Thursday, August 06, 2015

From Ian:

3 Israelis hurt in vehicular terror attack in West Bank
Three Israeli soldiers were wounded when a terrorist plowed his car into them as they stood at a hitchhiking post in the northern West Bank on Thursday afternoon.
The attack took place at the Sinjil junction on Route 60, near the settlement of Shiloh and the Palestinian village of Sinjil, at around 3:10 p.m.
Two of the wounded were taken to Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem neighborhood, both in serious condition; the third — with light-moderate wounds — was taken to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva.
The terrorist was shot by IDF soldiers at the scene and trapped in his car when it subsequently flipped over. He was also said to be in serious condition and being treated by IDF troops at the scene, once security forces had established that his car was not booby-trapped.
Magen David Adom said the two victims in a serious condition were suffering from head and chest injuries, were sedated and being kept on respiration.
Alan Dershowitz: Dershowitz: Obama gets personal about the Iran deal
President Obama, in his desperation to save his Iran deal, has taken to attacking its opponents in personal ways. He has accused critics of his deal of being the same republican war mongers who drove us into the ground war against Iraq and has warned that they would offer “overheated” and often dishonest arguments. He has complained about the influence of lobbyists and money on the process of deciding this important issue, as if lobbying and money were not involved in other important matters before Congress.
These types of ad hominem arguments are becoming less and less convincing as more democratic members of Congress, more liberal supporters of the President, more nuclear experts and more foreign policy gurus are expressing deep concern, and sometimes strong opposition to the deal that is currently before Congress.
I, myself, am a liberal Democrat who twice voted for President Obama and who was opposed to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Part of the reason I was opposed was because I considered, and still consider, Iran a much greater threat to the security of the world and to the stability of the Middle East than Iraq ever was. In my newly published e-book The Case Against the Iran Deal: How Can We Now Stop Iran From Getting Nukes?, I make arguments that I believe are honest, fair and compelling. I recognize some advantages in the deal, but strongly believe that the disadvantages considerably outweigh them and that the risks of failure are considerable. My assessment is shared by a considerable number of other academics, policy experts and other liberal Democrats who support President Obama’s domestic policies, who admire Secretary Kerry for his determination, and who do not see evil intentions in the deal.
The President would be well advised to stop attacking his critics and to start answering their hard questions with specific and credible answers. Questions that need answering include the following:
Mr. President, you are no Jack Kennedy
In stark contrast with Kennedy's inspired address in 1963, the current president was belligerent and argumentative, attacking opponents of the Iran nuclear agreement both domestically and abroad. Instead of being presented with a new vision of the world order he hopes to achieve, his audience was treated to the same old tune. A tune designed to mock political rivals and terrify the American public with all sorts of apocalyptic scenarios that would unfold as a result of Congress thwarting the deal.
Indeed, at the heart of Obama's speech was the warning that the failure of the agreement would lead to war. The threat implicit in this warning was directed first and foremost at the Democrats in the Senate who are still on the fence about the deal and whose votes will ultimately decide the entire debate in September.
But then, after a long, detailed and exhausting overview of the reasons to support the deal, sounding more like an attorney's closing argument than a visionary president, the cat came out of the bag. Obama the politician called on the American public to exert pressure on their representatives in Congress, thereby stripping away any vestige of the official tone he was going for. By doing so he also pushed himself further and further away from Kennedy's memorable address.
Why Obama Is Wrong to Compare Himself to JFK
Speaking at American University today in defense of his nuclear deal with Iran, President Obama twice invoked President John F. Kennedy. To paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen, while we did not serve with Jack Kennedy, here are five reasons why President Obama is wrong to compare himself to Jack Kennedy:
4. During his speech, Obama said the world was “more dangerous” during the Cold War. True, the threat of mutually assured destruction (MAD) was a palpable fear. But however aggressive and even evil the Soviets might have been, they did not believe in martyrdom — they did not believe that sacrificing their lives for their revolution would bring great rewards in the afterlife. The fundamentalists of Iran — and their Arab proxies, such as Hezbollah — most emphatically do. As historian Bernard Lewis has pointed out, for religious extremists, mutually assured destruction is not a deterrent — it’s an inducement.
5. President Obama ended his remarks by citing President Kennedy’s “wisdom” and lauded Kennedy’s “warning” that we should see conflict as inevitable. But President Kennedy also said that there was “one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender or submission.” Iran’s rulers have caused thousands of Americans to be killed and maimed in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. They continue to openly proclaim their long-term goal: “Death to America.” They believe that the U.S. has indeed submitted. If Congress approves this agreement, that perception will not be without justification.
So much for following in the footsteps of JFK.



Nuclearizing Iran, Sabotaging Arabs
Obama's solution? To let Iran have legitimate nuclear bombs in a few years, along with intercontinental ballistic missiles to deliver them to the U.S. -- or perhaps from America's soft underbelly, South America, where Iran has been acquiring uranium and establishing bases for years. Or perhaps launched from submarines off America's coast, which would make the identity of the attacker unknowable and a response therefore impossible. Incredibly, America's politicians do not even seem to seem to be concerned about that.
We have just sacrificed Sunni stability for American ideology: empty slogans fed to us by clueless, if well-meaning, American officials.
As we watched one stable Arab regime fall after another, we have allowed ourselves to be destroyed from within by these bungling diplomats -- from America, Europe, China and Russia. Instead of keeping our eyes on the real threat, we exhausted ourselves in wasteful, unending battles against the Jews -- meanwhile letting the Iranian menace slip out of sight.
Obama really does deserve a Nobel Prize, but it should have been awarded by the Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, in gratitude for America's surrender.
Dem Senator: ‘We Didn’t End Iran’s Nuclear Program, We Actually Preserved It’
Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) said Thursday that the Iran nuclear agreement doesn’t end Iran’s nuclear program, but instead preserves it.
When MSNBC host José-Díaz Balart asked Menendez on where he stood on the Iran deal, Menendez said he had not decided but it looked unlikely that he would back President Obama.
“I’ve been to so many hearings, classified briefings, independent briefings and I have serious reservations,” Menendez said. “And I will be deciding. I’ll be going back to New Jersey, listening to constituents and then I will come to a conclusion.”
However, Menendez said he had serious reservations about the deal.
“Those serious reservations, I have tried to have them assuaged. And what I see is we didn’t end Iran’s nuclear program, we actually preserved it,” Menendez said. “And in time, they will have the option if they choose to ultimately move towards a nuclear weapon and our choices then will even be more limited than they are today.”
Menendez said unless he gets answers to his questions he is not sure how he can support the agreement.


After Meeting IAEA Chief, Senators From Both Parties “Fuming,” Have More Doubts over Nuke Deal
Senators from both parties left a closed-door meeting today with the UN’s nuclear agency today upset by the agency’s lack of clarity, raising more questions than they had going in, The Hill reported today.
Multiple Senate lawmakers emerged fuming from a nearly two-hour closed-door briefing with the globe’s top nuclear watchdog on Wednesday, frustrated by what they perceived as unnecessary stonewalling.
The Foreign Relations Committee briefing answered few questions about the secret “side deals” attached to the nuclear agreement with Iran, many said.
Instead, the meeting with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano left many Republicans feeling more frustrated than before.
McCain: It'll be Hard, but Not Impossible, to Override Veto
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said on Wednesday that even though there is no majority in Congress that can override a presidential veto on legislation against the Iran deal, it is clear that there is more opposition than support among lawmakers to removing the sanctions on Iran.
"We currently stand at a critical time, because of the agreement with Iran,” he told Arutz Sheva, adding, “I cannot put myself in the Israelis’ place, but I totally agree with Prime Minister Netanyahu that there is an existential threat to Israel."
"Currently there are not enough votes to override the veto, but the dynamic is not in favor of the administration at all," added McCain.
Addressing the issue of compensation and Netanyahu’s insistence not to talk to the Americans about security-related compensation following the deal with Iran, McCain said the idea makes him uncomfortable. "Any weapons offered in one form or another cannot reassure Israel's real concern over this agreement," he noted.
Former Israeli National Security Advisor: World Faces “Dangerous” Consequences of Iran Deal
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is a “bad agreement” that will leave Israel and the rest of the world dealing with its “dangerous” consequences, Israel’s former national security advisor, Gen. Yaacov Amidror, wrote in an analysis published Wednesday by the Begin and Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.
The agreement with Iran reached by the Western powers represents, ostensibly, a great achievement. If the Iranians abide by its terms, their ability to achieve nuclear weapons status will be set back by around fifteen years (although it could be claimed that part of the agreement is valid for only ten years). Furthermore, the strict inspection arrangements are meant to ensure that even if Iran does not observe the agreement, IAEA inspectors will be able to spot any violations, and there will be plenty of time (a year) to formulate a response.
However, this would be to ignore the central problem that arises from the agreement and from a series of inherent weaknesses in the accord. It is clear that the agreement was signed in order to delay the Iranian nuclear bomb program, not to end it. And thus, when the program rears its head again it will be a problem several times more serious and far harder to deal with. …
The main problem is with the substantial outcome of the agreement, which was well described by Iranian President Rouhani, as follows: Iran gets to keep its (military!) nuclear program, while sanctions against Iran are lifted. For the Iranians it was important, above all else, to gain international legitimacy for their nuclear program, and in this they have been successful.
US must seize chance to ‘win trust’ of Iranians – Zarif
Zarif said US intervention in the region had proved harmful.
“The previous US governments have wasted great opportunities by their false beliefs,” he said.
The use of “threats of coercion as a foreign policy” would “result in nothing but a waste of American resources and [damage to its] reputation,” he added.
“It’s high time that this dangerous and harmful behavior, which belongs to past centuries, be put away.”
Iran and the United States, along with Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, recently struck a deal meant to ensure Iran’s nuclear programme could not produce a bomb.
The deal, that rewards Iran with a lifting of crippling sanctions, must be reviewed and approved by lawmakers in the US and Iran before it can be implemented.
Iran busy cleaning up suspect nuclear site, US intelligence believes
Classified satellite images obtained by US government sources show that Iran has dispatched bulldozers and heavy machinery to its Parchin nuclear complex, strongly suggesting it is cleaning up the site prior to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency this fall.
The evidence, which was obtained in July, was presented to US lawmakers last week, and on Monday the Office of the Director of National Intelligence met with politicians to explain its significance, Bloomberg News reported Wednesday.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr said the evidence posed challenges to upcoming IAEA inspections of the Parchin military complex, a site suspected of being used for experiments related to weaponization of Iran’s nuclear technology.
Details of inspections of the site were reportedly specified in an IAEA-Iran agreement to which the US was not privy, but the head of Iran’s atomic agency denied the existence of such an agreement last month.
US government officials were split on the significance of the evidence, according to the Bloomberg report; some saw it as a possible breach of the nuclear deal reached last month, while others said it would not interfere with inspections. (h/t Yenta Press)
State Department Unaware of Reports Iran is Sanitizing Nuclear Sites
State Department spokesperson Mark Toner said he was unaware of reports that claim Iran is sanitizing a suspected nuclear site on Wednesday.
Bloomberg reported that Congress has received evidence from the intelligence community that Iran is sanitizing a suspected nuclear military site at Parchin.
Toner was asked if the State Department has seen the report.
“The U.S. intelligence community has informed Congress of evidence that Iran was sanitizing its suspected nuclear military site at Parchin in broad daylight days after agreeing to the nuclear deal with world powers,” the reporter said. “The new evidence, which is classified, satellite imagery picked up by U.S. government assets in mid and late July showed that Iran had moved bulldozers and other heavy machinery.”
“I’ve not seen those reports until you just spoke to them,” Toner said. “But, you know, we’ve been very clear that the joint agreement that we plan that you can’t hide nuclear activity. There are traces that remain.”
WH Official: US Won't Respond If Iran Commits 'Small Breach' Of Nuclear Deal
An executive branch official told a Senate panel on Wednesday that the United States would not respond to a “small breach” of the Iranian nuclear agreement, should Tehran decide to forgo its commitment to the accord.
During the hearing, Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) asked Treasury Department official Adam Szubin, who serves as its acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, what it would take for the U.S. to intervene in Iran’s nuclear program, should the regime be caught cheating on the agreement. Crapo asked if the Obama administration would cancel the agreement for anything other than a “very serious violation,” such as if Iran decided it would attempt to build a nuclear weapon, to which Szubin responded in the affirmative.
“So we would have to get to that level of proof of a violation (Iran openly building a nuclear weapon) before we can see an effective re-implementation of sanctions?” Crapo asked.
“No. I think, what I’m saying is that we’ll obviously want to respond in a proportional way,” Szubin responded.
“Its not in our strategic interest to respond to a small breach with scrapping the agreement and trying to put all of the sanctions back into place. I don’t think that would have the success that we had over the last few years, and I don’t think it would be in our interest to see this agreement scrapped,” he added.
Iran Deal: As Obama Speaks, DOD Confirms Iran Targeted U.S. Helicopter
A Defense Department official confirmed Wednesday reports that an Iranian warship aimed a machine gun at a coalition warship in the Gulf of Aden, and a U.S. helicopter that had just landed on its deck.
The confirmation came as President Barack Obama prepared to deliver a speech on the Iran deal.
The incident occurred two weeks ago, and is described as lasting about a minute. The DoD official would not specify the exact nationality of the ship the American helicopter landed on.
As described by CNN, the Iranian vessel was only a few hundred yards away from the coalition warship when that ship’s crew, and the crew of the U.S. military helicopter, noticed a weapon tentatively identified as an “on-deck machine gun” was trained on them. It was then observed that a cameraman was standing behind the Iranian gunner. The U.S. helicopter later departed on schedule.
Israel: Obama is sincere, but he is wrong on Iran deal
Israeli government officials in Jerusalem listened closely to U.S. President Barack Obama's defense of the Iran nuclear deal in a speech delivered at American University in Washington on Wednesday. Afterward, the officials rejected Obama's claim that the deal would prevent a new war in the Middle East.
"Israel does not doubt President Obama's sincerity, but it disagrees with his position," a senior Israeli diplomatic official said. "The deal does not prevent war, rather it makes one more likely since it gives Iran international legitimacy to build the infrastructure for the production of an arsenal of nuclear bombs and provides Iran with billions of dollars in funding for its aggressive terrorist machine. Iran's current economic distress has limited its destructive capabilities, but the removal of sanctions will bolster those capabilities to a level that will endanger Israel, the region and the entire world. The deal leaves Iran with nuclear infrastructure not necessary for peaceful purposes, but required for a military nuclear program."
In his speech, Obama commented on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's firm opposition to the deal. "I do not doubt his sincerity, but I believe he is wrong. I believe the facts support this deal. I believe they are in America's interests and Israel's interests, and as president of the United States it would be an abrogation of my constitutional duty to act against my best judgment simply because it causes temporary friction with a dear friend and ally."
MSNBC Calls Out Earnest to His Face When He Denies Obama Compared GOP to Iran Hardliners
Earnest defended the President’s remarks.
“I think what he did is make the point they are making the same argument that it’s hard-liners in Iran suggesting they should kill the deal and its Republicans here in Washington, D.C., suggesting the deal be killed,” Earnest said. “There’s no doubt they’re making the same argument.”
Jansing said that Obama also added that Iran hard-liners chant “death to America” when he made the comparison to Republicans.
“He said these are folks who are chanting death to America. He added that little phrase in there,” Jansing said.
Earnest said that comment was at a different part of the speech, but Jansing said that was incorrect and called out Earnest on it.
“No, it wasn’t. I’ll read you the quote,” Jansing said. “’If those hard-liners chanting death to America who have been most opposed to the deal they’re making common cause with the Republican caucus.’ It was all one sentence.”


Morning Joe Panel Blasts Obama’s ‘False Choice’ Iran Deal Speech: ‘Small Ball’ That Treated Opponents Like They’re ‘Stupid’
Panelists on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Thursday ripped the tone and content of President Obama’s Wednesday speech trumpeting the Iran nuclear agreement, calling it overly political “small ball” that condescended to foes and presented “false choices.”
Obama’s address repeatedly warned that the alternative to the deal struck last month was eventual war, a claim that has been refuted by the nation’s top military officials.
National Journal‘s Ron Fournier, who described himself as generally supportive of Obama’s push for a nuclear agreement, blasted Obama for treating foes of the agreement like they were “stupid.”
“It’s such a reflection of where we are in politics,” he said. “Stoking fear, dividing people, false choices, instead of trying to bring people along. If anything, I lean toward the president on this issue. I have all along. But when I hear him say if you don’t agree with me right now you’re stupid and you’re a warmonger … This a tough issue. It’s not black-and-white. He’s pretending it’s black-and-white.”
Several panelists took particular exception to Obama’s quip that Iranian hard-liners who opposed the nuclear deal had “common cause with the Republican caucus.”
Obama’s unmistakable message to Israel: You stand alone
While he said he “deeply shares” the American people’s “sincere affinity” for Israel and remains committed to maintaining its “Qualitative Military Edge,” when it comes to your government’s ferocious but “wrong” opposition to the nuclear deal with Iran, he made clear, you are on your own.
“Because this is such a strong deal, every nation in the world that has commented publicly, with the exception of the Israeli government, has expressed support,” Obama said. “The United Nations Security Council has unanimously supported it. The majority of arms control and nonproliferation experts support it. Over 100 former ambassadors who served under Republican and Democratic presidents support it.”
This was a biting barb aimed at highlighting Israel’s isolation. Though aired via discreet diplomatic channels, the Arab Gulf States’ apprehension over the nuclear deal is the Middle East’s worst-kept secret. Obama is worried that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s incessant attacks on the deal have started making inroads among the American public and — more importantly — among US legislators who can still kill the deal. Therefore he unsubtly asserted that with its vocal opposition, Israel stands against the rest of the world.
It wasn’t Obama’s only jab at Israel and its leader. He mercilessly mocked opponents of the deal and what he characterized as simplistic but fallacious slogans. “Now, the final criticism, this is sort of catchall that you may hear, is the notion that there is a better deal to be had. That is repeated over and over again,” he said. He then slightly altered his voice, almost imitating Netanyahu, and intoned the Israeli leader’s mantra, “It’s a bad deal — we need a better deal.” The audience at American University erupted into laughter.
Obama Puts Fear Before Facts on Iran
President Barack Obama took to the airwaves today, aiming to sell Congress and the American people on the wisdom of his nuclear deal with Iran. He had a case to make but chose not to make it. He decided instead to cast legitimate criticism of his pact as ignorant warmongering.
A few examples:
"We have achieved a detailed arrangement that permanently prohibits Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon." Actually, the deal's restrictions end abruptly after 15 years, with some of the constraints on uranium enrichment fading away after just 10. Late in the speech, Obama made the case that much can change in a decade and that the West could be in a stronger position then to continue to block Iran's nuclear desires. But the temporary nature of the deal remained disguised.
"Many of the same people who argued for the war in Iraq are now making the case against the Iran nuclear deal." Certainly the Iraq war was sold on spurious grounds and had tragic results. Certainly Republicans and Democrats alike were far too credulous in accepting the Bush administration's rationale. But these facts have absolutely nothing to do with this agreement.
"Before the ink was even dry on this deal, before Congress even read it, a majority of Republicans declared their virulent opposition." That's true, but ignores that opponents had plenty of time to study the draft agreement reached last spring. The real problem is that Congress still hasn't read the entire accord, its side agreements and the inspections plan negotiated by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Even Secretary of State John Kerry says there are aspects of the deal he has never seen.
Obama’s Heavy Handed and Misleading Iran Deal Advocacy Isn’t Working
How then to explain the administration’s decision to discard the enormous political and economic leverage it had over Iran in 2013 and begin making the series of far reaching concessions that led to the agreement? The answer comes from Kerry who not only dismisses Iran’s ideological obsession with destroying Israel as not serious but also thinks the fact that it will continue to fund Hezbollah and Hamas (something that the $100 billion in unfrozen assets it is getting in the deal as well as the profits from the business boom that will follow the pact’s ratification as American and European companies flock to Tehran to make nice with the ayatollahs) as no big deal.
Though in his speech today at the American University in Washington, D.C., he represented his Iran diplomacy as merely another version of the tough tactics that won the Cold War against the Soviet Union; that is utterly untrue. Ronald Reagan didn’t win the Cold War by appeasing Communism but by confronting it and convincing Moscow it could never overcome the West. What Obama has done is a repeat of the failed détente tactics pursued by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger. They based their policy on the notion that the Soviet Union would never fall and must be accommodated. Obama and Kerry feel that way about Iran but then compound the mistake. They actually think it doesn’t mean what it says about seeking Israel’s destruction and regional hegemony and that it is can be transformed into a partner for the United States.
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s prediction that instead of a rejection of the deal bringing on war, its adoption will make conflict more certain seems a more sensible evaluation of the situation. Iran has given us many proofs of its seriousness about backing terror and its evil intentions toward Israel. But for Obama’s Iran deal advocacy, the main foe seems to be a pro-Israel community that isn’t prepared to bow to liberal partisanship and affirm that a naked emperor is wearing clothes. Though the odds remain in the president’s favor, as the announcements from AJC and various Democrats coming out against the deal show, muscling American Jews and even members of his own party isn’t working as well as he might like.
What Obama Misses in His Iran Deal Analogies
President Obama today seeks to cast the Iran deal as the most momentous foreign policy decision since the vote to authorize the 2003 Iraq war or Cold War efforts at diplomacy with the Soviet Union. He argued that those who advocated for military action to unseat Saddam Hussein cannot be trusted in their opposition to the Iran deal. The problem with this, of course, is first that Vice President Joe Biden and his Secretary of State John Kerry also argued for the Iraq war before momentum shifted, at which point they believed it political expedient to change their minds. The alternative they did not choose was, of course, to dedicate themselves to once again seizing momentum and then winning. The second problem with Obama’s logic is that he conflates the initial goals with the State Department-led emphasis on nation building that came after.
But put aside Obama’s twisted logic. The analogy Obama seeks to make is telling, because it exposes his major blind spot. Take the Cold War conflict with the Soviet Union: The root of the conflict, both for Democrats and Republicans and, for that matter, among labor unionists and manufacturers, was a defense of liberty. Americans enjoyed freedom and sought to defend it; the Soviet Union sought a more totalitarian answer. That is not hyperbole, as any Soviet refugee can attest. While numerous presidents pursued arms control with their Soviet counterparts, most also understood what the fight was about. They sponsored media outreach into the Soviet Union and spoke about human rights. That’s what, in part, the Helsinki Accords were about. That’s what was at the heart of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment was about, and that’s why Ronald Reagan called upon Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall.
Historians can and do still debate the motivations behind Operation Iraqi Freedom. Certainly, there were many: There was a real fear after 9/11 that the United States could not risk weapons of mass destruction (WMD) falling into the hands of terror sponsors. Intelligence with regard to the extent of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s WMD program was faulty, but policymakers did not know that at the time. Among neoconservatives, especially, but also more broadly within the State Department as well, there was also an argument that if conflict was going to occur, no longer should one dictator or general replace another; that there should be a concerted effort to install democracy. Some diplomats and analysts considered that naïve, but it is impossible to level criticism about democratization without also recognizing the concurrent debate about transformative diplomacy that occurred during the first term of the George W. Bush administration. Likewise, proponents of the Iraq war also sought to right historical wrongs with regard to the suffering of the Kurds and the Shi‘ites under Saddam Hussein. Obama can continuously re-litigate the Iraq war, but to deny that human rights concerns impacted the debate is to deny reality.
Centrist American Jewish Committee Rejects the Iran Deal
The American Jewish Committee is one of the oldest and most centrist of American Jewish communal organizations.
It is a slow-moving, deliberative organization and it took its time coming to a decision on what virtually everyone discussing the nuclear deal with Iran has described as critically important, or, in the AJC’s words: “one of the most consequential policy issues in a generation.”
The AJC’s long-time executive director David Harris issued a statement expressing the organizations opposition to the deal on Wednesday, Aug. 5.
Harris, who has been at the helm of the AJC for 25 years, articulated the many steps taken by the AJC to come to its decision, and listed numbers of the people with whom its leadership met during its deliberations.
But after weighing the pros and the cons – all of which are familiar to those who are following the matter – at the conclusion of its deliberation, “AJC’s leadership concluded overwhelmingly that we must oppose this deal.”
Canada Refuses to Endorse Iran Deal, Chooses Principle Over Profit
With the recent rapprochement between the P5+1 powers and Iran, it seems as though Western nations will stand to profit greatly from lifting the crippling economic sanctions leveled against the Islamic Republic. According to The Economist, the lobbies of Tehran’s more expensive hotels are “alive with Westerners jostling for deals” with the arrival of numerous trade delegations. The first of which was led by German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, who took a group of executives to Tehran on July 18th.
This nuclear deal comes as much-welcomed relief for Iran, since roughly $150 billion in Iranian currency will be unfrozen. But what really sweetens it for Iran is that inspections of their nuclear facilities will be made much more difficult and their capacity to build a nuclear bomb will remain unchallenged. As noted by Caroline Glick of The Jerusalem Post, the U.S. and its negotiating partners will now be required to protect Iran’s nuclear assets as well as teach Iran how to develop and use more advanced centrifuges.
Canada, under Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s governance, can be counted on as at least one Western country that stands unconditionally with Israel. While this move by Western countries, under the leadership of President Obama, puts Israel in an increasingly isolated and dangerous position, this makes Canada the only Western country to stand with Israel in recognizing the threat of a nuclear Iran.
The Judean People's Front: Why We Still Oppose the Iran Deal
As the vote on the Iran Deal in Congress grows nearer, the administration and its allies are pulling out all stops to ensure its opponents can't muster the two thirds majority it needs to block a presidential veto. They're busy trotting out all the big names and having J Street spin the facts to make it seem as though the deal is air tight. The JPF would like nothing better than for this deal to succeed and stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, however as of yet we remain unconvinced and unimpressed. Here's why:
First, both President Obama and John Kerry had, up until the very last few weeks of negotiations, insisted that Iran would have to answer the IAEA's questions about the Possible Military Dimensions (PMDs) of its nuclear program. In an interview in April, just three short months before the deal was signed, Kerry was adamant Iran would have to answer the questions before a deal was reached:
After years of saying answers about the PMDs "has to be" part of the agreement, Kerry and the Western negotiating team collapsed when it became clear Iran wouldn't say yes. Instead of insisting Iran answer the IAEA's questions before the deal is signed, it would merely have to agree to "parameters" to address them... "eventually." This is a major problem that has not been explained away by the administration or its apologists in anyway close to an adequate manner.
The entire deal with Iran is predicated on its ability to keep Iran at least one year away from developing a bomb, however, without understanding all of the progress Iran has already made toward building a bomb, there is no way to know how much longer it will take! This isn't a matter of ideology, it is a simple matter of logic.
Iran Warns of ‘Third World War’
A senior Iranian official on Wednesday warned of an impending “third world war” that will be sparked by terrorists, according to regional reports.
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the chairman of Iran’s powerful Expediency Council, warned in comments that the “outbreak of World War III” is coming in the near future, according to a report by Iran’s Fars News Agency.
“The threat of the outbreak of the third world war by the terrorists is serious,” Rafsanjani was quoted as saying in a meeting with Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni, who was in Tehran this week for a meeting with Iranian officials.
Rafsanjani blamed the United States and NATO for fostering the conditions that will lead to World War III.
Arab States Are Conning Obama on Iran Deal
The Arab states have opposed the Iran deal from a very early stage, seeing Iran’s regional ambitions as a direct threat. As negotiations went on, Saudi Arabia and other states were vocal and demonstrative in their protests, and warned that they, too, might seek nuclear weapons.
Then, suddenly, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that the Saudis had accepted the deal, with reservations. That is the basis for President Barack Obama’s inflammatory charge in his speech Wednesday that Israel is the only country in the region to reject the deal.
But have the Arab states really accepted the deal? It is certainly possible, given generous offers of American weaponry to smooth things over. And despite the fact that the Sunni states have developed a tacit alliance with Israel against Iran, they are still probably gratified to see Israel isolated on the world stage, abandoned by a president who repeatedly boasted he had “Israel’s back.”
However, even if the Iran deal were as great as Obama claims it is–and it is terrible–nothing about the Arab states’ fundamental interests has changed. Iran is still a deadly enemy.
Washington Institute: Send Israel Massive Ordnance Penetrators to Deter Iran
Nothing short of providing Israel with the Massive Ordnance Penetrator — the world’s most powerful “bunker buster” bomb — and the aircraft to deliver it will guarantee effective deterrence to keep Iran from skirting the nuclear deal to produce weapons of mass destruction, a group of influential Middle East security experts and former officials wrote in a review of the nuclear accords released on Tuesday.
It is important, on top of a credible U.S. military threat against Iran should the country try to maneuver its way to possession of nuclear weapons, that Israel maintain its own effective deterrence capacity, said the authors, which included longtime White House Middle East adviser, Dennis Ross, the director of Military and Security Studies at The Washington Institute, Michael Eisenstadt and former ambassador to Iraq and security adviser to president George W. Bush, James Jeffrey.
The MOP has long been seen as the military Plan B to dealing with Iran and its troubling nuclear program. It can penetrate fortified bunkers deep underground, burrowing up to 200 feet before unleashing 30,000 pounds of explosives deep inside its target. It carries the world’s largest nonnuclear payload.
Israel lacks both the MOPs and the bombers capable of delivering them; those capabilities belong squarely to the U.S.
EXCLUSIVE: First Translation of Khameini’s New Book on the Destruction of America, Israel
NOTE: What follows is the first significant translation of the newly-released book, ‘Palestine’ by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khameini. As Jonathan Tobin writes at Commentary:
The Khamenei Palestine book is important not in and of itself but because the regime’s obsession with Israel is a key to its foreign policy. Iran constitutes a grave threat to Neighboring Arab countries that are at least as angry about the president’s embrace of Tehran as the Israelis since their nuclear status would undermine their security. But as much as Iran is focused on regional hegemony in which Sunni states would be brought to heel, as Khamenei’s Palestine illustrates, it is the fixation on Israel and Zionism that really animates their expansionism and aid for terror groups.
As Taheri notes in his article on the book, Khamenei distinguishes his idée fixe about destroying Israel from European anti-Semitism. Rather, he insists, that his policy derives from “well established Islamic principles.” Chief among them is the idea that any land that was once ruled by Muslims cannot be conceded to non-believers no matter who lives there now. While the Muslim world seems to understand that they’re not getting Spain back, the territory that constitutes the state of Israel is something else. Its central location in the middle of the Muslim and Arab worlds and the fact that Jews, a despised minority people, now rule it makes its existence particularly objectionable to Islamists like Khamenei.
UN Rights Chief Slams Iran For Sentencing Alternative Health Practitioner To Death
Zeid Raad al-Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights, criticized Iran for sentencing Mohammed Ali Taheri, the founder of alternative medicine movements in Iran, to death for the crime of “corruption on earth.”Al-Hussein made his comments in a press release issued today.
“Iran’s use of the death penalty has long been problematic, with many executions on drug offences, several executions of people who were below the age of 18 when the crime was committed, as well as other cases where broad, ill-defined charges led to the imposition of capital punishment,” Zeid said.
“Taheri’s multiple convictions on a variety of vague charges, his alleged detention in solitary confinement and now his sentencing to death bring into stark focus serious issues with the administration of justice and the terribly worrying use of the death penalty in Iran.”
The High Commissioner stressed that under international law, and in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which Iran has ratified, in countries which have not abolished the death penalty, it may only be used for “the most serious crimes” which has been interpreted to mean only crimes involving intentional killing. Even then, the case has to meet stringent fair trial standards.
MEMRI: Military Training of Students, Teachers at the Iraqi University at the Hand of Shiite PMU Militia
The Shiite Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi) has launched a military training course for students and teachers at the Iraqi University in Baghdad. According to a large poster placed at the university, the course is conducted in compliance with the recommendation of the Aytollah's Sistani and the instructions of the minister.


Report: China to Sell Iran Planes That May Contain Israeli Tech
Reports Thursday said that China had agreed to sell Iran advanced J-10 war planes – planes that many analysts believe contain Israeli-designed components. International news agencies said that the deal was worth some $40 million.
The deal was first reported by the Debka File web site last week. While the deal has not been independently confirmed by any of the governments, a Chinese newspaper said Thursday that a deal to sell Iran 20 J-10 planes had been struck. In return, Iran will provide not cash, but crude oil, which will be released over the next 20 years.
The Debka File report had put the number of planes to be sold at 150. The Chinese report was widely circulated in Israeli media Thursday.
According to analysts, the Chengdu J-10 combat plane, which China introduced in 2005, “bears strong resemblance” to Israel's Lavi. The Lavi was an Israeli-originated fighter plane developed in the 1980s that was eventually shelved, with the Israel Air Force canceling its contract with Israel Aerospace Industries and instead buying American-made F-15 planes.
The main reasons for the government's decision not to continue funding development of the Lavi were said to be high financing costs, as well as fierce opposition from the U.S., which was said to be concerned that the Lavi, which had advanced equipment and capabilities, would prove to be strong competition for American fighter planes on the world weapons market.
Zarif: 'Karine A Was an Israeli False Flag' (not satire)
According to Iranian-based media, Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif appeared on a panel today at Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations where he spoke about the nuclear agreement he negotiated with the P5+1 last month in Vienna. Zarif explained that the so-called snap-back sanctions mechanism was less effective than the Obama administration claims. “Our snap-back is easier than theirs,” is how one Iranian journalist tweeted Zarif’s talk, “because we can resume our work with nuts and bolts, but they should convince countries to resume sanctions.” Also, said Zarif, “doing business with foreigners is a guarantee to make them unable to use snap-back mechanism.”
Zarif says he’s confident that Iran won’t violate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, but notes that “we should take care of plots like Karine A.” Here Zarif is referring to the 2002 incident when Israel stopped a ship, the Karine A, loaded with Iranian weapons destined for Yasser Arafat. Apparently, the man with whom John Kerry just negotiated a nuclear deal believes that the Karine A was a set-up to make the Iranians look bad. Israel did it. It gets Zarif so angry that he mentioned it at least twice. “I’ll never forget how the Israelis brought us to the Axis of Evil by Karine A false-flag scenario,” said Zarif. “Now they are working to derail the Iran deal.” Zarif is warning that maybe Israel will try to frame Iran again—maybe by building a secret nuclear facility under an Iranian mountain, or something equally devious.
The point is that the Obama White House has tied American interests to a regime led by paranoid, anti-Semitic obscurantists. Of course Iran will never come clean about the possible military dimensions of the nuclear program. Zarif won’t even admit that Iran was responsible for the Karine A.
The Onion launches VICE parody with Israel-Palestine vid
The Onion has selected a new target for mockery: the documentary journalism of boundary-pusher VICE News. The satirical media company’s first installment of its new “EDGE” web series deals with the Palestinian territories.
“Beyond The Brink: How The Israeli Occupation Has Made It Impossible For Palestinians To Score Drugs” opens with an exaggerated take on VICE’s uber-dramatic intros, with splashy captions promising “Sick Ass Sh–” and “Really Poor Countries.”
A lookalike of VICE co-founder Shane Smith offers the introductory lines of the less-than-four-minute clip posted Tuesday.
Then, in a parody of VICE’s gonzo-style journalism, faux correspondent Nic Moss speaks to the camera from the West Bank, decrying how the Israeli occupation’s system of checkpoints and curfews has cut off the Palestinian people from any access to hard drugs.
Preoccupied Territory: Mideast Heat Wave The Result Of Secret Israeli Nuclear Strikes On Iran (satire)
The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the subject, noted that no surveillance data confirms that aircraft or missiles were launched toward Iran from Israel, a fact that reinforces the suspicion that Israeli stealth technology was involved in penetrating Iran’s airspace and avoiding detection by air defense forces over the countries in between. Israel is not known to possess stealth aircraft of the range that can hit Iran, leading experts to suspect that instead, Jericho cruise missiles have been equipped with the technology, which allowed them to penetrate Iranian airspace and deliver their nuclear payloads.
Satellite imagery – currently heavily redacted before reaching the public to conceal the photographic indications of nuclear blasts and their aftermath – show a pattern consistent with what followed nuclear tests in the Nevada desert and the South Pacific: a sudden onset of oppressive heat waves, followed after several days by unseasonable precipitation. “We would not expect it to occur on such a large scale but for the fact that a number of sites have been hit simultaneously across Iran, compounding the effect,” said the Saudi source.
Explanations differ as to why Iran has not seized on the explosions – which took the lives of at least 450 people – and reacted to them publicly. “They must be trying to hide something even bigger before they showcase the damage,” suggested the Saudi source.
The Turkish intelligence official, however, suggested that Iran is in fact intimidated by the strikes, and will do what it can to avoid giving Israel further pretexts. “If Israel has been willing to run these operations even at a time of maximum tension with the Obama administration, Iran must have assessed that making noise about these attacks will not have the desired effect,” he said. Both experts agreed, however, that Iran is likely to intensify its support and encouragement of Hezbollah, possibly even to the point of another war.
In keeping with their practice, Israeli officials have offered no comment on the suspicions. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, however, told the nation in a televised address last night that they should take advantage of the summer weather “as if there’s no tomorrow.”


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