Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Biden Shows Teeth Toward Israel

Biden's Assault on Israel - Elliott Abrams

On the same day that a bomb injured 21 people in a bus in Jerusalem, Vice President Joe Biden addressed J Street with a rhetorical attack on the government of Israel. President Obama is about to join a GCC summit in Saudi Arabia. Does Biden really think the Arabs pay no attention to how we treat our closest friends and allies? Does he not know that they will read all of this and wonder when they will be getting the same treatment?

Then there are the facts. How do you get to "systematic" expansion of settlements when Netanyahu has been constraining many aspects of settlement growth? And why is Biden not familiar with the history of his own administration's peace efforts? As Dennis Ross made clear in his most recent book, Doomed to Succeed, Netanyahu was in fact ready to take significant political risks to meet American requests - and Abbas was not. 
The writer, a senior fellow at CFR, was a U.S. deputy national security advisor. 
(Council on Foreign Relations)

The U.S. and Saudi Arabia No Longer See Anything the Same Way 
- Ray Takeyh

As President Obama traveled to Saudi Arabia, the latest developments in the Iran nuclear deal are not anything the Tehran-phobic Saudis want to talk about. Obama has expressed a vague desire that Iran and Saudi Arabia should "share the neighborhood" without saying how he hopes that will be accomplished.

As the U.S. grows more energy independent and Saudi oil becomes less relevant, the lure of petroleum is increasingly not enough to sustain an alliance always built on a shaky foundation.

Changing the occupant of the White House early next year will not substantially alter America's policies. Obama reflects a mood of disenchantment with the Middle East within the Democratic party, while Republican front-runners denounce expansive visions for transforming the political culture of the Middle East and implanting democratic regimes in the heart of the Arab world. U.S. politicians on both sides are tired of expending precious resources to stabilize a region coming undone. 
The writer, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, was senior advisor on Iran at the U.S. State Department. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Glick on Settlements

This excellent 4 minute video gets to the heart of the problem in the Arab-Israeli conflict

Brussels Bomber: Israel Was The Target

Mohamed Abrini [far right] was captured and is talking

Brussels Terrorists Planned to Attack Travelers Flying to Israel 

Mohamed Abrini [pictured above, on right], who was captured last week after appearing in video footage at Brussels airport walking alongside two suicide bombers, said that his accomplices had planned to attack travelers who were flying to Israel, the U.S. and Russia, French BFM TV reported.  
(Jerusalem Post)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Dramatic Plea from Saudi News Anchor

Nadine Al-Budair

Saudi News Anchor: Muslims Should Take Responsibility for Terrorism
- Kara O'Neill

In the middle of a TV broadcast on a Saudi Arabian news channel, newsreader Nadine Al-Budair said: "Whenever terrorism massacres peaceful civilians, the smart alecs and the hypocrites vie with one another in saying that these people do not represent Islam or the Muslims....It is we who blow ourselves up. It is we who blow up others....Don't these perpetrators emerge from our environment? Don't their families belong to our society?"

"After the abominable Brussels bombings, it's time for us to feel shame and to stop acting as if the terrorists are a rarity. We must admit that they are present everywhere, that their nationality is Arab, and that they adhere to the religion of Islam. We must acknowledge that we are the ones who gave birth to them." 

Monday, April 04, 2016

Obama Continues to Cave to Iran

The Iran Nuclear Deal Keeps Changing - Eli Lake

Like most of Washington, I was under the impression that the nuclear negotiations with Iran ended in July. That turns out to have been wrong. While it's true that the Iranians have disposed of nuclear material, modified sites and allowed more monitoring, they also keep haggling over the terms.

Now the U.S. is considering a rule change to allow some Iranian businesses to use offshore financial institutions to access U.S. dollars in currency trades. When the White House sold the deal to Congress, senior Treasury officials promised the nuclear agreement would not allow such dollar transactions, since it only lifted nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, but kept in place other sanctions to punish the country's support for terrorism, human rights abuses and its ballistic missile program.

Democratic House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said:
"The Administration had indicated that there would be no further concessions beyond those specifically negotiated and briefed to Congress. I do not support granting Iran any new relief without a corresponding concession."   


- Eric B. Lorber and Peter Feaver

The Obama administration has signaled that it is about to make an additional and unexpected concession to Iran that significantly weakens remaining U.S. leverage: giving Iran backdoor access to financial transactions in dollars. Congress is crying foul, asserting that such dollar access was not included in the original deal and constitutes a gift to Iran that should not be given without additional Iranian concessions. When selling the agreement to Congress, Acting Undersecretary of the Treasury Adam Szubin assured lawmakers on September 17, 2015, that "no Iranian banks can access the U.S. financial system." 
Eric Lorber is an adjunct Fellow at the Center for a New American Security. Peter Feaver is a professor of political science and public policy at Duke University. 
(Foreign Policy)

- Edith M. Lederer
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reported progress after a meeting on Iranian complaints that it's not getting the sanctions relief it deserves under last year's nuclear deal. Iran says it is locked out of the international financial system.
The White House, Treasury and the State Department have all said the U.S. has done what is required, but U.S. officials say the Obama administration is considering easing financial restrictions that prevent U.S. dollars from being used in transactions that enable business with Iran. On Monday Kerry said Iran has so far received only $3 billion of $55 billion expected under the deal. 
(AP-ABC News)