American Elephants


Hoover fellow Charles Hill Discusses the Iran Deal by The Elephant's Child

Charles Hill is one of our nation’s most accomplished diplomats. He is now the diplomat in residence at Yale, and a fellow at the Hoover Institution. He served in the State Department at the right hand of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Secretary of State George Shultz. He has written important works such as Trial of a Thousand Years: Islamism and World Order, and he teaches “Grand Strategy,” a course that has become legendary among generations of Yale Undergraduates.



Here’s Why This Man is Laughing. The Iran Deal explained. by The Elephant's Child

WhyIsThisManLaughing

Here’s an explanation of the Iran Deal reduced to basics. We would all prefer to think that Obama meant what he promised about a deal  two years ago, or last year, or even a month or two ago. But he didn’t. And he lied about it.

Here’s What we get:

•Iran reduces by about half the number of centrifuges actively enriching uranium.

•Iran reduces its stockpile of enriched uranium from about five tons to 300 kilograms.

•Iran repurposes its heavy water reactor in Arak so it does not produce plutonium.

•An unspecified increase in inspections by the IAEA

Here’s What Iran Gets:
Sanctions relief:

•Almost every type of U.S. EU and UN sanctions are lifted.

•Repeal of six UN Security Council resolutions declaring the Iranian nuclear program illegal.

•Top IROC and Quds Force terrorists removed from the sanctions list, including Qassem Suleimani, leader of Iran’s campaign against US. Soldiers in Iraq, and Ahmad Vahidi, mastermind of the 1994 Jewish community center bombing in Argentina that killed 85 people.

•Removal from the sanctions list of approximately 800 people and legal entities, including 23 out of 24 Iranian banks.

•$100 to $$150 billion to be  unfrozen and given to Iran with no restrictions on its use to purchase arms and fund terrorism, including funding for Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Assad regime in Syria.

Nuclear Program:

•Iran keeps every one of its nuclear centrifuges.

•Iran keeps its entire physical nuclear infrastructure, including the enrichment facilities at Fordow, Nantaz, and the enrichment facilities at Bushehr.

•Iran permitted to continue research and development on all of its advanced centrifuge designs, reducing nuclear breakout time at the end of the deal to weeks.

•Iran permitted to transition its allowed enrichment of uranium from older centrifuge designs to advanced designs.

•No “anywhere, anytime” inspections. Iran can delay inspection of any site for at least 24 days.

•No requirement that Iran fully disclose past nuclear weapons research and development (PDM issue).

•The P5+1 western powers pledge to collaborate with Iran on nuclear technology.

•Restrictions on enrichment—part of the “sunset” of the deal—are lifted after eight years.

• If Iran is thought to have violated the deal, in order to “snap back” sanctions a dispute resolution process must be undertaken that can last two and a half months, after which the matter can be referred to the UN Security Council. At the UNSC, the re-imposition of sanctions can be vetoed by Russia, which stands to earn billions of dollars from arms sales to a non-sanctioned Iran.

Concessions unrelated to nuclear program:

•Ballistic missile embargo lifted after eight years.

•Conventional arms embargo lifted after five years.

•Iran keeps U.S. hostages.

(h/t: Noah Pollak, The Weekly Standard)

After his team, on his instructions, has given away the store, Obama had a “press conference” that was really just a reprise of White House talking points designed to fool the public. This was a catastrophic failure of understanding, of backbone, and of the real dangers involved.

Iran is not a normal country, but a radical theocratic regime whose goal is to develop nuclear weapons in order to destroy the State of Israel and the United States of America. Obama does not believe they would ever use a nuclear weapon. He is mistaken.



The Issue Is Never the Issue, and The Iran Deal Is Not About Nukes. by The Elephant's Child

The Iran Deal wasn’t really about nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons were never the top priority on the Obama administration’s list. Obama is firmly convinced that Iran would never actually use nuclear weapons. The administration, defeated in its efforts to bring about a “two-state solution” between Israel and the Palestinians, Obama’s intent when first inaugurated. That failure has been a thorn in his side ever since.

Obama has viewed Israel as an intractable troublemaker, and Israel as the main reason for all of the troubles in the Middle East. One of his main concerns with the Iran Deal was to prevent an Israeli attack on Iran. His vision of a peaceful Middle East has Iran as the great regional power who would manage the troublesome sects and tribes and dictators and jihadists, and America can just wash its hands of the whole region.

He wants to transform the United States into a less imposing power. He wants to limit American action. In his view the United States has been way too eager to impose its norms onto other countries and needs to stop throwing its weight around. It needs to be just one country among the family of nations — a more humble power.

And of course the biggest goal is to ensure the legacies of the president and secretary of state as men of vision and peace, who recognize that diplomacy can bring about real peace. That these abstract principles have no relation to the facts on the ground is not obvious to the true believer in the White House. He believes that with cooperation and forgiveness, even a nuclear Iran will become a collegial member of the community of nations.

When you have that mindset, whether or not Iran wants to become one of the world’s nuclear powers is just not all that important.

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Formal portrait. The two Iranian diplomats just can’t contain their giddy triumph.



Kuwaiti Born Gunman Killed Four Marines in Tennessee by The Elephant's Child

Today, a gunman identified by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office as Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez killed four Marines at a Naval facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. A few minutes earlier Abdulazeez hadsho222oter_345.jpg.cms opened fire at an Armed Forces Career Center, but failed to kill anyone there, a few miles away at a Naval and Marine Reserve Center at the Chattanooga Riverpark, four Marines and one police officer were shot. The killer was killed by police.

A Senior FBI official said the shooting did not initially appear to be related to any international terrorist group.

Abdulazeez had just graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in electrical engineering. He was born in Kuwait. That’s about all we know.

The saddest part of the story is that the facilities were designated as “Gun Free Zones.” The Marines had no way to defend themselves. The current administration has a peculiar relationship with guns. They want to disarm the military because the guns might make them look scary, or authoritarian, or mean. Their timid Rules of Engagement have sacrificed a lot of lives because of their hangups.

I believe it was the Clinton administration that banned weapons being carried on Military reservations, like Fort Hood.



The Best Political Cartoonists Have a Talent for Getting Right to the Essential Truth. by The Elephant's Child

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The Disastrous Deal of the Century by The Elephant's Child

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Let’s go back to the time when Obama was newly inaugurated. Richard Epstein, noted Law Professor, fellow at the Hoover Institution, who teaches at NYU and University of Chicago, knew Obama at the University of Chicago and through his own next-door neighbor, who is one of Obama’s closest friends. He said that Obama does not change his mind. Once he has accepted an idea, it is fixed in concrete. He does not change his mind.

It was clear, early on, that Obama believes that all of the difficulties in the Middle East arise out of the Israeli/Palestinian animosity, and he believed that obtaining a two-state peace agreement between the two would end the problems in the Middle East, and he had set that as his goal. Palestine has not the slightest interest in a two-state solution, they want Israel gone and continue daily missile attacks.  Obama’s dream of bringing peace about went a-glimmering. A little long-winded, but it helps to explain this irresponsible and dreadful “deal.”

In the present, Obama and his advisors believe that if Iran gets nuclear weapons, they would never use a bomb. They cannot fathom the idea that they would. It is the same mistake all too often made by our diplomats and national security apparatus — that the Iranians are really people just like us who care about their families, and yearn for peace, and want the best things for their people. They do not.

Iran is a tyrannical theocracy, a fanatical end-times theocracy. They have told us that although we worship life, they worship death. They were and are the chief sponsors of terrorism in the world. They really mean it when they call for “Death to Israel” and “Death to America.” They believe in Armageddon and the return of the Mahdi.

Iran has never stopped its nuclear work, including during the dealmaking. The deal means Iran keeps its nuclear arms, and we get to remove all sanctions and give them billions with which to accomplish their aims. Iran has cheated on every inspection and every agreement. Their aims are the destruction of Israel and America. The question is whether they rush it to complete before Khomeinei dies, (he has terminal cancer) or wait till they can manage an EMP attack which will purportedly kill 90% of Americans. The deal even signs off on Iran getting the intercontinental ballistic missiles they need for the purpose.

Please watch the talk by Daniel Pipes, explaining the Middle East. It is truly worth your time.

Here is President Obama’s speech this morning. Full of exaggeration, self-congratulation and hooey. Can he possibly not understand what he is doing?

Here’s the White House take on the deal with graphs and color and hooplah.  The idea that they will actually admit inspectors is unlikely. We don’t even know what other facilities they have.

Here’s Claudia Rosett, who has been following this closely.

Here is Israel’s Ambassador Ron Dermer, speaking at the CUFI Summit on the negotiations. Do read the whole thing. The Israelis,understandably, take this much more seriously than Obama does. He’s just looking for a “legacy.” And if there’s anything that doesn’t work out well, it will fall to his successor. He did a deal to protect the American people, if it doesn’t work out — it’s not his fault.

Here is Daniel Pipes today:”Could the Iran Deal Be the Worst International Accord of All Time”

The Saudis and Egypt will quickly buy nukes, and this will presage a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

There will be plenty of commentary on this mess. Congress must hear often and loudly just what the American people think of this mistake.
The thing to remember is that Obama believes that Iran would never use a nuclear weapon. There is no evidence to believe that to be true.

ADDENDUM:  Daniel Pipes’ today’s piece was added after publication.



How to Think About the Iran Deal by The Elephant's Child

Without getting into all the details, which I will in a moment, here’s a quick and dirty way to understand the whole thing:

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That worked out well. And there is this photo of Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif standing on the balcony of Palais Coberg, the venue for the nuclear talks, in Austria, July 13, 2015.

Why is this man laughing?

WhyIsThisManLaughing

(h/t: Powerline)




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