Friday, August 14, 2015

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: American Jewry’s fateful hour
American Jewry is being tested today as never before. The future of the community is tied up in the results of the test.
If the Jews of America are able to mount a successful, forceful and sustained opposition to President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, which allows the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism to become a nuclear-armed state and provides it with $150 billion up front, then the community will survive politically to fight another day.
If the communal leadership and its members fail to fight, American Jews will find themselves communally disenfranchised.
On the face of it, there is no reason this fight should have been anything more than a hopeless – but relatively insignificant – ordeal. Given that all Obama needs to do to secure the implementation of his nuclear pact with the mullahs is secure the support of a one-third minority in one house of Congress, he might have been expected to go easy on his opponents since they have so little chance of defeating him.
Instead, Obama has decided to demolish them. He has presented them with two options – capitulate or be destroyed.
Consider Hillary Clinton’s behavior.
On Tuesday the Democratic presidential front-runner and former secretary of state ratcheted up her statements of support for Obama’s nuclear pact with the ayatollahs. Speaking to supporters in New Hampshire, Clinton said, “I’m hoping that the agreement is finally approved and I’m telling you if it’s not, all bets are off.”
On its face, Clinton’s mounting support for the deal makes little sense. True, her principal rival for the Democratic nomination, socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, announced his support. But this deal will probably not be an issue by the time Democrats begin voting in their primaries.
On the other hand, the deal is not popular among either the general public or key Democratic donors. According to a poll taken this week by Monmouth University, only 27 percent of the general population and only 43 percent of Democrats want Congress to support the deal.
Tzipi Hotovely: Iran's false promise not to pursue nukes
“A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down,” Arnold Glasow said.
In opposing the Iran deal, Israel has been accused of not pointing towards a better alternative and even of being against a diplomatic solution entirely. Aside from wronging Israel, these claims obscure what needs to be done to truly prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
As the country with the most at stake, Israel favors a diplomatic solution more than anyone. But this does not mean that any diplomatic outcome is satisfactory. A diplomatic "non-solution" is worse than maintaining — and augmenting — the existing sanctions regime for the very reason that it will prevent a genuine diplomatic resolution, by releasing Iran from the only pressure that could bring it about.
The initial positions of the international community — which were largely conceded — suggest what an acceptable deal might look like. Such an agreement would insist, among other things, on the complete suspension of enrichment and dismantlement of related infrastructure, and on Iran’s acceptance of ‘anytime-anywhere’ inspections of all of its nuclear and military facilities, to reliably verify this suspension.
If Iran were not led by an aggressive regime inspired by a violent ideology, openly committed to eliminating Israel, heavily invested in fomenting insurrection throughout the Middle East and revealed to be pursuing military know-how relevant only to the use of nuclear weapons, its nuclear program could be assessed like that of other countries.
But it is all of those things, making a mockery of its assertion that “under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons”, as appears in the text of the agreement.
It goes without saying that Israel is not alone in understanding this to be an outright lie.
PodCast: Dersh Makes His Case
Jay’s guest is Alan Dershowitz, the famed lawyer and Harvard Law prof. His latest book is “The Case Against the Iran Deal: How Can We Stop Iran From Getting Nukes?”
Naturally, Jay talks with him about Iran – and the deal, and Obama, and Chuck Schumer, and Netanyahu, and so on. They also talk about presidential elections, past and present.
Did you know that Ted Cruz was a student of Dershowitz’s? He was. The professor has some interesting things to say about that. He and Jay also talk about O.J. Simpson, anti-Semitism, the Second Amendment, pornography, Cuba, Supreme Court justices, and more – including the loneliness of Dersh’s kind of liberal.
Thousands over the years have paid tuition to hear him. You get him for free.

NY Post: Iran says the nuke deal will help it target Israel
Hezbollah’s TV station al-Manar reported, “Zarif said from Beirut that the nuclear agreement between Tehran and the world powers created a historic opportunity for regional cooperation to fight extremism and face threats posed by the Zionist entity.”
Translation: With a “signing bonus” to Iran of $100 billion or more, the nuke deal will empower the Islamic Republic to send more cash, rockets and other arms to Hezbollah and other anti-Israel terrorist groups.
It will also boost Tehran’s regional prestige — allowing it to bully other nations into greater hostility toward Israel.
Plus, the deal provides a glide-path for Iran to go nuclear in a decade or so, even without cheating. And Iranian nukes will drastically shift the regional balance of power in Tehran’s favor — and against Jerusalem.
No, this isn’t just spin from the Hezbollah station. Zarif told reporters that Iran’s top challenge in the region involves “confronting” “the Zionist and extremist regime.”
It’s easy to see why Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Labor party nemesis Isaac Herzog are united against the Iran deal. It’s much, much harder to see why Obama believes he knows what’s in Israel’s interests better than the Israelis do.
Peter Beinart Now Claiming Iran Isn't a Threat to Israel
Is there anything that discredited hack Peter Beinart won't claim? After the failure of Open Zion, Beinart is now just trolling for Haaretz with increasingly ridiculous pieces. His latest claims that Iran isn't an existential threat to Israel.
Why? Because there are Jews living in Iran. And they haven't been killed yet. Have they?
Iran’s Jews are not free, neither is their government trying to kill them. Three and a half decades after the Islamic Revolution, Iran boasts perhaps 60 functioning synagogues, along with multiple kosher butchers and Jewish schools.
The talking point about the thousands of Jews in Iran is a familiar one. If Iran hasn't killed all the Jews, that means it's not a threat to Israel. It hasn't acted exactly like Hitler... so it's not Hitler.
While Beinart focuses on Hitler, the Bolsheviks took power and initially allowed Jews to maintain some semblance of Jewish life. The noose slowly tightened over time. An actual program of extermination didn't begin until around 30 years later. And it was aborted by Stalin's death.
Iran's Jewish community is a small remnant of what it used to be. Apparently most Iranian Jews are not as impressed by the existence of 60 synagogues (about the amount you might find in a lot of neighborhoods in New York) as apologists for the Mullahs like Beinart are.
Israeli Professor: Obama’s Language is Similar to ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’
Haifa University political scientist Abraham Ben-Zvi, who is no right-winger, is not the type to sling around accusations of anti-Semitism. But President Obama’s recent comments about Jewish “money” and “lobbyists” opposing the Iran deal “have taken a particularly harsh and dangerous turn,” Ben-Zvi wrote in Israel Hayom this week.
Presidents should act presidential. Instead, Mr. Obama “sounds and appears angry and bitter over having to put in extra hours in the sweltering political kitchen, as opposed to merely having his aides and administration officials apply the pressure for him,” Ben-Zvi notes.
Obama’s “latest tongue-lashings toward Israel (and AIPAC) [have] crossed every line in terms of Washington’s relations with Jerusalem,” according to Prof. Ben-Zvi. “The president is tying several combustible elements together, which could awaken past demons and reveal hidden ideological resentments and prejudices toward the Jewish minority in the U.S.”
Ben-Zvi continues: “The correlation that Obama has made between money and Jewish power (in the form of the pro-Israel lobby), and the potential for the U.S. to be dragged into another unnecessary and expensive war following the Iraq trauma, drudges up, even if in a softened tone, the detestable Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”
Obama’s rhetoric seems intended to “raise the fear among American Jews that a fundamental contradiction exists between support for Israel and their concern for America’s national interests,” Prof. Ben-Zvi writes. “Suddenly, as the opponents of the ‘Vienna agreement’ are painted as sectorial and as undermining the national interest, a host of particularly charged questions, tied intrinsically to the Jewish identity, may resurface, underscoring the ostensible contradiction — that seems quite real these days — between identifying with the Israeli stance on the Iranian issue and loyalty to official American interests.”
ADL opposed to Iran nuclear deal, urges Congress to vote 'No'
The organization sent out a press release early Friday outlining the reasons that it says lawmakers should vote "no" on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
"The debate today is focused in Congress on ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on the Iran deal," the ADL said. "Given the outstanding questions and our deep reservations about the agreement, we believe Congress should vote no on the deal."
"At the same time, we believe there is an opportunity for bipartisan collaboration to forge a new path forward," the organization said.
"Regardless of the outcome of the vote, we have a responsibility to ensure that US policy addresses the ‘day after’ the vote and Iran’s state-sponsored promotion of anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism; its illiberalism at home, aggression in the region and support for terrorism around the world; and its unending litany of threats against America, Israel and other US allies."
"With this ‘day after’ in mind, we believe the stakeholders - regardless of the outcome of a vote in Congress – should work across the aisle for a more robust approach towards Iran. We need to recognize the strategic challenges posed by Iran and propose to address them with new consensus around a regional strategy, one that reflects our democratic values and highest ideals."
Republican House Majority Leader McCarthy: Congress likely to sink Iran deal
The US Congress will disapprove the Iran deal when it votes on the matter by September 17, and may even be able to override a presidential veto on the matter, Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy predicted as he spoke with reporters in Jerusalem on Thursday.
“I do not know if the Democrats have whipped this vote [trying to enforce party discipline],” McCarthy said, adding, “We [Republicans] have not whipped the vote either.”
McCarthy added that he was not aware of any Republicans that intended supporting the nuclear agreement, stating that “I have watched a number of Democrats oppose it.”
The California congressman spoke of his party’s opposition to the deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program that was concluded between Tehran and the six world powers in Vienna last month.
Democrat supporters of the deal and the Obama administration, including US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, are already speaking about the day after the deal is set in motion.
McCarthy had an entirely different take on the future of the Iran deal, however.
“It will go to the president’s desk with a [congressional] disapproval, that is very safe to say,” McCarthy said as he explained that the real question is whether there is enough opposition to prevent US President Barack Obama from vetoing the congressional vote.
“There is a possibly that if [Obama] vetoes it, it will be overridden [by Congress],” McCarthy said.
The high-ranking politician is in Israel along with 35 other visiting Republican congressmen. They arrived as House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer wrapped up his visit along with 23 Democratic congressmen.
Senior Democratic Whip Announces Opposition To Iran Nuclear Deal
Rep. Alcee Hastings (D – Fla.) is the latest senior Democratic member of Congress to announce his opposition to the nuclear deal with Iran, the Palm Beach Post reported today.
Hastings, a liberal Democrat who usually supports Obama, joins another Palm Beach County delegation member who’s normally a pro-Obama vote — Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton — in opposing the agreement. …
Both Hastings and Deutch say the deal allows Iran to remain a “threshold nuclear state.”
Their opposition stands in contrast to Obama’s efforts in a speech last week to cast the deal’s critics as partisan Republicans who are making “common cause” with Iranian hardliners.

Hastings, a Senior Democratic Whip in the House, made his announcement in an op-ed published in the paper. Hastings observed that the deal “allows Iran to remain a nuclear a nuclear threshold state,” and that the billions of dollars Iran will gain in sanctions relief will allow it to increase its funding of terror groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Hastings also questioned whether sanctions could really “snap back” in the event of Iran violating the deal, given the increased commerce between Iran and the rest of the world that the deal will spur.
Legal Scholar: Over 200 Previous Treaties Have Been Renegotiated; The Iran Deal Should Be Too
There is significant legal precedent for Congress voting against the nuclear deal with Iran and initiating a renegotiation of the agreement, Orde Kittrie, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the State Department’s former lead attorney for nuclear affairs, wrote in an op-ed today in The Wall Street Journal.
In the case of treaties, as the Senate website explains, the Senate may “make its approval conditional” by including in the resolution of ratification amendments, reservations, declarations, and understandings (statements that clarify or elaborate agreement provisions but do not alter them). “The president and the other countries involved must then decide whether to accept the conditions . . . in the legislation, renegotiate the provisions, or abandon the treaty.”
The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which Mr. Obama signed in May, does not contain a provision for approval subject to conditions. However, a resolution of disapproval or separate legislation could specify what changes would be needed to meet congressional requirements. Since Congress can under the law reject the nuclear agreement outright, Iran and our negotiating partners should not be surprised if Congress takes the less drastic step of returning it to the president for renegotiation.
The historical precedents for Congress rejecting, or requiring changes to, agreements involve treaties or other legally binding international agreements. The Iran deal, formally titled the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, is unsigned and not legally binding. Mr. Kerry has repeatedly referred to it as a “political agreement.” Nonbinding, unsigned political agreements receive less deference and are considered more flexible than treaties or other legally binding international agreements. Congress should be comfortable sending one back for renegotiation.
Two more Senate Democrats endorse Iran deal
Two additional Senate Democrats announced Thursday they will support the Iran nuclear agreement, edging President Obama closer to the margin he needs to block GOP efforts to scuttle the deal.
"It isn't a perfect agreement. But it is a strong one," Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., wrote in an editorial for CNN. "This agreement is, in my opinion, the most effective, realistic way to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon anytime in the next 15 years."
Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., also endorsed the deal Thursday. Tester chairs the Senate Democrats' 2016 campaign operation. "After reading the agreement, consulting with experts and listening to Montanans, it’s clear this deal is the only option right now to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon," Tester said in a statement.
The senators' announcement makes them the 18th and 19th Democratic senators to publicly endorse the deal reached between the U.S., Iran and five other countries to halt Iran's nuclear weapon ambitions in exchange for loosening economic sanctions and inspections.
Iran deal ads fail to sway undeclared US lawmakers
Millions of dollars in television and online advertisements by an offshoot of the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee are aimed at more than a dozen states represented by undecided Democratic, among them senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Chris Coons of Delaware and Mark Warner of Virginia. The accord would curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions, and the House and Senate are slated to vote next month on a resolution of disapproval.
“Iran has violated 20 international agreements and is the leading state sponsor of terrorism,” says the ad by Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran, the AIPAC-sponsored group. “Congress should reject a bad deal. We need a better deal.”
As political ads go, experts agree, the commercial is pretty tame. It makes a generic appeal. It doesn’t ask viewers to take any action like calling their senator or congressman. And it doesn’t name names. Instead, it displays the group’s website address, where those inclined to visit will find more information and get automated assistance in calling their lawmaker.
“If part of what you’re trying to do is influence members of Congress to vote against the deal — it’s not the members of Congress who are going to see this, you’re targeting it to their constituents — so I don’t understand why there isn’t a call to action at the end of the ad. You know, ‘Call Congress, call your congressman’ to generate heat that way,” said Rodell Mollineau of Rokk Solutions, who has orchestrated ad campaigns for American Bridge 21st Century, a Democratic super PAC.
But a GOP strategist says a harder-hitting approach would turn off the very Democratic voters the group would like to lobby their lawmakers.
In speech, Rubio to slam Obama’s outreach to Iran, Cuba
A poll released Friday by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that only 1 in 3 Americans said it was important to hear from the next president about their approach to Cuba, compared with nearly 9 of 10 who wanted to hear about terrorism and cyberattacks by foreign countries or terrorist groups.
Roughly three-quarters of Americans said it was important to hear from the next president about Iran. Rubio in his speech vows to re-impose the economic sanctions US and other world powers agreed to lift in exchange for curbs on Tehran’s nuclear program.
“I will give the mullahs a choice: either you have an economy or you have a nuclear program, but you cannot have both,” he says.
Any talks to come afterward must result in a deal that terminates Iran’s nuclear program, he says, and would also be tied to “Iran’s broader conduct, from human rights abuses to support for terrorism and threats against Israel.”
“There would be no room for equivocation, no room for manipulation and no room for cheating,” Rubio says. “Some will say there will also be no room for negotiations. But history proves otherwise. Iran may not return to the table immediately, but it will return when its national interests require it to do so.”
Leading Reform Rabbi: Congress Should Reject Nuclear Deal With Iran
The agreement over Iran’s nuclear program is “a deal with the devil” that should be rejected by Congress, Rabbi Richard Block, immediate past president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, said in an op-ed today in The Hill.
Under prior legislation, most sanctions on Iran were to sunset only when the president certified to Congress that Iran no longer provides support for acts of international terrorism and has “ceased the pursuit, acquisition, and development of, and verifiably dismantled, its nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and ballistic missiles and ballistic missile launch technology.”
The deal accomplishes none of these goals. Rather, Iran receives as much as $150 billion in frozen assets, will reap immense profits from post-sanctions commerce, and can spend as much as it will to promote terrorism. Much of its nuclear infrastructure remains intact and it can continue R&D in weaponization. It may acquire ICBM’s in eight years and will eventually be free to enrich without limitation, enabling it to become a nuclear weapons threshold state and reducing the “breakout time” between enrichment and nuclear weapons to zero.
Administration officials initially promised a deal would include “anytime, anywhere” inspections. This one does no such thing. Instead, a cumbersome, convoluted process to address Iranian violations provides ample time to conceal most kinds of evidence. Iran’s leaders have declared repeatedly that inspection of “military facilities” will not be allowed, and secret side deals between Iran and the IAEA may compound the inspection plan’s flaws.
Russia denies Kerry's claims that leader of elite Iranian force visited Moscow
The Kremlin on Friday denied that the leader of Iran's elite Quds Force had visited Moscow last month to meet with senior Russian figures, a move that would have constituted a violation of international sanctions and travel restrictions placed on key members of the Iranian regime.
Reports emerged in the US media last week that 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.
The reports prompted US Secretary of State John Kerry to express concern to his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in a phone convrsation on Thursday.
Lavrov's deputy, Sergei Ryabkov, denied Friday that Moscow had hosted Suleimani.
“We informed our American colleagues last week that we do not have such information, that Suleimani did not visit Moscow and that we thought the issue was closed,” The New York Times quoted Ryabkov as saying in a briefing.
State Department Confused As To Whether Iranian General Traveled To Russia
A reporter asked Toner if the United States had to be aware of Soleimani’s travels.
“Surely, the U.S. government knows where perhaps the biggest — one of the leading sponsors of terrorism, specifically against Americans in the last several years, is in the world, right?” the reporter asked.
“So just to clarify, Brad, we’re looking into what was the purpose of his travel, the purpose of his meetings, and how and whether sanctions apply to–to his travel,” Toner said.
Fox News reporter James Rosen asked for confirmation of the State Department’s acknowledgement that Soleimani did travel to Moscow.
“You just said you’re looking into his travel, not his alleged travel, correct?” Rosen asked.
“Correct,” Toner said.
“So you do accept it as a fact that the travel occurred?” Rosen asked.
“That’s our understanding, yes,” Toner said.

MEMRI: Khamenei's IRGC Representative: Lebanon, Gaza, Bahrain, Syria Constitute Iran's Essential Strategic Depth
In a speech he delivered on August 10, 2015, Ali Saeedi, the representative of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), said that what impelled the West to hold nuclear negotiations with Iran was the latter's might and strategic depth in the region. He added that the West was trying to erode Iran's strategic depth in Lebanon, Gaza, Bahrain and Syria, which are crucial assets for Iran. The West, he elaborated, is taking advantage of the nuclear deal to raise other issues concerning Iran's involvement in the region, and concessions in this domain could harm Iran's strategic depth and leave it isolated.
Saeedi also stressed that the Supreme National Security Council – which along with other Iranian state institutions is now required to ratify the nuclear deal – must remember that Iran's ballistic missiles program and that the Parchin facility (where the West suspects Iran conducted experiments on developing nuclear weapons), are red lines for the regime.
Lastly, Saeedi addressed the issue of the Assembly of Experts election, slated for February 2016. In light of the recent announcement by the head of the pragmatic camp, Expediency Council chairman Hashemi Rafsanjani, that he would run in this election, Saeedi warned against a flagging of Iran's revolutionary spirit and urged the people to participate in the elections en masse in order to thwart this danger and express their support for the regime.
Bahrain arrests 5 bombing suspects claiming links to Iran
Bahraini authorities have arrested five suspects in connection with a bombing that killed two policemen last month in the Gulf kingdom, and accused them of having links with Iran, the interior ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
Police chief Major General Tariq al-Hasan said the suspects had links with Iran's Revolutionary Guards and Iran-backed Lebanese militant movement Hezbollah - no evidence, however, was produced to substantiate the claim.
The suspects were linked to other "terrorist incidents in Bahrain in recent years," he said in the statement.
The 28 July bombing killed two Bahraini policemen and wounded six others on Sitra island outside the capital Manama, an area often the scene of pro-democracy protests.
The blast came just days after Bahraini authorities claimed they had foiled an attempt to smuggle weapons from Iran. (h/t Yenta Press)
Kuwait Nabs Members of Hezbollah Terror Cell
Kuwait authorities have seized a huge arms cache smuggled from Iraq and hidden beneath houses near the border, arresting three suspected members of a terrorist cell that was plotting to destabilize the country, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing local media.
Majority-Sunni Muslim Kuwait has been on alert since an Islamic State suicide bomber blew himself up at a Shiite mosque in the capital Kuwait city in late June, killing 27 people.
A total of 19,000 kilograms (42,000 lb) of ammunition, 144 kg of explosives, 68 weapons and 204 grenades were seized from three properties in the al-Abdali area, state news agency KUNA said.
The three men arrested were the owners of the houses, it said.
Kuwait's Arabic-language al-Anba newspaper said the cache had been smuggled from Iraq and stored by members of a cell linked to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group.
Contrary to Rumors: Israel Asks US for Larger Military Exercise
Earlier reports that Israel refuses to hold a planned military exercise with the Americans have been nixed – and in fact, Israel is anxious to hold a larger-scale drill than originally planned.
It had been reported that Israel was "upset" with the U.S. over the Iran deal, and was therefore not willing to cooperate militarily, at least temporarily.
Defense News now reports that in actuality, the Israeli military wants to expand, rather than nix, the upcoming drill, known in Israel as JC16.
IDF officers are negotiating with their U.S. counterparts about the upcoming exercise, scheduled for early next year. The Israelis are hoping that with Israel including its new David's Sling missile defense system, the U.S. will bring along its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) batteries.
The Americans have not yet agreed, an Israel Air Force commander told Defense News. The report implied that the earlier reports of Israeli displeasure with the U.S. originated in high Israeli political echelons, but that within the military, it's "business as usual" with the Americans.
Mideast Expert: After Iran Deal, Netanyahu Should be Considered for Nobel Prize
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “unwittingly enabled” the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, Vice President at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars Aaron David Miller argued in Foreign Policy on Thursday.
After decades of pursuing a hard line against Iran’s state-sponsoring of terror and voicing concern over the country’s apparent desire for nuclear weapons (which Iran denies it ever had), it was Netanyahu and Israeli pressure, and threats of a military strike, which created the sense of urgency that brought the U.S. led by President Barack Obama and Iran to the negotiating table, wrote Miller, who quipped that the Israeli premier should be considered for the Nobel Peace Prize should the deal be implemented.
Miller noted that Netanyahu raised the Iranian threat — a position he wrote was infused in the prime minister’s DNA — already in 1995 in his book Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and International Terrorism, and then just a year later during an address to Congress, where he called Iran the “most dangerous” of the Middle East’s “unreconstructed dictatorships whose governmental creed is based on tyranny and intimidation.”
PreOccupiedTerritory: Did I Leave The Nuclear Launch Codes In Vienna? By John Kerry (satire)
Please don’t tell the president. He’d be quite cross with me – might even leak a few of my more sensitive, easily misconstrued cables to the press. I can handle this on my own. I just have to retrace my steps with the briefcase – it was black, of course, with silver trim – and recall when exactly I had it last, where I was, where I was going, and who else was there with me or right afterwards. It didn’t even occur to me to ask an aide to keep an eye on the thing when I went to the bathroom. I thought I’d be in and out, but all those Twizzlers finally kicked in, and, well, let’s just say not much progress was made that evening in negotiations. I finally got back, and only the Iranians were in the room. Wasn’t about to ask them if they’d seen the launch code briefcase – that would have compromised my authority and competence in the talks. So I had to pretend I knew exactly what was happening. By the time I next thought of the codes, I was back in my suite with my staff, planning what concessions to make the next day, and figured I’d just make a thorough check in the morning.
I did check, but no dice, and the next day’s sessions were brutal – the Iranians somehow felt they had reason to be even more confident, more demanding, more intransigent on things they’d shown flexibility on just the night before. That put the briefcase right out of my mind – I had work to do. The next time it occurred to me to look for the codes again, I just resolved to discreetly ask the front desk if anyone had brought them a black-with-silver-trim attache case.
Did that again when I left, and called them again the next day to make sure their cleanup staff hadn’t found anything – but nothing. Which means it must still be in my possession somewhere. I’m going to have to really tear apart my office, maybe my house. This could get annoying.
I hope we don’t need to think about war anytime soon.
US: Just 1 in 3 Approve Obama's Iran Policy
Only one in three Americans approve of President Barack Obama's handling of the situation in Iran, according to a new Gallup poll. This is his lowest rating among eight issues measured in the survey.
These data are from an Aug. 5-9 Gallup poll, conducted as Congress debates the Iran nuclear deal. In February, noted Gallup, Americans gave Iran the lowest favorable rating of 22 countries, and a strong majority felt its development of nuclear weapons posed a "critical" threat to the US.
While 56% of Democrats approve of Obama's handling of the situation in Iran, only a small minority of Republicans – 10% – do so.
“If Congress signs off on the nuclear deal with Iran, it is possible that Obama's approval rating on that front could improve,” estimated Gallup. “But if Congress votes the deal down, Obama's leadership will have suffered a major blow that could further diminish his rating on Iran, and perhaps his overall job performance rating.”
Majority of Independents Disapprove of Obama’s Handling of Iran
A Gallup poll released Thursday indicates that, on his handing of eight key issues including the economy, terrorism and foreign affairs, Obama is rated the worst when it comes his decisions regarding the situation in Iran.
Fifty-five percent of American adults disapprove of Obama’s handling of Iran. Large shares of Republicans and Independents are critical of Obama on the subject, as 82 percent and 58 percent, respectively, disapprove of his handling of Tehran now that the nuclear deal has been finalized.
Democrats are alone in their approval of Obama; only 29 percent express disapproval of the president regarding Iran, while 56 percent accept his decisions. Still, the share of Republicans and Independents viewing the president negatively when it comes to Iran are greater than that of Democrats who approve of him.
Pundits Mock Jewish Hollywood Letter in Support of Iran Nuclear Deal
Well known political commentators took to Twitter on Wednesday to ridicule an open letter published by prominent Hollywood Jews in support of President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.
Jeffrey Goldberg, national correspondent for The Atlantic, sarcastically tweeted, “Have left-handed Jewish gastroenterologists taken a position on the Iran nuclear deal yet?” while former U.S. Department of Defense official Michael Doran posted a series of messages mocking the letter.
“BREAKING: 93 hairdressers from NJ sign petition in favor of the Iran deal, stating they were convinced by the science,” he wrote. “BREAKING: 77 of the best dentists in Florida sign petition in favor the Iran deal, b/c it blocks all the pathways to a bomb.”
Most Palestinians favor Iran’s policies, poll finds
A majority of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza have a favorable view of Iran’s policies, according to a poll conducted at the height of international negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program.
The survey of 919 Palestinians commissioned by The Washington Institute for Near East Policy found that 55 percent of Palestinians in the West Bank and 57 percent in Gaza viewed Iran’s policies favorably, with 29 percent in the West Bank and 13 percent in Gaza rating them as “very good.”
Forty-five percent of West Bank respondents and 43 percent in Gaza gave Iran’s policies a “fairly bad” or “very bad rating.”
The poll was conducted June 7-19, with respondents interviewed on their views of Iran and neighboring countries.
IsraellyCool: Why I support the Iran deal (satire)
As a Jew, I believe it’s every American-Jew’s patriotic duty to support this deal. If you don’t support the deal, then you have dual loyalties to Israel. You are serving AIPAC and a foreign government and do not have the best interest’s of America at heart. Barak Obama certainly has America’s best interests at heart – just look at Benghazi. Or look at how concerned he gets every time there is a terrorist atrocity against US marines or citizens on American soil…. concerned that no one should think to associate these acts of terrorism with Islam. Because it has nothing to do with Islam. The people carrying out these acts are not Muslim – they along with their imams and thousands of their fellow mosque congregants are all just isolated lone wolves. Perhaps they are also a little “troubled.” But good Americans nonetheless.
What is really treacherous, however, is that certain Jews think they can express dissent toward this Iran deal… or worse lobby! There is nothing worse than Jews lobbying! Expressing dissent or an opinion in the US amounts to treason. And for congress to even contemplate opposing this deal? That would be just unconstitutional! As a Jew, I implore you to support this deal. There is nothing more patriotic than giving those who chant “Death to America” and kill Amercians – the bomb. Let’s give Jews a good name. Tikkun olam anyone?
Obama Will Host 'Countering Violent Extremism' Summit with Anti-ISIS Allies
U.S. President Barack Obama is set to host an anti-Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS) “countering violent extremism” summit next month in New York, just one year following his vow during a United Nations speech to destroy ISIS.
The coalition partners will take part in the summit on September 29, Agence France-Presse reports, citing diplomats familiar with the upcoming event.
The Islamic State terror outfit has rapidly expanded since Obama’s speech last year, where he promised to “degrade and destroy” the jihadi insurgency. They have continued to gain territory throughout the Middle East and North Africa, in countries such as Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.
Since Obama’s speech, ISIS has also secured alliances and pledges of allegiance from prominent jihadi groups such as Boko Haram in Nigeria and Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (now the Sinai Province) in the Sinai Peninsula.
The President also promised during that speech to stifle the flow of foreign fighters into Syria and Iraq, but since then, that number has grown to at least 22,000 individuals now fighting for ISIS in the Middle East, according to reports.
'US believes ISIS likely used chemical weapons in Iraq attack'
The United States believes Islamic State militants likely used mustard agent in an attack on Kurdish forces in Iraq earlier this week, the first indication the militant group has obtained a banned chemical weapon, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
"We have credible information that the agent used in the attack was mustard," a senior US official told the Journal.
Islamic State could have obtained the mustard agent in Syria, whose government admitted to having large quantities of the blistering agent in 2013, when it agreed to give up its chemical weapons arsenal, the newspaper reported.
"That makes the most sense," the Journal quoted a senior US official as saying about the possibility that Islamic State obtained the mustard agent in Syria.
Islamic State could also have obtained the mustard agent in Iraq, the Journal reported.
Turkish Barbers See Boom as 'ISIS Has Damaged the Beard Fashion'
As their nation continues its airstrike campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS)), Turkish barbers are seeing a spike in the number of men turning to them to maintain a clean-shaven look that keeps them from looking like members of the jihadist group. The new trend recalls another clean-shaven boom in 2014, when Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists in the southeast targeted bearded men for attack.
“Nineteen ISIL members were detained in Manisa on Aug. 7 and had long beards, so people opted to get their own beards cut in order not to draw attention to themselves,” Manisa Chamber of Barbers and Hairdressers head Ali Batu explained to national newspaper Hurriyet. “In other words, ISIL has damaged the beard fashion but helped our business.”
Batu cited numerous anecdotes from those who work in his industry of experiencing a boom in the business, with many men telling their barbers that it is precisely to avoid looking like an ISIS terrorist that they have come to use their services. “I saw ISIL members everywhere in the news,” said one unnamed man, using the alternate acronym for the group. “I had grown my beard longer but now I’m getting it cut. I don’t want to look like a member of ISIL.”
Hurriyet implies in the piece that this clean-shaven boom appears to be a mostly moral stand against ISIS, not the result of any pressure to avoid danger by not attracting attention. Men simply want to avoid looking like the terrorists they see on their television on whom their government is supposed to have declared war. This situation is somewhat different from that of October 2014, when bearded men were in actual danger of attack from anti-ISIS groups, most notably the PKK, a Marxist terrorist group.
The curious case of Gill Rosenberg
A young Arab-Israeli waiter at a Jerusalem café bashfully asks for a selfie. Gill Rosenberg “the Israeli-Canadian woman who went to Kurdistan to fight ISIS” obliges, smiling though she seems a bit uncomfortable.
The 31-year-old Vancouver native says it’s been like this since she got back to Israel in mid-July – people asking for selfies or honking and waving as they pass her on the street, her feet barely touching the ground as she makes her way through a series of interviews with the press and meetings with politicians past and present.
She says she left Kurdistan when the Iranian imprint on the fighting became a real danger – flying to Paris to meet Israeli-American businessman Moti Kahana, before returning to Israel a week later.
Whatever fighting she may have taken part in against Islamic State, she doesn’t seem a battle-hardened or jaded veteran. There’s an almost nervous way about her, she seems to shake some during the interview. Other than her trademark backward New York Mets cap (“Because they’re the underdogs”), she somewhat gives off the air of a nice Jewish girl from Canada, if one who looks like she could be dangerous if backed into a corner.
Rosenberg first made international news in November 2014, when reports emerged that an Israeli woman had joined Kurdish forces fighting Islamic State. The story became a sensation – a Jewish-Israeli-Canadian woman with a criminal past fighting jihadists is pretty hard to beat – and picked up steam later that month, when unverified reports surfaced that she had been kidnapped by jihadists near Kobani, the Kurdish city that was under siege by Islamic State for some time earlier in 2014.
A day later she killed those rumors by posting a message on Facebook assuring everyone she was not kidnapped. Her story then disappeared from the Israeli press, until she returned in July and the Gill Rosenberg media blitz began. At the moment, she seems to still be catching her breath, staying with friends in the capital and entertaining job offers with humanitarian organizations dealing with the situation in Syria and Iraq, including a Montreal-based group she said raises money to pay ransoms for captive Yazidi and Christian girls.

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