Friday, August 07, 2015

From Ian:

Sen Chuck Schumer: Why I will vote against Iran deal
Admittedly, no one can tell with certainty which way Iran will go. It is true that Iran has a large number of people who want their government to decrease its isolation from the world and focus on economic advancement at home. But it is also true that this desire has been evident in Iran for thirty-five years, yet the Iranian leaders have held a tight and undiminished grip on Iran, successfully maintaining their brutal, theocratic dictatorship with little threat. Who’s to say this dictatorship will not prevail for another ten, twenty, or thirty years?
To me, the very real risk that Iran will not moderate and will, instead, use the agreement to pursue its nefarious goals is too great.
Therefore, I will vote to disapprove the agreement, not because I believe war is a viable or desirable option, nor to challenge the path of diplomacy. It is because I believe Iran will not change, and under this agreement it will be able to achieve its dual goals of eliminating sanctions while ultimately retaining its nuclear and non-nuclear power. Better to keep U.S. sanctions in place, strengthen them, enforce secondary sanctions on other nations, and pursue the hard-trodden path of diplomacy once more, difficult as it may be.
For all of these reasons, I believe the vote to disapprove is the right one.
Caroline Glick: Obama’s enemies list
In President Barack Obama’s defense of his nuclear deal with Iran Wednesday, he said there are only two types of people who will oppose his deal – Republican partisans and Israel- firsters – that is, traitors.
At American University, Obama castigated Republican lawmakers as the moral equivalent of Iranian jihadists saying, “Those [Iranian] hard-liners chanting ‘Death to America’ who have been most opposed to the deal... are making common cause with the Republican Caucus.”
He then turned his attention to Israel.
Obama explained that whether or not you believe the deal endangers Israel boils down to whom you trust more – him or Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And, he explained, he can be trusted to protect Israel better than Netanyahu can because “[I] have been a stalwart friend of Israel throughout my career.”
The truth is that it shouldn’t much matter to US lawmakers whether Obama or Netanyahu has it right about Israel. Israel isn’t a party to the deal and isn’t bound by it. If Israel decides it needs to act on its own, it will.
The US, on the other side, will be bound by the deal if Congress fails to kill it next month.
Melanie Phillips: The West’s deadly culture of unreason
The most frightening aspect of this anti-Israel ideology is the way it takes over the mind so that those in its grip are intrinsically unable to recognize their own irrationality.
Accordingly, the BBC really does think that its anti-Israel position and wider knee-jerk leftism represent the political center-ground. So those who actually occupy the center-ground and who uphold truth against lies are dismissed as extreme or “rightwing” – and so cannot ever have truth on their side.
Since this mind-bending left-wing prism is the default position amongst the intelligentsia in Britain and the Democratic Party in the US, Israel and its supporters are in the nightmarish situation of being the only people telling the truth about what is happening – and yet being disbelieved or smeared simply because it is they who are saying it.
In the US, Israel is engaged in a desperate struggle to alert American legislators to the awful truth that their president has empowered the world’s principal terror regime and is making a nuclear war much more likely.
In Britain, it finds itself up against a general culture of unreason. Much nevertheless can still be done if Israel develops a coherent strategy to combat this culture. But to do that, it has to be prepared to delegitimize the delegitimizers and hold their feet publicly to the fire – even when they are ostensible allies.
And that will take a shift of perception that Israel has not yet quite made.
Rocket fired at Israel lands in south; no injuries reported
A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel Friday afternoon landed in open territory north of the Kissufim crossing with the Palestinian enclave in southern Israel.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage. IDF forces were scanning the area to locate the precise impact site.
Two more rockets were also launched in the volley, landing on the Gazan side, according to Hebrew media reports.
“A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit southern Israel,” a statement from the Israeli army said. “No injuries reported.”
On Thursday night, two rockets were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip falling short of the border and landing in the Palestinian enclave.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility from Gaza for either of the volleys.



Jewish Democrats Schumer and Engel will oppose Iran deal
Meanwhile, Rep. Eliot Engel, the most senior Democrat on the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, announced on Thursday he would oppose the accord.

“The answers I’ve received simply don’t convince me that this deal will keep a nuclear weapon out of Iran’s hands, and may in fact strengthen Iran’s position as a destabilizing and destructive influence across the Middle East,” Engel said, according to Reuters.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi responded by saying that “anybody whipping has never put Schumer in the ‘yes’ column. But the calculation still is we’ll have the votes” even without him, according to the New York Times.
Kerry ‘profoundly disagrees’ with Schumer, Engel on Iran
Speaking in the Vietnamese capital, Kerry said the facts do not bear out the arguments made by the Senate’s No. 3 Democrat Chuck Schumer, and the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Eliot Engel. He said he respects the right of lawmakers to make their own decisions about the merits of the deal, but said rejection does not offer any alternative than a drumbeat to conflict.
Schumer and Engel, both from New York, announced Thursday that they would oppose the deal. Schumer is the first Democratic senator to say he will vote no on the deal, which would curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in relief from crippling sanctions.
Schumer complained that the pact does not allow inspections “anywhere, anytime” and that the United States cannot demand inspections unilaterally.
Leading Democrat Donors Haim Saban and Jack Rosen Rally Against Iran Deal
Top donors to the Democratic party rallied in opposition on Thursday to the Iran nuclear deal pursued by the Obama administration.
U.S.-Israeli billionaire Haim Saban and Jack Rosen, the chairman of the American Jewish Congress (which issued a statement rejecting the Iran deal on Thursday), both rebuffed President Barack Obama’s plea on Wednesday to support the deal or risk another Middle East war.
Saban told Israel’s Channel 1 that the Iran agreement was a “very bad deal” and said “we still need to fight it.”
Rosen released a statement on Thursday through the American Jewish Congress, saying the “burden of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon must not be passed on to our children and grandchildren,” singling out the so-called sunset terms of the nuclear agreement that will allow Iran to become a legitimate nuclear threshold state in 10-15 years.
The American Jewish Congress statement followed a similar one by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) on Wednesday, as more and more Jewish groups urge Congress to use its power to reject the deal and perhaps override Obama’s promised veto of the rejection.
Both Saban and Rosen were supporters of President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Joel Pollak: Charles Schumer's Iran Deal Statement Is a Game-Changer
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) announced late Thursday that he intends to vote against the Iran deal.
A furious White House reportedly told the Huffington Post, which broke the story in the midst of the Republican presidential debate, when it would receive the least attention.
It is easy to be skeptical about Schumer’s motives. He has been very reluctant to lead on the issue, and certainly delayed his decision long enough to allow the Obama administration to lobby for more votes, including that of Schumer’s junior New York colleague, Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand.
Yet what is truly remarkable about Schumer’s position on the Iran deal is the statement he published to explain his reasoning. In a simple, humble, yet elegant essay, Schumer completely negates President Barack Obama’s most powerful argument–namely, that there is no real alternative except war.
Not so, says Schumer. There is, in fact, a third option on Iran: “Better to keep U.S. sanctions in place, strengthen them, enforce secondary sanctions on other nations, and pursue the hard-trodden path of diplomacy once more, difficult as it may be.”
Schumer is very respectful, urging “all fair-minded Americans” to “acknowledge the President’s strong achievements in combatting and containing Iran.” Nevertheless, he destroys Obama’s arguments.
Scarborough: Is Obama Going to Call Chuck Schumer Ignorant or a Liar?
On Friday’s Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough asked if President Obama would call Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) ignorant or a liar after Schumer announced his opposition to the Iran nuclear agreement.
Schumer, the third-ranking member in the party, is one of the most influential Jewish voices in Congress.
“I just asked, now is Barack Obama going to call Chuck Schumer ignorant or a liar like he suggested at American University that anybody that doesn’t support this deal was either ignorant or not telling the truth?” Scarborough asked.
Obama gave a speech on the Iran deal this week where he compared Republican opponents of the deal to the hardliners in Iran who chant “death to America.”
Scarborough: Is Obama Going to Call Chuck Schumer Ignorant or a Liar?


Obama defends comparing nuke deal critics to Iran hard-liners
“What I said is absolutely true, factually,” Obama told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in an excerpt of an interview published Friday.
What the two groups have in common is that they’re “satisfied with the status quo,” he said, according to CNN.
Hardliners are opposed to any cooperation with the international community, and Republicans have an “ideological commitment” to not getting a deal done, he said.
The full interview is slated to air Sunday.
Mitch McConnell, the top Republican lawmaker in the US Senate, has called on Obama to retract his comments, calling them offensive.
Obama is treating his drive to win congressional support for his nuclear deal with Iran like a political campaign, making attacks on opponents that need to stop, McConnell said Thursday.
Obama so far “is treating this like a political campaign,” McConnell told reporters. “Demonize your opponents, gin up the base, get Democrats all angry and, you know, rally around the president. To me, it’s a different kind of issue.”
Obama doubles down on comparing GOP to Iranian hardliners: 'What I said is absolutely true.'


Antisemitic Regimes Should be Taken at Their Word, says Historian of Holocaust and Islamic Radicalism
University of Maryland Prof. Jeffrey Herf is the author of acclaimed works on the Holocaust, modern European history and antisemitism. These include Reactionary Modernism, The Jewish Enemy, and Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World among others. His July 2 essay for The Times of Israel, “Taking the Ideas of Others Seriously: A Lesson From German History and the Iran Nuclear Issue,” is based on Herf’s May 3, 2015 address to CAMERA’s annual board luncheon in New York City. The essay relates to the current debate over the agreement reached between the United States, Germany, France, Russia, China, the United Kingdom and the Islamic Republic of Iran over the latter’s purported nuclear program—and what Herf insists is the concurrent need to heed Iranian rhetoric that is a “mix of Nazi propaganda, Islamist ideology, and a peculiarly Iranian vision of world domination.”
“The Iran debate has never been about Right and Left in any conventional sense of those terms,” Herf observes, “It has been about whether the leaders of the United States government actually believe that the Iranian leaders believe what they say again and again.”
Herf warns that the Islamic Republic—which regularly calls for “Death to America” and “Death to Israel”—should be taken at its word.
The professor notes that “the problem of underestimating the role of ideology in politics remains very much with us.” It’s a problem evidenced in Adolf Hitler’s rise and simultaneous inability of “intellectuals and policymakers” to take the German dictator’s Jew-hatred seriously.
“On numerous occasions beginning in 1939,” the CAMERA speaker noted, “Hitler publicly announced that he intended to ‘exterminate the Jewish race in Europe.’Contrary to some conventional wisdom, he did not keep his policies about the Jews a secret, nor did he speak in euphemisms. He spoke bluntly and often about his intention to exterminate the Jews.” In a Jan. 30, 1941 speech the dictator proclaimed that “the role of Jews in Europe would be finished.”
Herf notes that in an editorial the next day, The New York Times brushed off Hitler’s proclamation, calling the dictators words “worthless.” Why did it do so? Why—he wonders—did so many feel that Hilter could be appeased and his threats were meaningless?
Ya’alon: Israel ‘not responsible’ for Iran nuke scientists’ lives
As the world moves closer to ratifying a nuclear deal that Jerusalem says won’t keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear arsenal, Ya’alon told German newspaper Der Spegel that Israel would do anything necessary in order to assure Tehran does not get atomic weapons, including taking military action.
“Ultimately it is very clear, one way or another, Iran’s military nuclear program must be stopped,” Ya’alon said, according to a retranslation from an interview published in the German daily. “We will act in any way and are not willing to tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran. We prefer that this be done by means of sanctions, but in the end, Israel should be able to defend itself,” the defense minister said.
He added that he was “not responsible for the lives of Iranian scientists,” according to Der Speigel, which will publish the full interview on Saturday.
Ya’alon further stated that Israel was considering carrying out airstrikes on Iranian military facilities, the German paper reported.
Five Iranian nuclear scientists were killed in the last decade, most of them by bombs placed on their cars, according to foreign media reports.
Dershowitz: Obama Is an Abject Failure—by His Own Standards
While much of the media focus has been on the Iran deal’s impact on Israel and the Middle East, Dershowitz also fears for the safety and security of the United States. He believes the deal assures Iran will get a nuclear bomb within ten years and allows the Islamic Republic to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles without much constraint.
“All of this has been said by Obama himself,” Dershowitz explains. “When Obama first set out the red lines, he specified 24/7 inspections—we didn’t get that. He set out that Iran would never have nuclear weapons—we didn’t get that. He set out to end the nuclear facility at Fordow—we didn’t get that. He has crossed his own red lines at least three times.”
Asked if he believes that President Obama is a failed leader, Dershowitz, who supported the president in both elections, replied, “I think on the Iran deal he is a failed leader.”
Dershowitz continued, “I think this will be his legacy in terms of international relations and I think it will result in an increase in the nuclear arms race, an end to anti-nuclear proliferation, an increase in the likelihood of war, and a greater gulf between Israel and the United States. All of which he promised would not happen.”
“If you judge president Obama by his own standards, he is an abject failure when it comes to international relations. Forget about my standard or yours. By his own standard he is an abject failure when it comes to dealing with Iran.”
Charles Krauthammer: Just who is helping Iran’s hard-liners?
This tragicomedy is now in the hands of Congress or, more accurately, of congressional Democrats. It is only because so many Democrats are defecting that Obama gave the AU speech in the first place. And why he tried so mightily to turn the argument into a partisan issue — those warmongering Republicans attacking a president offering peace in our time. Obama stooped low, accusing the Republican caucus of making “common cause” with the Iranian “hard-liners” who shout “Death to America.”
Forget the gutter ad hominem. This is delusional. Does Obama really believe the Death-to-America hard-liners are some kind of KKK fringe? They are the government, for God’s sake — the entire state apparatus of the Islamic Republic from the Revolutionary Guards to the supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei who for decades have propagated, encouraged and applauded those very same “Death to America” chants.
Common cause with the Iranian hard-liners? Who more than Obama? For years, they conduct a rogue nuclear weapons program in defiance of multiple Security Council declarations of its illegality backed by sanctions and embargoes. Obama rewards them with a treaty that legitimates their entire nuclear program, lifts the embargo on conventional weapons and ballistic missiles and revives an economy — described by Iran’s president as headed back to “the Stone Age” under sanctions — with an injection of up to $150 billion in unfrozen assets, permission for the unlimited selling of oil and full access to the international financial system.
With this agreement, this repressive, intolerant, aggressive, supremely anti-American regime — the chief exporter of terror in the world — is stronger and more entrenched than it has ever been.
Common cause, indeed.
Report: Israel Refusing US Invite to Joint Military Exercises
The first operational consequences of the bitter dispute between Israel and the White House on the Iran agreement have begun to pop their ugly heads, as Israel is refusing extensive US offers of military and security cooperation, IsraelDefense and Makor Rishon columnist Amir Rapaport reported.
At this point, Israel is refusing to participate in a massive joint training exercise with the US military, scheduled for 2016.
The exercise, code-named Juniper Cobra 2016, was expected to include a long list of cooperative activities, and to include the US-financed Israeli missile defense system, which is partially based on American capabilities.
Over the past few weeks, Rapaport says Israel, in an unprecedented manner, has been doubtful as to its willingness to participate—compared to previous times, when the IDF went out of its way to take part in joint exercises, and, in 2012, complained bitterly that it was being kept out of a key NATO summit meeting in Chicago because of Turkey’s objection.
GOP candidates find common ground critiquing Iran deal
After weeks of waiting, Americans finally had a chance Thursday evening to watch 10 of 17 Republican contenders for the 2016 presidency face off in the first of a series of debates hosted by Fox News. But if viewers expected any action on the foreign policy front, they found that there was little daylight between the candidates when it came to the Iran deal, ISIS or Israel.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who had an understated presence during most of the debate, was the only speaker who laid out what he planned to do with the Iran nuclear agreement should he be elected in 2016.
“You terminate the deal on day one, you reinstate the sanctions put on with Congress, and you convince our allies to do the same,” Walker answered, when asked if he stood by his commitment to “tear up the deal” on his first day in office.
David Brooks: 3 U.S. Defeats: Vietnam, Iraq and Now Iran
This administration has given us a choice between two terrible options: accept the partial-surrender agreement that was negotiated or reject it and slide immediately into what is in effect our total surrender — a collapsed sanctions regime and a booming Iranian nuclear program.
Many members of Congress will be tempted to accept the terms of our partial surrender as the least bad option in the wake of our defeat. I get that. But in voting for this deal they may be affixing their names to an arrangement that will increase the chance of more comprehensive war further down the road.
Iran is a fanatical, hegemonic, hate-filled regime. If you think its radicalism is going to be softened by a few global trade opportunities, you really haven’t been paying attention to the Middle East over the past four decades.
Iran will use its $150 billion windfall to spread terror around the region and exert its power. It will incrementally but dangerously cheat on the accord. Armed with money, ballistic weapons and an eventual nuclear breakout, it will become more aggressive. As the end of the nuclear delay comes into view, the 45th or 46th president will decide that action must be taken.
Economic and political defeats can be as bad as military ones. Sometimes when you surrender to a tyranny you lay the groundwork for a more cataclysmic conflict to come.
US Jewish leader: Several EU PMs, including from P5+1, very unhappy with Iran deal
Hoenlein, who routinely meets statesmen across the globe, told a meeting with the Israel Diplomatic Correspondents Association on Thursday that he knows firsthand that Israel and the Gulf states are not alone in their apprehension over the Iran deal. European prime ministers and foreign ministers — including from countries that are part of the so-called P5+1 group (the US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany) that negotiated the accord – are “very uncomfortable with this deal,” he maintained.
According to Hoenlein, these leaders told him in private meetings that they objected to many of the agreement’s provisions but that the US took the lead, and they followed. “Unfortunately, they are not courageous enough, obviously, to say that in the negotiations,” he said.
“What the Europeans say essentially is that we gave this over the United States. The US took over the leadership and they’re responsible,” he added. “This deal that looks like everybody was a cheerleader for – [but] they are expressing their reservations in private.”
Al Arabiya: A nuclear bargain and a bleaker Middle East
Finally, the Iran nuclear deal as a new source of tension between Iran and its Arab neighbors, will inevitably contribute to tightening the repression in Arab societies in the name of galvanizing and uniting the people to fight Iran and its Arab proxies From Yemen on the Indian Ocean to Lebanon and Syria on the Mediterranean. Many Arab societies have been hollowed out and militarized long before the Iran nuclear deal and the Arab uprisings. But the historic collapse of the very foundations of the political order that prevailed for a century in the Levant and Mesopotamia in the last five years is irrevocably transforming and fragmenting the region’s social, cultural and political fabric, leaving behind tattered identities. The dangers of the unprecedented Sunni-Shiite bloodletting, and the rise of the fanaticism of the non-state actors, will be magnified in the wake of the nuclear deal. The immediate future of the region will be millions of children deprived of structured schooling, to be added to the 21 million children already out of schools. In a region that has less than 5% of the world’s population, the number of peoples who were forced to become refugees is almost half of the refugee population of the world. Syria’s refugees, close to five millions, constitute the worst humanitarian crisis in the new century. In Yemen, people are dying of hunger; with one third of the population suffer from malnutrition. If one engages in the grizzly ritual of counting the daily harvest of blood in the majority Arab states in the region, one would be horrified, at the ability of the reaper to cut lives. Is anyone keeping up with the number of people who have disappeared in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya or even in Egypt? The misery index for the Arabs has given us new categories of Arab victims such as, migrant Arabs, and children warriors. The nuclear deal with Iran, may have capped temporarily the nuclear storm inside Iran’s reactors, but the political fallouts of the deal will likely leave a long trail of human wreckage in its wake.
Gulf expert: Arab states oppose Iran deal but don't want to show agreement with Israel
US President Barack Obama’s statement on Wednesday that all countries that have commented on the Iran deal support it – except for Israel – is misleading. Arab leaders are only being polite in their reticence.
Leaders of the Gulf Arab states have opted for a less confrontational approach with Washington than the strong public opposition exhibited by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government.
Instead of voicing their displeasure publicly and directly to the US over its rapprochement with Iran, they have instead chosen to get their message across unofficially through articles in Arab owned-media and by leaking their strong discontent to the Western press.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed, general manager of Al-Arabiya TV and former editor-in-chief of the popular Arab daily Asharq Alawsat, wrote a recent article in the Saudi-backed publication stating that the Iran deal “was viewed by some as a rather low move by Washington against its longtime allies in the Gulf, who were loyal for over five decades.”
How the nuclear deal will fund Iran’s imperialism
Over the past few decades — without a nuclear umbrella and without a world-class military — Iran has pursued a highly effective, asymmetrical campaign to spread its influence and destabilize its enemies. Early on, the Iranians noted that many Middle Eastern militaries are relatively weak. In some conflicts, the addition of several thousand well-trained, well-led militia members could have a disproportionate, even decisive, influence. So Iranian operatives — often through the Quds Force, created for this purpose — have set out to exploit local grievances, encourage sectarian solidarity and export their version of anti-American, anti-Semitic, revolutionary Islamism.
The idea that this is a spent strategy would come as a surprise to people in Beirut, Damascus and Baghdad. Iran’s first and best success was the organization of Lebanese Hezbollah into an effective instrument. Through it, Iran changed the regional balance of power by positioning perhaps 100,000 rockets and missiles in southern Lebanon aimed at Israel. Tehran is responsible for the survival of Bashar al-Assad’s murderous regime, propped up at key moments by Iranian money and Hezbollah ground forces. Iran has gained effective control of Iraq’s public institutions, since Shiite militias (many allied with Iran) seem to be the only effective fighting forces in the country other than the Islamic State and the Kurds.
Not everything has gone the Iranian way. Assad really may be on his last leg, and there has been some blowback against Hezbollah’s involvement in foreign ventures. But on the whole — while lacking the military power to challenge the United States and its allies directly — Iran has made an effective play for regional hegemony through arming, training, funding, inciting and leading Shiite proxies.
How would the nuclear deal affect this? The agreement legitimizes Iran’s nuclear program, pretty much guarantees its ability to produce nuclear weapons in 15 years, and will make it a far wealthier country than it has been in three decades. The regime will have more money to demonstrate immediate economic gains, and access to international markets to make those gains permanent. It will have more money — coupled with the lifting of the arms embargo — to purchase weapons from Russia to challenge U.S. military access to the Persian Gulf. And it will have a lot more money to augment its asymmetrical capabilities.
Joel Pollak: Iran Deal: When Will Israel Go to War?
If the Iran deal guarantees war–as argued by a former adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu–then the question is when.
It is clear that Israel has preserved its options of self-defense; it is equally clear that it has legal justification for war against Iran, given Iran’s constant threats to destroy the Jewish state, its terror attacks against Israeli targets worldwide, and its arming of terror groups in Gaza and Lebanon.
Still, the question of when Israel will attack Iran–and at this stage, it is clear the U.S. will not–depends on four key factors.
Iran’s capabilities. Iran is still relatively weak. It has no significant air defenses, its economy is struggling, and its forces are tied down in regional wars. Over time, however, Iran will become much stronger. Sanctions relief will provide cash and armaments, which Iran will also provide to Hezbollah and Hamas (or other Palestinian groups). New Russian S-300 surface-to-air missiles will complicate any attack, and Iran may soon have a ballistic missile deterrent. This factor favors an attack very soon–perhaps even before the Iran deal can go into effect.
Israel’s capabilities. Though Israel has a very effective deterrent, in the form of nuclear submarines, Israel has very limited capacity to launch an attack against Iran. Iran’s nuclear facilities are scattered, hidden, and buried, and the possible flight times and paths present great logistical difficulties. However, Israel’s capabilities tend to increase rapidly over time–as they have in the area of missile defense, which has helped it minimize rocket threats from Gaza and Lebanon. This factor favors an attack on Iran later–though not too late.
NY Sun: The President’s Divisive Rhetoric about the Iran Deal, and Israel
We would not suggest that the president lacks for a mandate to extend his hand to Iran or to try to end the Iraq war. He campaigned for office on the points, and he’s more than entitled. That doesn’t give him a mandate to rewrite history. It doesn't bind the Congress. He blames the Iraq war not on Saddam Hussein but on those Americans who have “a preference for military action over diplomacy.” He neglects to mention that more than a decade of diplomacy preceded the Iraq war he was against.
It was diplomacy that failed in Iraq. By the time war came it was clear that Mr. Obama and his ilk would never have enforced the U.N. sanctions. The president says that “more than a decade later, we still live with the consequences of the decision to invade Iraq.” Actually, the consequences we’re facing now are of his own decision to retreat prematurely, pulling our last GIs from a battlefield they had done so much to subdue. He gave away a victory that was purchased in the blood of, among others, Americans.
This is what the Congress is worried about in respect of Iran. It is what Israel is worried about. Congress legislated an unprecedented sanctions regime. It was just starting to bite. The president wants to declare victory “mission accomplished.” The Congress doesn’t. So whom does the President blame? Here’s the money quote: “every nation in the world that has commented publicly, with the exception of the Israeli government, has expressed support.”
Mark the President’s formulation: “every nation in the world that has commented publicly.” He doesn’t mention the opponents of the deal who haven’t commented publicly. He wants to isolate Israel. That is the point of the speech: “with the exception of the Israeli government.” Yet Israel knows it would be the first target of any use of an Iranian weapon. It was excluded from the table of the P5+1 the way the Czechs were from Munich. So good for Mr. Netanyahu, good for Mr. Herzog for standing Israel’s ground. They are standing on the shoulders of Menachem Begin.
Mr. President, Rockets Have Already Fallen on Tel Aviv
By July 22, rockets were hitting Tel Aviv so frequently – including direct hits on a number of homes – that the city’s famous beaches had to be shut down, at the peak of the summer season, because of all the falling shrapnel. Then came the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority’s declaration that because of all the rockets in and near Tel Aviv, Ben-Gurion Airport was no longer deemed safe. Most major American and European airlines canceled all flights to Israel.
The rest of the story is of course well known. With Israel’s citizens under massive direct attack, and its economy about to be ravaged by the cut-off of international commerce and tourism, Israel was compelled to send its military into Gaza.
That was the reason the rockets stopped falling on Tel Aviv. It wasn’t because of anything the Obama Administration did. It wasn’t because of the negotiations with Iran. It was because Israel acted on its own, in defiance of a hypocritical and indifferent international community.
So please, President Obama: don’t tell us that the Iran nuclear deal is the only way to prevent rockets from falling on Tel Aviv. We’ve seen rockets fall on Tel Aviv. We know that pieces of paper signed by terror regimes such as the one in Tehran will never prevent it.
The Moral Members of Congress Must Oppose the Iran Nuclear Deal
It’s a rare and historical event when the victor surrenders to the vanquished enemy, and it’s an even rarer event when the victor surrenders unconditionally.
We have been at war for 5775 years in a pitched battle between good vs. evil; truth vs. lies. Just when we are at the verge of victory, when evil is on the ropes and being treated like the pariah that it is, when the Arab world is repulsed by the unbridled evil unleashed by extremist Muslims in the name of Islam, when Iran is on the verge of bankruptcy, our representatives have projected weakness and shame while apologizing to the enemy.
We are tired of war, we are tired of fighting our diplomats declare; what other alternative do we have, they cry out, but to surrender to evil? Incredibly America has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
This is truly the stuff and the makings of a legacy. A thousand years from now historians will be wagging their heads in dismay and disbelief wondering whether this was the day that America lost its collective mind.

NY senator announces support for ‘imperfect’ Iran deal
Gillibrand, the junior senator from New York, said in a statement Thursday that Iran was likelier to obtain a nuclear weapon sooner should Congress kill the deal.
“Iran will still be disruptive in the Middle East and fund terrorist activities,” Gillibrand claimed.
“This regime will continue to deny Israel’s right to exist, the Quds Force,” a division of the country’s Revolutionary Guards, “will still be listed as a terrorist organization, and Iran will continue to exacerbate tensions with our allies in the region,” she said. “But Iran would be exponentially more dangerous to Israel and the entire region with a nuclear weapon.”
Gillibrand’s decision was not unanticipated, but is still a blow to opponents of the deal. Democrats around the country face pressure from the administration to back the deal and from the mainstream pro-Israel community to oppose it, but nowhere has opposition has been more intense than in New York, where there was a mass rally last month against the deal. Gillibrand’s choice shows that the administration’s arguments are persuasive even under those circumstances.
Obama’s Crass Cynicism Exposes the Iran Deal’s Shaky Foundations
President Barack Obama may have delivered the most cynical, divisive speech of his political career on Wednesday. That’s quite a feat for a man who has made a virtue of sowing discord while simultaneously congratulating himself for remaining dispassionately above the political fray. But the president’s graceless agitation on Wednesday in support of his legacy achievement that, as a side note, purports to address the threat of Iranian nuclear weapons might also reflect his sense that the ground beneath him is starting to soften. The longer Americans are exposed to this deal, the less they support it. The members of Congress Obama needs to back this proposal with their votes might also be starting to get cold feet.
Gone was the buoyantly optimistic President Obama who was so eager to field questions about the Iran nuclear deal after it was initially announced that he went so far as to ask them of himself. In his place was a defiant and battered President Obama. The man who spoke at American University on Wednesday was a grim reminder of the president Americans saw just prior to the 2014 midterm elections; a portrait of a man enduring the censure of an ungrateful nation, a man deeply resentful of the task before him and bitter toward those who had bound him to do it.
Obama wasted little time rehearsing rote recitations of the aspects of the deal that he has said will render Iran unable to develop a nuclear weapon. Instead, almost from the beginning of the address, the president took the modern left on a retrospective tour of their ideological origin story: their opposition to the Iraq War.
Obama warned that those who oppose the Iran nuclear deal are virtually the same individuals and organizations that supported the invasion of Iraq. It was a cultural touchstone for the audience to which he was appealing, and little elaboration was required. Out of generosity of spirit, however, the president continued:
John Bolton: Debating the dubious Iran deal
Third, beyond the Middle East, Washington’s big-power adversaries and competitors, particularly Moscow and Beijing, have likely already drawn the conclusion that America is either unwilling or unable to play its accustomed role internationally.
Russia has already hived off part of Ukraine, and its troops are engaged in poorly concealed “rebel” military actions against the Ukraine government. The only question is where Vladimir Putin will cause trouble next. Many predict he will move against one of the Baltic republics (all three members of NATO) to see whether Mr. Obama’s feckless response to military incursions into Ukraine will be duplicated when it comes to a NATO member. The auguries are not good.
And China, energetically pursuing its objective of making the South China Sea into a Chinese lake, perhaps will follow up with similar activity in the East China Sea or moves against Taiwan.
Congress and Republican presidential candidates should insist that these broader, potentially deadly implications of the Vienna deal be subjected to strict scrutiny and wide-ranging debate. These threats may not be written into the agreement, but they are nonetheless inherent in it.
John Bolton: The Iran Deal’s Dangerous Precedent
HAD anyone believed President Obama’s mantra that “all options are on the table” to deal with Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the Vienna agreement might have emerged less advantageously for Tehran. But no one took Mr. Obama’s threat of military force seriously — a credibility gap that Israel still fears and Iran still exploits. Even so, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is still trying to reassure nervous Democrats in Congress that the Vienna agreement does not preclude America’s use of force.
Despite its blasé confidence in the agreement, however, the Obama administration understands the near-certainty that Iran will break its word. Tehran’s potential violations were not merely one of many difficult issues for negotiators; they were the essence of the talks. The deal’s entire structure turns on the issue of how to detect and handle breaches.
If Iran is caught transgressing, Mr. Obama’s plan is not to use force, but to apply “snapback sanctions.” His administration has argued repeatedly that such sanctions (or even new sanctions) will deter or punish violations, keeping the deal on track and Iran clear of nuclear weapons. This rationale conforms to the underlying logic for the talks themselves: If sanctions brought Iran to the table, then sanctions will keep the deal viable once implementation begins.
Unfortunately, the mechanism to address violations is as flawed as the deal’s underlying logic. For the president’s predictions of Iranian behavior to come true (and they are central to successful implementation), Tehran must recognize the inevitability of the pain their country will suffer for straying from compliance.
Yet the very language of the Vienna deal demonstrates the opposite. In two provisions (Paragraphs 26 and 37), Iran rejects the legitimacy of sanctions coming back into force. These passages expressly provide, in near identical words, that “Iran has stated that if sanctions are reinstated in whole or in part, Iran will treat that as grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA” — Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — “in whole or in part.”
Former Spanish Prime Minister Aznar Says Western Confrontation With Iran Inevitable
A Western confrontation with Iran is inevitable with or without the nuclear agreement struck by world powers and negotiators from Tehran said former Spanish prime minister and chairman of the Friends of Israel Initiative Jose Maria Aznar in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece on Thursday.
However, Aznar, who was prime minister of Spain as head of the conservative People’s Party from 1996 to 2004 (about the time when Iran reportedly began making overtures to the West), cautioned that an “evil” Iranian regime confronted under the parameters of the nuclear deal would be “emboldened, better prepared, modernized and richer” and reaching to “attain the goals we’ve always tried to prevent.”
He reaffirmed the argument that a “bad deal is worse than no deal,” and although he recognized Russia and China — both parties to the negotiations — would likely have slackened sanctions on Iran anyway, he said Western countries should maintain economic pressure.
While Aznar commended the Obama administration for negotiating a diplomatic arrangement with the Iranians in good faith, he questioned the White House’s optimism that the deal — he called it a “terrible one” — would moderate Iran’s regional destabilization efforts and global scare-mongering, such as when it threatens to close the Straits of Hormuz or finances Hezbollah terrorist rings in Cyprus and Bulgaria.
That argument, he said, “is based in idle hope.”
Report: Commander of elite Iranian force met with Russian leaders despite US sanctions
According to reports from FOX News, in July, the chief of Iran's elite Quds Force visited Moscow to meet with senior Russian figures, violating international sanctions and travel restrictions placed on key members of the Iranian regime.
Qassem Suleimani, whose wing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is only answerable to Ayatollah Khameini, and who has emerged as a pivotal on-the-ground figure spearheading Iran's broader regional ambitions in the Middle East, was allegedly in Russia between July 24 and July 26, shortly before Secretary of State John Kerry's testimony before a Senate Armed Services Committee regarding the nascent nuclear deal between the Islamic Republic and international powers.
Suleimani apparently departed from Tehran aboard Air Iran flight #5130, which was billed as a commercial flight and returned aboard flight #5120, western intelligence sources are cited as saying. His presence in Russia, predating the lifting of sanctions entailed in the Joint Comprehensive Point of Action, signed between the P5+1 nations and Iran on July 14, constitutes a technical violation of international law.
During his visit to Russia, the secretive commander, who has been sparingly photographed in Iraq, where he has instructed and led Shi'ite militias against Islamic State militants in key battles, is said to have met with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and President Vladimir Putin.
Report: Iran grants rare visa to historic US Jewish newspaper
In what is viewed as an attempt by the Iranian government to influence American Jewish public opinion, the government in Tehran has granted a rare visa to a New York-based Jewish newspaper.
According to The New York Times, Iran has approved a request for journalist credentials submitted by the Jewish Forward.
The Forward is America's oldest Jewish newspaper. Founded in 1897 by American Jewish socialists, it became a mass circulation Yiddish-language daily that served the influx of immigrants from Eastern Europe.
Journalists at the Forward said that they had been trying to obtain a visa to Iran for two years, according to the Times.


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