sure what will come of the president's strategy. It may magically produce equilibrium in the Middle East, as he hopes. But all the evidence points the other way: toward a continuing escalation of violence in the region.
    The writer is professor of history at Harvard University.
    (Wall Street Journal)

    The Iran Deal and the Rut of History - Leon Wieseltier 

    The text of the agreement states that the signatories will submit a resolution to the UN Security Council "expressing its desire to build a new relationship with Iran." Not a relationship with a new Iran, but a new relationship with this Iran, as it is presently constituted - that is to say, theocratic, oppressive, xenophobic, aggressive, anti-Semitic, misogynistic, and homophobic.

    In his recent Iranian New Year message, Obama exhorted the "people of speak up for the future [they] seek." The last time the people of Iran spoke up to their government, they left their blood on the streets.

    If I could believe that the agreement marked the end of Iran's quest for a nuclear weapon, I would support it. I do not support it because it is only a deferral and a delay. Every pathway is not cut off. Moreover, if even a fraction of the revenues returned to Iran are allocated to its vile adventures beyond its borders, the U.S. will have subsidized an expansion of its own nightmares.

    Monday, July 27, 2015

    Taking On Obama on Iran

    Kerry's "Intense Exchange" with Jewish Leaders
    - Geoff Earle and Kevin Fasick
    Malcolm Hoenlein

    Secretary of State John Kerry had an "intense exchange" when he tried to sell the Iran nuclear deal to 120 skeptical Jewish leaders in New York [with] the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the group's vice chairman, Malcolm Hoenlein [pictured], told the Post. The State Department had requested the meeting.

    (New York Post)

    Taking the Deal or Opting for War: A False Dichotomy
    - Frederick W. Kagan

    President Obama has framed the debate over the Iran nuclear agreement as a choice between taking the deal or opting for war. There is historical precedent for thinking about the issue in this way.

    The lesson is that walking away from bad deals does not inevitably lead either to war or to the end of negotiations. Opposing the current deal is thus not in any way equivalent to favoring war. Nor is it a refusal to negotiate with Iran. 

    Given how bad this deal is, opposing it is the only rational position to take.
    The writer, a former professor of military history at West Point, is director of the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute.
    (Washington Post)

    Jews Stood Up to U.S. Government Before and Should Do So Again
    - Natan Sharansky [pictured]

    Like many Israelis and American Jews, I find myself in a precarious and painful situation. Those of us who believe that the nuclear agreement just signed with
    Iran is dangerously misguided are now compelled to criticize Israel's best friend and ally, the U.S. government. As difficult as this situation is, however, it is not unprecedented. Jews have been here before, 40 years ago.

    In the early 1970s, Republican President Richard Nixon inaugurated his policy of detente with the Soviet Union, aiming to end the Cold War by normalizing relations. As Nixon moved to grant the Soviet Union most-favored-nation trade status, Democratic Sen. Henry Jackson proposed what became a historic amendment, conditioning the removal of sanctions on the Soviet Union's allowing free emigration for its citizens. Jackson's amendment sought to link improved economic relations to behavioral change by the USSR. The U.S. administration objected furiously.

    American Jewish organizations were reluctant to speak out against the U.S. government and appear to put the "narrow" Jewish interest above the cause of peace. Yet they realized that the freedom of all Soviet Jews was at stake, and they actively supported the policy of linkage.

    It was a Republican senator, Jacob Javits, who, spurred by a sense of responsibility for the Jewish future, helped put together the bipartisan group that ensured passage.

    In 1977, I was arrested and accused of high treason, allegedly as a spy for the CIA; in the indictment, Sen. Jackson was listed as my main accomplice. But in the end our cause was victorious and paved the way for the regime's eventual collapse.

    Today, an American president has once again sought to achieve stability by removing sanctions against a brutal dictatorship without demanding that the latter change its behavior. And once again, a group of outspoken Jews - leaders of the State of Israel from the governing coalition and the opposition alike - are sounding an alarm. The U.S. can either appease a criminal regime or stand firm in demanding change in its behavior.
    The writer, a human rights activist and former political prisoner in the Soviet Union, is chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel.

    (Washington Post)


    Jackie Mason: NYC restaurants subject to tougher inspections than Iran

    Rabbi Jackie Mason
    Legendary Jewish comic Jackie Mason joined the list of critics of the nuclear deal signed between world powers and Iran, jesting that New York restaurants face a harsher inspections regime than Iran's nuclear facilities will under the terms of the agreement.

    Mason, an outspoken advocate of Israel, quipped that US Secretary of State John Kerry should pay the American people back for the cost of his airfare to and from the Iran talks.

    "This secretary of state, Kerry, negotiated with them for a year-and-a-half and accomplished nothing. He ought to give us back for all the trips he made. He cost us millions of dollars in airplane fares and he came back with nothing except a bad foot."

    The 84-year-old Mason was ordained as a rabbi at the age of 25, but resigned three years later to follow his dream to be a stand-up comedian.

    "Do you know that in the restaurants of New York, they have an inspection system. You can surprise any restaurant without notice that you can walk in and inspect them… So we are protected in this city from a bad tuna fish.  We’re not protected from a bomb but we’re protected from a bad quality of a tuna fish," Mason joked.
    [Jerusalem Post]

    Preferring Iran over Israel? Has the World Gone Mad?
    - Shlomo Cesana

    Opposition Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid leveled harsh criticism at Europe over the weekend, saying that the EU's policy of preferring Iran over Israel was "scandalous." In opinion pieces in Corriere della Sera and Die Welt, Lapid asked, "You rush to sign contracts with the Iranians but you threaten to boycott Israel?"

    Lapid called the nuclear agreement "a terrible deal" that "sends the Middle East the message that the West is weak; that everyone who is lying cunningly enough will be rewarded." Rather than demanding that Iran cease sponsoring international terrorism, the European nations lecture Israel about violence and human rights. "Under normal circumstances, countries like Germany and Italy would boycott Iran. Instead, the international community threatens to boycott Israel, while lifting the sanctions imposed on Iran. Has the world gone mad?" 
    (Israel Hayom)

    Thursday, July 23, 2015

    Democrat Against Democrat: Iran Deal Leads to Conflict

    Dov Hikind Arrested at Chuck Schumer's Office - Jacob Kornbluh

    Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) got himself arrested Thursday for unlawfully doing a sit down and blocking traffic outside the office of Senator Chuck Schumer in Manhattan.

    Police arrested Hikind for civil disobedience while protesting the senior Senator from New York for not voicing immediate opposition against the Iran nuclear deal.

    We’ve listened to Senator Schumer for years and how he takes every opportunity to explain the origin of his name Schumer and what it means for him to be a proud ‘Shomer’—which in Hebrew means protector. From your time as Congressman to one of the most powerful members of the Senate, Senator Schumer, you have repeatedly called yourself our ‘shomer’ (protector). Now is the time to live up to your claim and put your words into action,” said Hikind.

    “We need you to demonstrate leadership on one of the most critical foreign policy issues of our time. Be our protector and stop this terrible deal.”

    Hillary's Iran Decision

    Hillary Makes the Most Important Decision of Her Presidency
    - Lee Smith

    The truth is that wherever the Republican candidates profess to stand, none of them has the slightest practical influence over the Iran deal. The one and only presidential candidate who does is Hillary Clinton, who can crash the deal a year and a half before the 2016 election.

    Sure, she already came out with a statement tentatively praising the deal, but with a vote in Congress due in the fall, she still has time to shape the results. If Clinton comes out against the deal, she will start a chain reaction in her own party, with Democrats on the Hill abandoning President Barack Obama’s signature foreign policy initiative like a sinking ship and joining Republicans in an overwhelming No.

    If on the other hand Clinton says nothing, stays loyal to the president she served, and maintains party unity, the deal will almost certainly sail through Congress untouched.

    Barring an Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities...there are no more wild cards left in the great Iran debate. Everyone is locked in, except for Clinton.

    Many Arabs aren’t happy about the deal, but what choice do they have? They know they’re not loved on Capitol Hill or by the American public, so they have little room for a public spat with a president they fear still might hurt them, even with only 15 months left in office. The way the Saudis see it, they’re not family like Israel is, so they’ll accommodate the White House and to a certain extent their Iranian rivals as well and wait to see what happens next.

    The Israelis are unified in their opposition to the agreement. It’s not just Bibi who bellows that an Iranian bomb is an existential threat to the Jewish state—opposition leader Isaac Herzog also believes it’s a dangerous deal and intends to make his feelings known to U.S. congressmen and senators.

    [I]t’s not easy to go against the head of your own party, who is enjoying a surge of popularity right now—especially when he threatens to run primary candidates against you as Obama is rumored to have threatened potential Democratic deal opponents. Some observers think this is Chuck Schumer’s big moment, but the reality is that if Schumer were going to go against the Iran deal, he’d have joined forces with Menendez long ago. Schumer knows there’s a heavy price to be paid within his own party for opposing the president and no price to be paid for going against Israel.

    This of course is one of the great innovations of the Obama White House. They discovered that you can stick it to Israel and trot out anti-Semitic conceits to scare off potential critics in the pro-Israel community.

    Clinton’s decision, meanwhile, isn’t really about Israel or the American Jewish community either. It’s about what kind of party—and what kind of country—she wants to lead.

    If Clinton were to come out against the Iran deal, she’d give cover to all the Democrats on the Hill who don’t like the deal and don’t trust Obama—and who don’t want to have to explain to their constituents why they voted for an Iranian nuclear mushroom cloud in the desert, or somewhere worse. The Democratic Party would be able to escape being portrayed as the party that gave in to Iranian demands because it was so bedazzled by the promise of a second Nobel Peace Prize and the illusory hope of peace at any price. Consequently, the JCPOA would be resoundingly defeated, letting the Democrats slip the noose of Obama’s foreign policy failures, and stripping the Iranian nuclear weapons program of the international legitimacy granted by the deal.

    It’s a no-brainer for Clinton, unless she wants to be the last one standing in a game of musical chairs and inherit an international order more dangerous than at any time since the Cold War.

    The problem for Clinton in opposing the deal may be something closer to home—the threat that Obama will support a primary challenger to her and release those 30,000 emails from her private server that the White House has in its possession and is now presumably investigating. If she comes out against the Iran deal, the administration will leak something—or many things—capable of doing irreparable harm to her candidacy.

    If Clinton comes out against the Iran deal, she might not get to be president. If she gives the deal her blessing, she’ll be wrestling for eight years with a tiger that her predecessor left on her doorstep and she brought in the door. Either way, Obama has booby-trapped Clinton’s White House.

    Related UPDATE:

    Saudi Press: We Must Have Military Nuke

    Following the July 14 announcement of the Iran nuclear deal, the Saudi press has featured numerous articles openly calling for Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states to use the coming decade to develop their own military nuclear program, against the nuclear threat that they say Iran will constitute after the agreement expires.

    For example, Dr. Hashem 'Abdu Hashem, columnist for the official Saudi daily Al-Riyadh, in his column "There Is No Alternative to the Option of a Nuclear Arms Race," wrote: "Just as Iran has opened the [nuclear] door wide, we must not delay in breaking [the nuclear door] down, with all necessary speed....We are facing a new reality, with no room for tiptoeing around the arms race issue.

    The countries of the region must confer on how best to cooperate and coordinate on this vital issue, now that it has become the preferred option."
    In addition, Saudi Arabia has in recent months taken practical steps to develop a civilian nuclear program, signing nuclear agreements with France, Russia, and South Korea, which include the establishment of civilian nuclear reactors in the kingdom. 

    Wednesday, July 22, 2015

    Americans Skeptical of Iran Deal

    48% of Americans disapprove of the deal to limit Iran's nuclear program, while 38% approve, according to a survey conducted July 14-20 by the Pew Research Center.
    73% say they have not too much (35%) or no confidence at all (38%) that Iran's leaders will uphold their side of the agreement.
    (Pew Research Center)

    No Nukes for Iran rally in New York's Times Square.  It was the largest protest ever in Times Square.
    - Dana Sauchelli, Frank Rosario and Bruce Golding

    Thousands of protesters flooded Times Square Wednesday to rally against the Iran nuclear arms deal. Organizers of the "Stop Iran Now" rally estimated the crowd, which filled the blocks between 42nd and 38th streets, at 12,000.
    Speakers in Times Square included former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, who said opposing the pact "is not only a strategic issue but a moral one. In the face of Iranian threats, does this agreement make us and our allies safer? I believe it does not." 
    Defense attorney, Harvard law professor [and liberal Democrat] Alan Dershowitz called the rally a "great display of democracy in action." 
    (New York Post)

    I hear the argument that Iran would be a threshold nuclear state without an agreement. But the truth is it would have been an illegitimate one that would have justified continued disapproval, sanctions and the threat of a military option against its nuclear program. The most dangerous regime in the region should never be given such legitimacy on such a perilous project. The original goal of dismantling Iran's nuclear infrastructure was not wishful thinking, but a vital part of what needed to be achieved.
    The writer served as national director of the Anti-Defamation League for 28 years.

    Far from requiring the Iranians to dismantle their illicit nuclear program, the Vienna accord leaves almost all of it intact. In exchange for little more than a promise to delay its development of nuclear warheads, Tehran is rewarded...
    (Boston Globe)
    A majority of Americans want Congress to reject the recently-negotiated nuclear deal with Iran.  52% say Congress should reject the deal, while 44% say it should be approved, according to a new CNN/ORC poll conducted on July 22-25.
    The data shows US Jews opposing the deal by 47-44. But after hearing arguments on both sides, they oppose the deal by an overwhelming 58-30.
    The survey of 1,034 people was conducted by Olive Tree Strategies on behalf of pro-Israel advocacy group The Israel Project. It claims a margin of error of 3 percent, and is the most extensive yet to be conducted on the issue. It comes as a wide array of U.S. Jewish groups have announced opposition to the deal, which is believed to endanger Israel and U.S. security.
    [The Algemeiner]

    How can Americans favor the Iran deal by 18 or 19 percentage points and oppose it by 8 or 10? The differences, I believe, come down mostly to the questions asked by the pollsters. If poll questions argue, in effect, that it's a good deal, Americans tend to support it. When people are asked their opinion in an unbiased way that reflects their own understanding of the agreement, they oppose it.
    When Pew asked simply, "From what you know, do you approve or disapprove of this agreement?," unaffected by a positive description of the deal, just 33% approve, while 45% disapprove.
    In short, every poll that finds support for the Iran agreement includes a question that explains why people should support it while casting no doubts. Every poll that offers a neutral description, or none at all, finds Americans opposed to the agreement. Moreover, every poll indicates Americans don't believe this deal will work. 
    The writer has worked for Democratic candidates and causes since 1982.
    (The Hill)

    57% of Americans oppose the nuclear deal with Iran, while 28% support it, according to a Quinnipiac University poll conducted July 23-28.
    56% disapprove the way Obama is handling the situation in Iran, compared with 35% percent who approve. 58% also think the deal makes the world less safe.   
    (The Hill)

    Tuesday, July 21, 2015

    How to Kill The Iran Deal

    How and why to kill the deal - Caroline Glick

    Congress may have more power than it realizes to kill the deal before Iran gets the money and before its other provisions are implemented.

    Over the months leading up to the conclusion of negotiations, Obama refused to acknowledge that he was negotiating a treaty. Rather he said it was nothing more than an executive agreement.  Consequently, he argued, the US Senate’s sole authority to ratify treaties by two-thirds majority would be inapplicable to the deal with Iran.

    Obama also said he would further sideline Congress by anchoring the deal in a binding UN Security Council resolution. This resolution would force Obama’s successor to uphold the deal after he leaves office.

    Obama mitigated his position slightly when Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, drafted the Corker-Cardin bill with veto-proof majorities in both houses. The bill, which Obama reluctantly signed into law, requires Obama to submit the deal to an up or down vote in both houses. If more than two thirds of Senators and Congressmen oppose it, then the US will not abrogate its unilateral sanctions against Iran.

    In other words, Obama agreed that if Congress turned the Constitution on its head by replacing the two-thirds Senate majority required to approve a treaty with a two-thirds bicameral majority necessary to disapprove his executive agreement – then he wouldn’t go to the Security Council until after Congress voted.

    When Obama betrayed his pledge and went to the Security Council on Monday, he gave Congress an opening to reconsider its position, ditch the restrictive Corker-Cardin law and reassert the Senate’s treaty approving authority.

    As former US federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy argued in National Review last week, by among other things canceling the weapons and missile embargoes on Iran, the six-power deal with Iran went well beyond the scope of the Corker-Cardin law, which dealt only with nuclear sanctions relief. As a consequence, Congress can claim that there is no reason to invoke it.

    Rather than invoke Corker-Cardin, Congress can pass a joint resolution determining that the deal with Iran is a treaty and announce that pursuant to the US Constitution, the Senate will schedule a vote on it within 30 days.
    Alternatively, Congress can condition the Iran deal’s legal stature on the passage of enabling legislation – that requires simple majorities in both houses.

    [On] Monday Netanyahu explained that by keeping US sanctions in force, Congress can limit Iran’s capacity to move beyond the current sanctions regime even after it is canceled. Every state and firm considering business opportunities with Tehran will have to weigh them against the opportunity cost of being barred from doing business with the US.

    Iran for its part may walk away from the deal entirely if Congress acts in this manner. If it does, then the US will not be obligated by any of the deal’s requirements. The continued viability of the Security Council resolution will be something for the lawyers to argue over.

    The devil in Obama’s deal with Iran is not in the mind-numbing details, but in the big picture. The deal guarantees Iran will get the bomb. It gives the Iranian regime $150b.

    To secure these concessions, Obama has trampled congressional authority.

    If the American people think this doesn’t advance their national interest, they should encourage their congressional representatives to ditch Corker-Cardin and use their full authority, as a co-equal branch of the government, to scupper it.

    [Jerusalem Post]

    Iran Deal Aftermath


    World to Help Iran Protect Nuke Facilities - Shlomo Cesana

    The nuclear deal with Iran guarantees that world powers will assist Iran in thwarting attempts to undermine its nuclear program.

    Article 10 stipulates that world powers and Iran will foster "cooperation through training and workshops to strengthen Iran's ability to protect against, and respond to, nuclear security threats, including sabotage, as well as to enable effective and sustainable nuclear security and physical protection systems."

    The clause did not appear in the interim deal in April, but was added to the final agreement at the last minute.   
    (Israel Hayom)

    Thwarting Iran's Regional Dominance - Abdulrahman al-Rashed  

    The Iranian regime is like a monster that was tied to a tree and finally set loose in our region. This means we are on the threshold of a new, bloody era.

    Verbal promises from Washington will not be enough, and Iranian pledges will not reassure us. 

    U.S. Gambles on Agreement - Ariel E. Levite

    The nuclear deal finally thrashed out in Vienna is fundamentally different from the package we were led to expect. Iran's track record to date as well as its regime's character make this bet a huge gamble.

    The writer, a senior associate in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, was the principal deputy director general for policy at the Israel Atomic Energy Commission from 2002 to 2007. He also served as deputy national security adviser for defense policy and was head of the Bureau of International Security and Arms Control in the Israel Ministry of Defense. 

    Netanyahu's Credit for the Nuclear Deal - Amos Harel

    Until 2009, Tehran seemed to be moving confidently toward the bomb. According to the memoirs of former leading members of the Obama administration, the Americans were genuinely apprehensive that Israel would mount an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities in 2010, 2011 and 2012. More than any other factor, it was concern about a possible Israeli attack that induced Obama to impose an unprecedented series of sanctions on Iran. The sanctions, in turn, devastated the Iranian economy and led to Iran negotiating an agreement.


    Israeli Opposition: Deal Will Bring Chaos - Jeffrey Goldberg

    When I interviewed the leader of Israel's Labor Party, Isaac Herzog, at the Brookings Institution's Saban Forum last December, he said, in reference to nuclear negotiations with Iran: "I trust the Obama administration to get a good deal." 

    When I spoke with him on July 15, Herzog's message was very different. The deal in Vienna, he said, "will unleash a lion from the cage, it will have a direct influence over the balance of power in our region, it's going to affect our borders, and it will affect the safety of my children."

    "Most of the Israeli body politic is worried about the agreement, and people need to understand our worries. We have respect for the United States, for this great ally and friend, and we don't want to be in a confrontation or clash. But we have to let people know that we think this is a dangerous situation." 

    The Iran Deal's Collapsing Rationale - Bret Stephens

    On Thursday, Moscow confirmed that it will proceed with the sale to Iran of its state-of-the-art S-300 surface-to-air missile system, notwithstanding the Iran deal's supposed five-year arms embargo. The sale means that a future president ordering airstrikes against Iran would do so against an adversary that can shoot American planes out of the skies.

    Susan Rice insists that some of the $150 billion Iran gets in sanctions relief might be spent on Iran's "bad behavior in the region." So the U.S. government has agreed to release monies that it believes will be used to fund Iran's terrorist proxies on the intriguing rationale that, in order to prevent the Middle East from becoming a very dangerous place in the future, it is necessary to allow it to become a very dangerous place now. 

    Iran will get its money. It will redouble its bad behavior. And sooner or later it will probably get its bomb. 
    (Wall Street Journal)

    On Iran, Congress Should Just Say No - Eric Edelman & Ray Takeyh

    A careful examination of the nuclear agreement with Iran reveals that it concedes an enrichment capacity that is too large; sunset clauses that are too short; a verification regime that is too leaky; and enforcement mechanisms that are too suspect. The scale of imperfection is so great that the judicious course is to reject the deal and renegotiate a more stringent one.

    Prior to the 2013 interim accord, the Obama administration's position rested on relatively sensible precepts. The U.S. insisted that, given Iran's practical needs, it should only have a symbolic enrichment program of a few hundred centrifuges. These prudent parameters were overtaken by a cavalcade of concessions. 

    The U.S. in effect abandoned the goal of preventing development of an Iranian nuclear capability in favor of managing its emergence.
    Eric Edelman, undersecretary of defense for policy from 2005 to 2009, is a scholar in residence at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Ray Takeyh is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. 
    (Washington Post)

    "When the Villain Is Laughing, Something Is Wrong"
    - Israeli UN Ambassador Ron Prosor

    The Iranians are laughing in everyone's face. When the villain is laughing, you know something is wrong.

    When we hear laughter from a country whose Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, says that even after the agreement is signed, Iran will continue the battle against the United States, Iran will continue supporting terrorists in the Middle East and around the world - something is wrong.

    When we hear laughter from a country whose president, just days before the agreement was signed, marches at the head of a parade in Tehran in which American and Israeli flags are burned - something is wrong.

    In future years, the consequences of this mistake will become clear to all, but for Israel, tomorrow is already too late.

    (Permanent Mission of Israel to the UN)

    Friday, July 17, 2015

    Understanding Iran Deal

    Congress must rob Iran deal of legitimacy - Dr. Charles Krauthammer
    Who would have imagined we would be giving up the conventional arms and ballistic missile embargoes on Iran? In nuclear negotiations?  When asked at his news conference why there is nothing in the deal about the American hostages being held by Iran, President Obama explained that this is a separate issue, not part of nuclear talks. Are conventional weapons not a separate issue? After all, conventional, by definition, means non-nuclear. Why are we giving up the embargoes?

    Because Iran, joined by Russia — our "reset" partner — sprung the demand at the last minute, calculating that Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry were so desperate for a deal that they would cave. They did.

    Obama is taking the agreement to the U.N. Security Council for approval within days. Approval there will cancel all previous U.N. resolutions outlawing and sanctioning Iran's nuclear activities. Meaning: Whatever Congress ultimately does, it won't matter because the legal underpinning for the entire international sanctions regime against Iran will have been dismantled at the Security Council. Ten years of painstakingly constructed international sanctions will vanish overnight, irretrievably.

    Even if Congress rejects the agreement, do you think the Europeans, the Chinese or the Russians will reinstate sanctions? The result: The United States is left isolated while the rest of the world does thriving business with Iran.

    Should Congress then give up? No. Congress needs to act in order to rob this deal of, at least, its domestic legitimacy. Rejection will make little difference on the ground. But it will make it easier for a successor president to legitimately reconsider an executive agreement.
    Stopping Iran from going nuclear at that point will be infinitely more difficult and risky. Which is Obama's triumph. He has locked in his folly. He has laid down his legacy, and we will have to live with the consequences for decades.
    [Washington Post]

    Obama's age of nuclear chaos - Caroline Glick
    That deal doesn’t merely show that the US is unwilling to exact a price from states that illicitly develop nuclear weapons. The US and its allies just concluded a deal that requires them to facilitate Iran’s nuclear efforts.  Not only will the US and its allies remove the sanctions imposed on Iran over the past decade and so start the flow of some $150 billion to the ayatollahs’ treasury. They will help Iran develop advanced centrifuges.

    They even committed themselves to protecting Iran’s nuclear facilities from attack and sabotage.

    [O]pponents of the deal, including Israel, must do everything they can to convince the Democrats to vote against it in September. If Congress votes down the deal, the nuclear chaos Obama unleashed on Tuesday can be more easily reduced by his successor in the White House.

    Moreover, in light of Obama’s end-run around the Congress, it is clear that regardless of congressional action, the deal has already ruined the 70-year old nonproliferation system that prevented nuclear chaos and war.
    Israel still may have the ability to attack Iran’s nuclear sites. If it does, then it should attack them as quickly and effectively as possible.  And no, Israel shouldn’t be overly concerned with how Obama will respond to such actions.

    Years from now, perhaps historians will point out the irony that Obama, who loudly proclaims his goal of making the world free of nuclear weapons, has ushered in an era of mass nuclear proliferation and chaos.

    Israel can ill afford the luxury of pondering irony. One day the nuclear Furies Obama has unleashed may find their way to New York City. But their path to America runs through Israel. We need to ready ourselves to destroy them before they cross our border.

    [Jerusalem Post]

    Serious sanctions were only imposed on Iran in November 2011. They cut the country's oil exports by half, shut off its banking system from the rest of the world, sent the rial into free fall and caused the inflation rate to soar to 60%.
    And that was only the first turn of the economic screw: Iran's permitted oil exports could have been cut further; additional sanctions could have been imposed. Instead of turning the screw, Mr. Obama relieved the pressure by signing on to the interim agreement. 
    (Wall Street Journal)


    Thursday, July 16, 2015

    Iran's Grand Achievements

    Tehran "Achieved All It Wanted" - Dov S. Zakheim

    As the Iranian Mehr News Agency has pointed out, Iran has achieved all that it wanted in the nuclear deal.

    All economic and financial sanctions against Iran will be removed. None of its nuclear sites will be shut down. Iran will continue nuclear enrichment. No centrifuge will be destroyed and research and development on advanced centrifuges will continue. Billions of Iran's blocked revenues in foreign banks will be unfrozen.

    In reality, America, with its allies in tow, has made concession after concession to an economically starved state whose delusions of grandeur will now be greater than ever. Iran will have little trouble cheating IAEA inspectors while it proceeds along its path of nuclear-weapons development. It did not have to be this way.
    The writer served as undersecretary of defense (comptroller) in 2001-2004 and as deputy undersecretary of defense (planning and resources) in 1985-1987. 
    (National Interest)

    Iran Got Better Deal Than It Had Any Right to Expect
    - Elliott Abrams 

  • The administration has most recently acted as Iran's lawyer, defending its violations of the previous agreement and attacking the press for suggesting that violations had occurred. The agreement even says that the federal government will fight any move by any state to impose or maintain state sanctions on Iran - for example, for human-rights violations, support of terror, aggression in the region, or any other reason.
  • Iran has been arguing for years that it has the right to enrich uranium. The U.S. has always said "no." Now we allow Iran 6,000 centrifuges. Decades of American nonproliferation policy are dead.
  • At five years, Iran begins rearming without any limits; at eight years, it begins modernizing and enlarging its ballistic missiles; after ten years, the nuclear limits start falling away. That is, Iran can then develop warheads and it will have the missiles on which to put them.
  • (National Review)