American Elephants


Obama Takes Another Deliberate Step to Weaken the U.S. by The Elephant's Child

In the 1980s, there was a wave of terrorist incidents involving Libyans, and Pan Am Flight 103 was brought down by a bomb over Lockerbie, Scotland in December of 1988. The Reagan administration reacted by prohibiting Libyans from coming to the U.S. to attend flight school, work in aviation maintenance or flight operations, or to study or seek training in nuclear science.

Without going into the long conflict with Libya, with Muammar Gaddafi, in the so-called Arab Spring in 2011, demonstrators across northern Africa ousted former rulers in Tunis and Egypt and it resulted in a protracted civil war in Libya and the eventual execution of Gaddafi. The Arab Spring did not turn out to be the stunning move to democracy that our administration expected. A year later, militants attacked the American compound in Benghazi, killed our ambassador, his technological support officer, and two brave former SEAL contractors. Libya remains in turmoil, and the terror threat there continues.

The Obama administration has surprisingly decided to lift the longstanding prohibition on Libya, by turning a blind eye to real terrorist threats and forged ahead with its plan to allow Libyan pilots and nuclear scientists to study in the U.S. — although only weeks ago Americans working at the American embassy in Tripoli were evacuated due to battles between rival rebel groups.

The House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security and the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security held hearings, and demanded documents on the issue from DHS, which were never provided.

There are unconfirmed reports that there are eleven passenger jetliners missing from the main airport in Tripoli.  The State Department has said they have no confirmation, so this may be only rumor, but a scary one.

The Committee Chairmen are troubled. Chairman Goodlatte: “The House Judiciary Committee has repeatedly sought information about the Administration’s policy reversal but political appointees at the Department of Homeland Security have stonewalled the Committee’s requests and have not articulated why it is in Americans’ best interests to change policy. Given the ongoing volatility in Libya, it is unconscionable and completely irresponsible that the Administration plans to lift a longstanding policy that protects Americans and our national security from threats in the region.”

Chairman Gowdy: “The burden of proof for advocating a change in the status quo lies with the Administration. Is post-revolutionary Libya secure enough to change the rules? Why now? What evidence does the Administration have to assert the relationship between Libya and the US has indeed normalized? It is extremely concerning that DHS is moving forward with these plans, but has not provided information on the policy change despite repeated requests from Members.”

Congressman Chaffetz : “It is unbelievable that this Administration is willing to put Americans in harm’s way by lifting a decades-old security ban on a country challenged by instability. This makes no sense. None.  Recent events – such as the 2012 attack on our U.S. Consulate in Benghazi – do not indicate a nation where things have been ‘normalized.’  Rather they seem to be ingredients of a failed state in the making.”

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved a final regulation to lift the Reagan era prohibition on Libyans which was put in place in 1960. The administration justifies it’s action by claiming the relationship with Libya has “improved”, evidenced by evacuating the embassy?

Perhaps this falls under “organizing the Middle East.” Why any administration would want to train more Middle Eastern nuclear scientists is beyond me, nor what illusions they have about the world. According to studies, Republicans are 13% more inclined to consider al Qaeda or ISIS as a threat than Democrats. And Republicans are 18% more concerned about Iran’s nuclear program than Democrats are. Go figure.

Vladimir Putin reminded us on Friday, as Russian tanks and troops poured into eastern Ukraine: “I want to remind you that Russia is one of the most powerful nuclear nations,” he said. “This is a reality, not just words.” Russia, is “strengthening our nuclear deterrence forces.”

Well at least somebody is capable of straight, tough speech. Unfortunately he’s on the wrong side.



Congress Calls Obama’s Attention to a Matter of Backbone.. by The Elephant's Child

Eighty-three U.S. senators got together yesterday to demand that President Obama meet with core principles, including unmistakable consequences, in any final nuclear agreement with Iran. Leaders in the bipartisan letter were Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chris Coons (D-DE) Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH).

The number of senators included serves as a warning to the administration that they have the support to override a veto on tougher Iran sanctions.  Harry Reid (D-NV) who held up a sanctions vote at the request of the White House, did not sign the letter. The letter stated:

For twenty years, Congress has consistently focused attention on the threat of the Iranian program and taken the lead in initiating sanctions.  Congress has repeatedly stated that preventing an Iranian nuclear capability is a key goal of U.S. foreign policy.  Nine separate pieces of sanctions legislation have passed Congress since 1996.  We appreciate your continued commitment to preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and your efforts to implement the sanctions, which isolated and pressured the regime into negotiations.

We believe that Congress has a continuing role to play to improve the prospects for success in the talks with Iran.  As these negotiations proceed, we will outline our views about the essential goals of a final agreement with Iran, continue oversight of the interim agreement and the existing sanctions regime, and signal the consequences that will follow if Iran rejects an agreement that brings to an end its nuclear weapons ambitions.

They enumerated these core principles:

  • We believe Iran has no inherent right to enrichment under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
  • We believe any agreement must dismantle Iran’s nuclear weapons program and prevent it from ever having a uranium or plutonium path to a nuclear bomb.
  • We believe Iran has no reason to have an enrichment facility like Fordow, that the regime must give up its heavy water reactor at Arak, and that it must fully explain the questionable activities in which it engaged at Parchin and other facilities.
  • We believe Iran must fully resolve concerns addressed in United Nations Security Council resolutions including any military dimensions of its nuclear program.
  • We believe Iran must submit to a long-term and intrusive inspection and verification regime to achieve the goal described in the Joint Plan of Action “reaffirm[ing] that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek or develop any nuclear weapons.” Finally, we believe Iran must not be allowed during these negotiations to circumvent sanctions. We view this period as one fraught with the danger of companies and countries looking to improve their commercial position in Tehran, especially given recent reports of rising purchases of Iranian oil. Iran cannot be allowed to be open for business. As you have stated, we must come down on those who are undermining sanctions “like a ton of bricks.”

If negotiations failed, or if Iran violated the Joint Plan of Action, Congress will ensure that the legislative authority exists to rapidly and dramatically expand sanctions.

A similar letter was sent to President Obama from the House, led by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer(D-MD) and signed by 395 lawmakers.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who previously opposed unilateral military action against Iran, is losing faith in America’s ability to keep it secure. Israel is one of America’s staunchest allies in the region. Other regional U.S. allies are already making contingency plans. Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, worried about the U.S. withdrawal from the region, have forged closer ties than before. Turkey is less willing to work with the U.S. and has even made moves to improve ties with Iran. Israel will go to great lengths to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, with or without Washington’s blessing.




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