Filed under: Foreign Policy, Intelligence, Islam, Middle East, National Security, Terrorism | Tags: Jihadist Exodus, Radicalized in Syria, Terror at Home
President Francois Hollande has asked Manuel Valls, the interior minister to draw up plans to crack down on the “jihadist exodus.” The warning came after it emerged that two 15 year-old French boys had left this month to fight in Syria. They are believed to be among the youngest Westerners to travel there since the Arab Spring revolt against Bashar al-Assad turned into a full blown civil war.
The prospect of hundreds of battle-hardened extremists returning to Europe with training in bomb-making and weaponry has become a major cause of concern in recent months. Mr Valls said the numbers going there had “accelerated” in recent weeks.
He said French intelligence services believe around 700 French nationals or persons living in France were either currently fighting there, had already returned or were planning to become jihadists.
Twenty-one French nationals had been killed in fighting in the Arab state.
The threat is not confined to Europe, Radicalized young Muslims from the US, Canada and Australia as well as from other Muslim countries have traveled to Syria to fight.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Intelligence, Middle East, National Security, News the Media Doesn't Want You to Hear, Politics, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: al Qaeda In Syria, Attacks At Home, Training Jihadists
You are aware, of course, that al Qaeda has been “decimated and is “on the way to defeat.” Since the Benghazi attack, President Barack Obama has touted al Qaeda’s demise at least 32 times, even though Libyan President Mohamed Yousef El-Magarief, members of Congress, an administration spokesman and several press reports said that al Qaeda played a role in the attack. In Green Bay, Wisconsin, on November 1, Obama said “Thanks to sacrifice and service of our brave men and women in uniform, the war in Iraq is over, the war in Afghanistan is winding down, al Qaeda has been decimated, Osama bin Laden is dead.“
But nobody told the British newspapers. The Telegraph today says that Al Qaeda is training hundreds of British and European jihadis in Syria — and telling them to return home to set up terror cells.
British people fighting in Syria are being trained as “jihadists” and then encouraged to return to the UK to launch attacks on home soil, an al-Qaeda defector and western security sources have told the Telegraph.
In a rare interview on Turkey’s border with Syria, the defector from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) said that recruits from Britain, Europe and the US were being indoctrinated in extremist anti-Western ideology, trained in how to make and detonate car bombs and suicide vests and sent home to start new terror cells.
British security and intelligence agencies believe the threat of would-be terrorists being indoctrinated and directed back to the UK by al Qaeda organizers in Syria is growing. Foreign fighters are proud of 9/11 and the London bombings. A defector from ISIS said of the foreign fighters he met in Syria: “They talked often about terrorist attacks. The British, French and American mujahideen [holy warriors] in the room started talking about places that they wanted to bomb or explode themselves in Europe and the United States. Everyone named a target. The American said he dreamed of blowing up the White House.”
Up to 500 fighters from Britain have joined the struggle against Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, many already known to MI5 for their radical sympathies. Some have gone with the intent of fighting the regime but are brainwashed by al Qaeda and urged to return home and launch attacks there instead.
The French interior minister, Manuel Valls, said the possibility of French citizens returning from Syria as hardened jihadists was “the biggest threat that the country faces in the coming years.” France and Europe risk being “overwhelmed” by the phenomenon.
Shiraz Maher, a senior research fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College London, estimated last week that up to 50 British fighters have already returned home.
I don’t suppose that anyone here is apt to think of this as a warning about open borders, uncontrolled illegal immigration, amnesty, and the declining rate of real assimilation among new immigrants. Europe may have a rude awakening over their rush to encourage immigration to relieve declining birthrates in Europe, and their inability to assimilate their immigrants. We may have a rude awakening over our administration’s insistence that al Qaeda has been defeated, and is no longer a concern.
Filed under: Foreign Policy, History, Iran, National Security, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: Ayotollah Khomeini, Peace With Terrorists, The 60s Revisited
The headline at the Weekly Standard was “Yoko Ono vs. Ayatollah Khomeini.”
It’s going to be difficult, it’s going to be challenging, but ultimately this is how diplomacy should work.”
“If Iran is willing to walk through the door of opportunity that’s presented to them” then the country and its people will benefit.
“If they fail to walk through this door of opportunity, then we are in position to reverse the interim agreement and put in place additional pressure to make sure that Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon.”
“My preference is for peace and diplomacy, and this is one of the reasons why I’ve sent the message to Congress that now is not the time for us to impose new sanctions, now is the time for us to allow the diplomats and technical experts to do their work.”
“What we want to do is give diplomacy a chance, and give peace a chance.”
The Iranians said that America was being secretly run by a bunch of Nazi space aliens who control the government. Really.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Foreign Policy, Intelligence, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, National Security, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: A Didgraceful Foreign Policy, Al Qaeda Captures Fallujah, Fighting in Ramadi
“A rejuvenated, al Qaeda-affiliated force has asserted control over the western Iraqi city of Fallujah on Friday, raising the black al Qaeda flag over government buildings and declaring an Islamic state in one of the most crucial areas that U.S. troops fought to pacify before withdrawing from Iraq two years ago.”
Following his inauguration, President Obama withdrew troops from Iraq on the timetable agreed upon by President Bush. As the draw-down proceeded, it became clear that security would worsen dangerously in the absence of American power. He refused to consider leaving even a small contingent of troops to help the young Iraqi government resist terrorist forces. The result has been an escalation of violence. Local tribes, Iraqi security forces and al Qaeda-affiliated militants have been fighting for days in a confused and chaotic three-way war.
“At the moment there is no presence of the Iraqi state in Fallujah,” a local journalist who asked not to be named because e fears for his safety. “The police and the army have abandoned the city, al Qaeda has taken down all the Iraqi flags and burned them, and it has raised its own flag on all the buildings.” The fighting has now spread to Ramadi.
Iraqi troops trying to retake Anbar province from a mixture of Islamist and tribal foes battled al Qaeda fighters in Ramadi on Saturday after shelling the western region’s other main city, Fallujah, overnight, tribal leaders and official said.
President Obama failed to secure a status of forces agreement in Iraq, and has expressed no interest in helping the beleaguered country. His original idea on coming into office seemed to be that all the problems in the Middle East were the result of the problems between Israel and Palestine. He would force an agreement between Israel and her neighbor, and that would end the problems of the entire region. Which seems to be what Secretary Kerry is up to. This is such a dimwitted supposition that it beggars belief, and shows no understanding at all of the entire region, but that’s what they seem to believe, and American foreign policy is the evidence.
Be nice if a few reporters asked some hard questions about the utter failure of his foreign policy, but that’s not what reporters do these days anyway. Perhaps the British press will ask the hard questions. They do a better job of it.
Disgraceful. Simply disgraceful.
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Freedom, Iran, National Security, Progressivism, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: Abject Failure, Fallible Assumptions, Victory — Not Conflict Resolution
Deals between democracies and dictators seldom turn out well. Democracies assume that dictators seek peace, and are as concerned for the well-being of their people as democracies, which is seldom the case. We assume they want compromise, which they don’t. Years of talks intended to prevent North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons resulted in abject failure. The big “reset” with Russia, with Hillary’s mistranslated symbolic red button, led to American concessions on such important issues as missile defense, and Russia has given …? We assume that, like us, the bad guys are seeking common ground and are open to compromise. The bad guys’ goal is victory — not conflict-resolution.
According to Clifford May, head of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, they estimate that over the next six months, Iran will receive $20 billion or more in sanctions relief both directly from the Geneva agreement and through positive changes in Iranian economic activity. Last Friday a State Department spokesman finally answered a query about what concessions Iran has given in return. On the Iranian side, the agreement “has yet to be implemented.”
In the meantime, Iran’s centrifuges continue to spin, turning out 20 percent enriched uranium. Construction is ongoing at the Arak heavy-water reactor, a facility that will be able to produce weapons-grade plutonium. Weaponization and ballistic-missile development have not been halted — such activities are not even included in the Joint Plan of Action despite the fact that a 2012 U.N. Security Council resolution obligates Iran to “not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.” All these issues are to be addressed in a new round of negotiations expected to begin in January — though no date certain is yet on the calendar.
Not only are we assuming that our goals are similar, we are assuming that both sides agree on what the language of the agreement actually says. That is not the case. “The government of new president Hassan Rouhani says the deal recognizes Iran’s right to enrich uranium.” The mullahs know how to play hardball, and they are so doing.
Scott Johnson at Powerline says:
[T]he Iranians have Obama’s number and they mean to advertise it. They are sending a message. They see him as a pathetic weakling whom they can push around without consequence. Obama and Kerry are smart enough to know they are being humiliated, but they don’t care. They are more than willing to endure humiliation in the service of what they deem to be a higher cause.
Filed under: Intelligence, Liberalism, National Security, News of the Weird, Terrorism | Tags: Carbon Tax, New York Times Columnist, Thomas Friedman
Thomas Friedman of the New York Times
(h/t: American Digest)
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Foreign Policy, Iran, Middle East, National Security, Politics, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: A Nuclear Iran, Testing Ballistic Missiles Too, Triumph Of Hope Over Reality
It appears that the Document agreed to in Geneva between the P5 +1 ( U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany) and Iran might well be two different documents. Each side has a different interpretation of the interim understanding reached on November 24.
From the remarks of the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Jarad Zarif on Iranian television, the Geneva document does not legally obligate Iran. The Iranians regard enrichment as their right, and judges that it will need little time to recover its production capabilities of 20-percent enriched uranium. There will be no legal obligations. “Today, we are only unscrewing two taps between a cascade and if we decide to enrich uranium to 20 percent, we will do it in a period of 24 hours.”
Secretary Kerry, on the other hand, says that the measures will address “the most urgent concerns about Iran’s nuclear program. It locks in the most critical components of a nuclear program into place and impedes progress in those critical components in a way that actually rolls back the stockpile of enriched uranium and widens the length of time possible for breakout. That makes people safer.” He adds that daily access to key facilities will enable us to determine with greater certainty than ever before that Iran is complying.
There you go. That should make you feel better. It could, of course, be worse. The media is reminding us that there is a giant caldera under Yellowstone Park that could explode any time and destroy the whole country.
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Intelligence, Iran, Israel, Middle East, National Security, Progressivism, Terrorism | Tags: John Kerry's Incompetence, The Geneva Accords, The Islamic Republic of Iran
So many of President Obama’s policies leave one puzzled. What can he possibly be thinking? Why would he do this? Why would he assume this to be a good idea? Particularly in the case of the interim agreement that the United States and its partners cut with Iran last week in Geneva which seems to be a centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy. The core objective of the past two decades — preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons — and threatening fundamental regional and global interests have been ignored. Nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, strengthening the forces of radicalism and terrorism in the region — what can he be thinking?
We have compared Obama to Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister who pursued a policy of appeasing Adolf Hitler, and agreed to the Nazi demand that Czechoslovakia should cede the Sudetenland to Nazi Germany to stave off a threatened invasion — without consulting the Czechs.
Obama does manifest some of Chamberlain’s trusting naïveté and insular self-righteousness. More important perhaps, like Chamberlain, Obama thinks his job is to accommodate domestic war-weariness and to keep us out of foreign conflicts. Also like Chamberlain, Obama in the Middle East has inclined toward appeasing Muslims at the expense of Jews in the Holy Land. And like Chamberlain, Obama will go down in history as a failed leader of the leading Western democracy, one whose policies will have to be reversed—one hopes this time at less cost—by his successor.
Churchill succeeded Chamberlain in 1940 and saved the West.
The Obama administration apparently believes that the supreme leader might forsake his historic quest for nuclear weapons begun under the Ayatollah Khomeini and carried forth under Khamenei and every Iranian president. The United States, “the epicenter of evil” has rallied the West against the Islamic Republic.
The idea seems to be that the supreme leader, and his Revolutionary Guards who control the nuclear program, terrorist operations and domestic riot-control aren’t sufficiently committed to developing a nuclear weapon that the persuasive voices of moderation from the Obama administration can seduce them from this dangerous path. Um, they seem to believe that the newly elected president Hassan Rouhani, and foreign minister Mohammad Zarif are forces for moderation. The evidence for this is a nice smile and a lot of fantasy. They believe that Rouhani must be a reformer — he has a PhD from a Scottish university. Ruel Marc Gerecht, who is an expert, spells out the evidence for fantasy. Do read the whole thing.
At the core of Washington’s debate about Iran’s nuclear program is a confluence of naïveté and fear of another war in the Middle East. The latter reinforces the former and bends the analysis of Iran’s internal politics. It makes America’s foreign policy elite, which has never been a particularly God-fearing crowd, even more blind to the role of religion in Iran’s politics. The president himself appears to believe passionately that an irenic American foreign policy insulates the United States from Muslim anger and terrorism.
No one in the Middle East believes that Obama would order a strike. The Washington foreign-policy establishment have conceded the bomb to Iran. They argue for “containment.” The only thing that matters is that we will not bomb Iran’s nuclear sites. Most on the Left do not envision any need for a militarily strong and aggressive America pushing back against Iranian adventurism. Containment is a synonym for patient, peaceful engagement and American withdrawal. Gerecht summarizes:
President Obama’s eagerness to avoid an unpleasant binary choice—surrender publicly to Tehran’s nuclear fait accompli or preempt militarily—will have led him to a situation where he confronts the same choice, but with Iran’s hand stronger and America’s weaker. Khamenei will have called Obama’s bluff—and will have billions more in his bank account. In all probability, the president has bought into a process of diminishing returns that he cannot abandon for fear of the cruel binary choice. For that matter, he may already have decided that the left-wing of the Democratic party is right.
Well, that’s what we get when the president can’t be bothered to attend his intelligence briefings. Does he worry at all about the new ICBMs being developed by North Korea and Iran?
Dan Bongino, former Secret Service member, now running for Congress in Maryland, has said that the White House staff were like kids with a shiny new toy. No one knew anything about government, and they treated the president like a cult figure — if he said it, it must be true. Nothing could be more dangerous than an ideologically-driven megalomaniac surrounded by obsequious yes-men in the White House.
Filed under: Foreign Policy, History, Iran, National Security, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: "The Deal of the Century", A Nuclear Pact With Iran, The Lessons of History
Secretary of State John Kerry returned from
Munich Geneva waving a document and proclaiming peace in our time “we have a deal.” The Obama administration regards the deal as a great accomplishment for the U.S., UK, France, China, Russia and Germany. Journalist Claudia Rosett describes the negotiations:
The world powers have been itching to hand Iran what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accurately described as “the deal of the century — the ticket to the nuclear arsenal the Tehran regime covets, and for which the infrastructure would be left in place.” So eager are some of these world powers to produce a signed piece of paper that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, for the second time in a month, decided to race to Geneva, ready to close the deal. Evidently it is no deterrent to the Obama administration that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei chose to punctuate rounds two and three of these nuclear talks by delivering a speech to Basij militiamen (who greeted him with chants of “Death to America”) in which he compared Israel to a “rabid dog,” said its officials “cannot be called human,” and added,” the Israeli regime is doomed to failure and annihilation.”
History is not a strong point of the Obama administration, but we have many examples of pacts with enemies, when the West is desperately hoping for peace, and anxious to avoid confrontation.
“Chamberlain returned from Munich to England. At Heston where he landed, he waved the joint declaration which he had got Hitler to sign, and read it to the crowd of notables and others who welcomed him. From the windows at Downing Street he waved his piece of paper again and used these words, “This is the second time there has come back from Germany to Downing Street peace with honour. I believe it is peace in our time.”*
At the Nuremberg Trials, Colonel Eger, representing Czechoslovakia, asked Marshal Keitel: “Would the Reich have attacked Czechoslovakia in 1938 if the Western Powers had stood by Prague?”
Marshal Keitel answered: “Certainly not. We were not strong enough militarily. The object of Munich was to get Russia out of Europe, to gain time, and to complete the German armaments.”*
Claudia Rosett adds:
Then there is the also-obvious. Talks like these are a great boon to rogue regimes — just ask North Korea (which has parlayed two decades of nuclear freeze deals into time and resources for three nuclear tests, and appears to be preparing its underground nuclear test site for a fourth detonation). Iran’s regime is a terror-sponsoring government under sanctions for its rogue nuclear weapons program, and in theory its rulers are being shunned and “isolated” — or so we’ve been told. … Negotiations such as these, especially if they lead to a deal, serve as credentials, painting a veneer of legitimacy on regimes that deserve none.
The media, given to hyperbole, has declared this an historic deal that freezes key parts of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for temporary relief on some economic sanctions. ($6 billion+)
The agreement, sealed at a 3 a.m. signing ceremony in Geneva’s Palace of Nations, requires Iran to halt or scale back parts of its nuclear infrastructure, the first such pause in more than a decade. Kerry said the goal of the talks was to “require Iran to prove the peaceful nature of its program and ensure that it cannot acquire a nuclear weapon.”
Iran keeps its enrichment program and reactor in Arak, and just halts work. There is no indication that their pursuit of a nuclear weapon is peaceful in intent. They have also announced plans for two more nuclear power plants. I think history has lessons for us, and we do well to pay attention.
*from The Gathering Storm by Winston Churchill.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Iran, Middle East, National Security, Politics, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: Negotiator Valerie Jarrett?, The Geneva Talks With Iran, Year Long Secret Deals
The Times of Israel reports that “the Geneva negotiations between the so-called P5+1 powers and Iran are a mere “facade,”because the terms of a deal on Iran’s nuclear program have been negotiated in talks between a top adviser to President Barack Obama and a leading Iranian nuclear official that have continued in secret for more than a year, Israeli television reported Sunday.”
The report, which relied on unnamed senior Israeli officials, said the US team to the secret talks was led by Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett. Her primary interlocutor, the report said, was the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi. The talks have been taking place in various Gulf states…
According to Channel 10, the secret channel marginalized Kerry, and was overseen by the president. The idea had been for Kerry merely to fly to Geneva, as he did last Friday, to sign a deal in which he had been a bit player. In the event, factors such as the French stance, and Israel’s very public objections, derailed this plan, and the talks broke up last Saturday without an agreement
White House spokesman Bernadette Meehan was quoted by Haaretz as saying that the report was “absolutely, 100 percent false.”
President Obama badly wants Iran to suspend parts of its nuclear program in return for easing international economic sanctions — which have been working quite successfully and have brought Iran to the negotiating table. Critics say that Iran could cheat far more easily than the rest of the world could reinstate tough sanctions.
Mr. Obama thinks that relaxing sanctions is reversible. Sanctions and arms agreements have a long history of failure. Democratic countries do not get what they bargained for, and then find themselves unable or unwilling to enforce the bargain.
According to Douglas Feith, a former undersecretary of defense for policy, the democracies are apt to hype the agreement to their voters as a proud diplomatic achievement. Their non-democratic opponents cheat, and Islamic countries are encouraged by the Koran to lie, cheat and dissemble. The mullahs have been in charge of Iran since the revolution in 1979, when the Shah fled into exile.
It is clear that Israel is deeply worried. Congress is not pleased with attempts at a bargain with Iran. The administration fights any new sanctions. And Russia will help Iran build a second nuclear power plant according to Tehran’s top nuclear official.
I fail to understand why the Obama administration would place any faith in any agreement with Iran, or why they would believe it to be a good deal. We should know better. Vast crowds screaming “Death to America” would seem to be a hint that perhaps the Iranian desire for nuclear weapons isn’t going to be easily abandoned. The Saudis are deeply concerned, and are working with Israel, which might be another gentle hint that something is amiss for Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry — and Ms. Jarrett as well.
Valerie Jarrett was born in Iran and still has connections there. She is a close adviser to the Obamas, but has no known record as a foreign policy negotiator. Michael Ledeen is better than most at grasping the obvious:
It’s not easy to make a deal with Iran (and even when you think you’ve made one, you might be wrong). The failure of the Geneva talks is just another in a long series of such failures. Even the public events are part of the well-established pattern: the secretary of state jumps on a plane and flies to meet with the Iranians. But when he gets there, he finds it’s not quite a done deal. And in the wee hours of the morning two days later, there’s no deal at all.
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Intelligence, Law, National Security, Terrorism | Tags: Jeremy Rabkin, Michael Mukasey, NSA Data Collection
Scott Johnson reported at Powerline on a panel on NSA data collection at the National Lawyers Convention. The panel consisted of moderator former Acting Attorney General George Terwilliger, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and George Mason University Law Professor Jeremy Rabkin.
If you had concerns about the activities of the NSA, about National Security, and what is meant by data collection or just wondered ‘what-the-heck’ in the wake of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, you will find this fascinating. What starts as a question about what is turns into a question of accountability. How do you make government accountable, and what is the responsibility of the executive to be accountable and make sure that his appointees are accountable. It is deeply interesting and worth your time.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Foreign Policy, History, Iran, Israel, Middle East, National Security, Politics, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: Can Obama Be Trusted?, Geneva "Peace" Talks, Secretary of State Kerry
It’s a theme I’ve run into many times in novels, the idea that there is a certain point at which many people stop in their growth and openness to new ideas. They do fine for years, but at some point they have received all accepted knowledge, and are no longer open to revision of their worldview. I sort of accepted that as a little weird, but I knew a few people who did seem stuck in the past. The adult who remains the cheerleader she was in college, the man who can’t quite relinquish his football hero days.
Barack Obama was swept up in radical politics at Columbia, if not before. He said in his book that he went to every socialist meeting he could find, and somewhere in there or in his community organizer days he acquired fixed ideas about the country and about the world. Richard Epstein notes that once Obama believes something, it is set in concrete. He does not change his mind.
The president has been certain that the central problem in the Middle East is the conflict between Israel and Palestine, and if that is solved, there will be peace. He has continually been trying to “restart” the “peace process,” without the slightest notion that as long as Palestinians teach their little children that killing Jews is their noblest goal, there is no hope of any peace process.
The foreign policy experts who study Iran are worried about Iranian progress on nuclear weapons, but Obama is sure that his charisma will allow his Secretary of State to make peace with the mullahs in Iran. The collapse of the so-called “Arab Spring” made no dent in his convictions, he has denied the resurgence of al Qaeda, refused to give up on the Muslim Brotherhood, and slashed aid to the Egyptians who threw Morsi out. The Saudis have lost all faith in help or assistance from the Americans in controlling Iran, and are looking for nuclear technology., and turning for help to the Russians.
Obama’s signature accomplishment is turning sour. As James Taranto said “The exposure of Obamacare as a massive consumer fraud —and of Obama as the Bernie Madoff of politics— is well underway.” Obama wants a major triumph, and he wants it badly. Ordinary things like 20,000 jobs on the Keystone XL pipeline don’t measure up. He needs something big to match the presidential ego.
The only world leader who seems to understand what is happening is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is warning that a pact easing sanctions “would be a mistake of historic proportions.” The deal being hatched in Geneva, and apparently we are already easing the sanctions, is precisely an effort to short-circuit Israel’s own options. History is not kind to appeasers. The New York Sun is not kind to Secretary of State Kerry’s history, character, and role in the current negotiations.
The Times of Israel reports that “the Obama administration plans to achieve a diplomatic breakthrough at the beginning of 2014. The Americans want to move from coordinating between the two sides to a phase of active intervention.”
According to Gal-on, whose left-wing Meretz party is in the opposition, the plan is based on the pre-1967 lines with agreed land swaps and will cover all of the core issues. …
The scheme is spread out over a gradual timetable, calls for the investment of billions of dollars in the Palestinian economy, and will include a suggestion for a broader regional peace treaty based on the Arab Peace Initiative. The initiative, first proposed by the Arab League in 2002, calls for a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians together with normalization of ties between Israel and the Arab world. Central to the initiative was the complete withdrawal of Israel to its pre-1967 lines and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.
The Obama Administration, eagerly seeking a deal on Iran’s nuclear program, is now signaling that it will ease the sanctions that finally forced Tehran to the negotiating table.
In fact, the White House has already chosen to lighten Iran’s sanctions burden by slowing the implementation of existing sanctions and delaying congressional legislation that would impose new sanctions. Eli Lake and Josh Rogin reported in today’s Daily Beast that the Administration began softening sanctions after the June election of Hassan Rouhani by slowing the pace of designating Iranian front companies, individuals, ships, and aircraft as sanctions violators.
The Administration has also lobbied Congress to postpone any new sanctions to avoid disrupting the current round of negotiations with Iran. But this is a gross misreading of the situation. The prospect of new sanctions would enhance American bargaining leverage with Iran and increase the chances that an acceptable agreement can be negotiated with the recalcitrant regime in Tehran.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is saying that only sanctions and the threat of the use of force on Israel’s part are the only things that brought Iran back to the negotiating table, it’s hard to understand why making it harder for Tehran to sell its oil and conduct business with those willing to risk the ire of the West would scare them away again. But many Democrats are not willing to ease sanctions.
Most of the articles suggest that this is Kerry’s initiative, but I suspect that Kerry has his marching orders from Obama, and knows what he has to try to bring back to his boss. Any assumption that Rouhani’s charm offensive is meaningful is based on wishful thinking of the West. The time is running short. Be very worried.
Here are some additional links:
— How Can We Possibly Trust Obama on Iran? PJ Media
— Iran Nuclear Deal Expected as Early As Friday Wall Street Journal
— More Pressure on Iran Can’t Wait Commentary
— Exclusive: Obama’s Secret Iran Détente The Daily Beast
— More Obama Problems: Kerry’s Peace Push Commentary
— Kerry meets Iran foreign minister to close gaps in nuclear talks Reuters