BESA: Worse than a Crime: The Folly of Seeking an Imposed Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
The attempt to impose a solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict is worse than a crime; it is a mistake. Even the whiff of coercion deludes the Palestinian leadership and feeds their hope that they can avoid the hard decisions that are necessary for compromise. It also stiffens resistance within Israel to concessions, undermines the legitimacy of any negotiated outcome, and makes implementation all but impossible.Col. Kemp: Trump and International Security
The notion that an externally imposed solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is viable and ultimately in Israel’s best interest is sheer folly. It proceeds from a set of wrong assumptions: that the failure to achieve a breakthrough is entirely Israel's fault ("the settlements," etc.); that a short sharp shock is all that would be needed to make Israel "come to its senses;" and that the only reason a solution has not yet been imposed is that Israel has been shielded from the consequences of its policies by powerful friends (mainly in the US).
Each of these false assumptions leads to a false conclusion, and following their logic would be counterproductive. To begin with, while not all Israeli actions and positions over the past two decades have been strategically wise (the structure of the Oslo process comes to mind), much of the responsibility for their failure lies with the Palestinians. The Palestinians continue to glorify and reward violence and cling fervently to the hope that they can achieve statehood on their own terms, without conceding Israel's basic need for security, and without recognizing the reciprocal legitimacy of the two national movements.
The Palestinians’ refusal to accept Israel as the embodiment of the right of the Jewish people for national self-determination – indeed, their refusal to accept that there is a Jewish people – undermines what is certainly a basic requirement if peace agreements are to hold.
It is the EU, not Donald Trump, that threatens to undermine NATO and the security of the West. An EU defence union will present a direct threat to NATO, competing for funds, building in duplication and confusion, and setting up rival military structures.Seth Frantzman: Seven policy goals for the Trump administration
"You can't say the past doesn't matter, the values we share don't matter, but instead try to get as much money out of NATO as possible and whether I can get a good deal out of it." — German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen.
This is breath-taking hypocrisy from the defence minister of Germany, which spends less than 1.2% of GDP on defence against an agreed NATO minimum target of 2%, while freeloading off the America's 73% contribution to NATO's overall defence spending.
European leaders would do well to recognize that they need the US more than the US needs them, and that real, concrete, committed defence from the world's greatest military power is more beneficial to them than a fantasy army that will have plenty of flags, headquarters and generals but no teeth.
Trump should also prioritize both practical and moral support to anti-Islamist regimes in the Middle East, such as Sisi's Egypt.
Rather than spreading fear and false propaganda about Donald Trump, they should be praying that he will provide the strength that is so desperately needed today, and working out how best they can support rather than attack him.
‘The world has been undergoing a huge change... it is compounded by the fact that for about a year now foreign policy has been on hold, in the sense that every country has been waiting for the result of the [US] election,” Henry Kissinger told BBC Newsnight last week. Kissinger, who is approaching 94 years old and has influenced policy with 10 US administrations, said that President elect Donald Trump deserves to be given a chance as he develops a foreign policy agenda.
For his part Trump spoke to The Wall Street Journal over the weekend about his agenda. “I’ve had an opposite view of many people regarding Syria,” he said.
He echoed views put forward in debates with Hillary Clinton, suggesting that the US Syria policy was a mess. Iran was “becoming powerful” and America has no idea “who these people are,” referring to the Syrian rebels it has supported. He urged a climbdown from possible conflict with Russia. Trump suggested an “ultimate deal” between Israel and the Palestinians.
Kissinger is one of the few visible foreign policy advisors whose insights Trump sought out during the campaign. Visiting him in May, the Republican candidate obviously impressed Kissinger, who seems to be assured Trump is not the fire starter he came across as during the campaign.
“In public he speaks with great assurance, but some of the proposals he has made most emphatically will encounter obstacles to implementation,” Kissinger told The Atlantic. The former secretary of state laid out some ideas for the problems Trump will face. The US is close to sacrificing its “core national beliefs,” and its reputation as a “shining city on the hill” has been tarnished, he said. “A society has to have a vision of its future, and it cannot be based on guilt primarily.” In a chaotic world the US needed to formulate a coherent policy “based on agreed-upon principles that are necessary for the operation of the entire system.”
So, what is to be done? Let’s look at key policy issues.
Analysis: Settlements bill puts Israel on collision course with Obama
Right-wing ministers on Sunday night put Israel on a collision course with US President Barack Obama over settlements, precisely as he weighs a possible peace initiative or action on settlements at the United Nations Security Council in his last two months in office.High Court rejects state’s appeal to delay Amona evacuation
Throwing diplomatic caution to the wind, the Ministerial Legislative Committee gave their initial approval to legislation to retroactively legalize over 2,000 settler homes, many of which are built on private Palestinian property.
Effectively, should this pass, it could transform dozens of West Bank outposts into new legal settlements, a move that is a red line for the US and the international community.
When Israel spoke of building a new neighborhood in Shiloh, for example, the US immediately issued a “strong condemnation” and accused Israel of reneging on its promise not to build new settlements.
The timing of Sunday’s vote had to do with a last ditch effort to save the unauthorized West Bank outpost of Amona, home to 40 families, which the High Court of Justice has mandated must be demolished by December 25th.
The High Court of Justice on Monday denied a request by the government to postpone the evacuation of the Amona outpost, which was ordered by the court some two years ago.Netanyahu demands apology as Herzog says he didn’t call settlers ‘virus’
“The evacuation must occur before December 25,” the court said in its ruling, the latest twist in an incendiary battle between Israel’s judiciary and the right-wing governing coalition. “The court rejects the delay requested by the state.”
After over a decade of delays and legal wrangling, the High Court ruled in 2014 that the outpost, which lies east of Ramallah, was built on private Palestinian land and must be demolished by December 25. The impending evacuation has threatened to destabilize Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition, which relies heavily on the pro-settlement right.
Earlier this month, the government asked the court to defer the demolition order by a further seven months. Meantime, the government has been trying to formulate legislation to outflank the court, but is now being opposed on that track by its own chief legal official, Atorney General Avichai Mandelblit.
Opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog refused to back down Monday on his use of a contentious term when speaking about a bill that would legalize unauthorized West Bank settler outposts, defying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who demanded he apologize for his comments.PA says it will go to UN over Amona, mosque-muffling bills
The spat was triggered after Herzog, during an interview with Army Radio, said that an ongoing saga surrounding a key outpost was a “virus” that endangers Israeli democracy.
It was unclear from his statement whether Herzog was referring to the settlers, the outpost, the larger settlement enterprise or the legislative effort as a virus, but the comments drew an almost immediate backlash. Later, Herzog said he had been referring to the government’s legislative battle over the outpost with the High Court.
Herzog’s voice was the latest in a string of condemnations against the bill, which aims to stave off a demolition order against the Amona outpost and other illegal settlements, since a panel of ministers gave it a green light Sunday.
His use of the term “virus,” though, raised hackles in a country sensitized to the use of medical terms to demonize others, due to its echoes of Nazi propaganda about Jews.
The Palestinian Authority said Sunday it would strike back at Israel via the UN Security Council to protest two pieces of legislation that would recognize illegal building in the West Bank and ban loudspeakers for Muslim calls to prayer.'Israel is an Arab, Islamic, Palestinian country'
On Sunday night, Israeli ministers backed both controversial measures, giving them an important boost as they head to the Knesset for approval.
The so-called Regulation Bill, which is designed to avert the court-ordered demolition of the West Bank outpost of Amona by December 25, was unanimously approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, despite objections by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.
An hour later, ministers also gave the green light to a separate bill that would bar mosques from using loudspeaker systems for the Muslim call to prayer.
Both bills still need to be passed by the Knesset but will receive the backing of the coalition.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesperson for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, called the Israeli measures “completely rejected,” and said the Palestinian leadership would turn to the UN Security Council and “all international organizations” in order to stop them, the official PA news outlet Wafa reported.
MK Jamal Zahalka (Joint List) blasted on Sunday the proposed “Muezzin Law”, which would ban the use of loudspeakers in houses of worship – a move intended to end the noise pollution caused by mosques using high volume electronic loudspeakers during Islam's five daily calls to prayer.Palestinians: Israeli bill to silence mosques will lead to 'catastrophe'
The Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved the bill on Sunday, clearing the way for its passage by the Knesset.
The proposed piece of legislation, claimed Zahalka, who serves in Israel's Knesset, violates what he claims is the country’s fundamentally Islamic, Arabic, Palestinian character.
Speaking to the Hamas mouthpiece Falastin on Sunday, Zahalka added that anyone bothered by the loud mosque calls to prayer – which can be heard blasting for miles late at night and before dawn – should leave the country and go back where they came from, a thinly-veiled assertion that Jews are not indigenous to the land known in antiquity as “Judea”.
“The muezzin’s voice will continue to thunder across the country, and anyone who doesn’t like that or is irritated by the muezzin’s call to prayer can go back to their place of origin and not have to hear the muezzin.”
The Palestinian leadership has summarily condemned a proposed bill to ban religious institutions from using outdoor loudspeakers. The bill would force mosques to silence their loudspeakers, which call Muslims to prayer.PreOccupiedTerritory: Tel Aviv Professor Calls Introduction Of Right-Wing Bills ‘Microaggression’ (satire)
Nabil Abu Rudeinah, the spokesman of the Palestinian Authority Presidency, said the bill “will lead to catastrophes” upon his arrival in the Turkmenistan, where a PA delegation is participating in an official visit.
“These measures are completely unacceptable and the leadership will go to the Security Council and all international institutions to stop these escalatory Israeli measures,” said Abu Rudeinah, in reference to the loudspeakers bill in addition to another bill, seeking legalize illegal outposts in the West Bank.
A professor of political science at Tel Aviv University warned today that the mere introduction of legislation by lawmakers to the right of Labor on the political spectrum constitutes a microaggression against part of the country’s population, and must therefore be restricted.IDF patrol targeted with IED in West Bank
Anna Smolanibakhyan, an adjunct professor of political theory at the university, wrote in the institution’s internal social sciences journal that members of Knesset from the Likud, Jewish Home, and Yisrael Beiteinu parties must be prohibited from submitting legislative proposals, given that the very encounter with the right-wing mindset represented by those parties is liable to induce low-level trauma in anyone unaccustomed to treating that mindset with anything but horror.
“It is the duty of the State to protect its citizens from harm,” wrote Smolanibakhyan in the journal Cloister. “In keeping with that obligation, the State must institute protocols that forestall or prevent hazards such as the uncritical portrayal of right-wing values or measures, values and measures that run counter to the tolerant, open, accepting ethos that our society should be cultivating.”
Professor Smolanibakhyan wrote further that failure to insulate the public from encountering dangerous, non-progressive ideas that do not by default assume right-wing mendacity and left-wing virtue places Israel in the company of such backward, intolerant societies as the United States, Britain, France, and even Canada, where barely any restrictions exist on political expression.
An improvised explosive device detonated next to an IDF patrol north of the West Bank settlement of Efrat around 8:30 Monday morning, the army said.Israel participates in its first NATO field exercise in 6 years
The explosion, which caused no injuries, occurred as a patrol passed in the vicinity of the Palestinian town of al-Khader near Bethlehem.
According to an IDF spokeswoman, troops are searching for the suspects behind the IED.
Since October 2015, 36 Israelis, two Americans, an Eritrean, a Jordanian and a Sudanese national have been killed in a wave of stabbing, car-ramming, and shooting attacks carried out by Palestinians.
At least 238 Palestinians have also been killed, according to Israeli authorities, the majority of which were perpetrating attacks. Many others have been killed in clashes with Israeli troops in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Despite an overall decline in attacks in recent months, according to the Shin Bet’s monthly report, there was a 30% spike in attacks since September, with 109 attacks in September and 153 attacks in October.
For the first time in more than six years, Israel was allowed to participate in a NATO exercise this week.Palestinian police remove Jewish pilgrims from Joseph’s Tomb
Israel was a full participant in the wide-scale drill held in Montenegro to evaluate the readiness and capabilities of NATO to face natural disasters.
On October 16, 20 Serbians including former ranking police officers were arrested in Montenegro. It was the day the tiny Balkan state situated on the shores of the Adriatic Sea held its important parliamentarian election. The suspects were accused of an attempted coup d’état and planning the assassination of Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic.
The investigation is still under way, but leaks to the local media suggest that Russia was behind the plot, designed to sabotage the election and stop the Djukanovic government from, in 2017, bringing Montenegro into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as its 29th member state.
This week’s exercises were part of its accession preparation, and Montenegro was selected for the exercise because of a series of floods the country has suffered from in the past.
Montenegro – whose name means “Black Mountain” – was the last state to split from Yugoslavia, declaring independence in 2006.
Palestinian police removed a group of Israeli citizens who entered the Joseph’s Tomb holy site in the West Bank city of Nablus early Sunday morning, handing them over to Israeli forces, the army said.JCPA: Reflections on the U.S. Presidential Election and its Implications for American Jewry and the State of Israel
Around dawn, six ultra-Orthodox men traveled to the pilgrimage site in the Palestinian city without coordinating their visit with security forces ahead of time.
On previous occasions, Israeli citizens entering Palestinian cities without escort have come under attack by local residents, normally with rocks being thrown at their vehicles. However, there have been more serious incidents, including the deadly lynching of two Israeli reservists who accidentally entered Ramallah in 2000.
Four of the Hasidim were picked up by Palestinian security officers and handed over to the Israel Police, a military spokesperson said.
The other two men left the area by themselves, she said.
The victory of Donald Trump has fundamentally transformed the place of America’s Jewish community within the political arena. The surprise victory represents an election tsunami for Jews and other key Democratic constituencies.Trump's Difficult Ally in Ankara
A key to this year’s results has to do with a significant number of Republican victories across the nation in state and local campaigns that will have a profound long-term impact on elections.
New Americans including Latinos, Asian-Americans, and other constituencies through their participation will be redefining the electoral voter rolls within this nation. The Jewish community can forge a bridge of understanding and engagement between these new constituencies and the American mainstream. This is a role the community relations organizations have undertaken for decades in the United States.
The stark reality is that in this campaign Jews voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton. A New York Times exit poll suggested that 71 percent of American Jews supported the Secretary of State, while some 24 percent of Jewish voters endorsed Donald Trump.
While many American Jews are indeed distraught over this political outcome, they too will embrace the new administration, seeking to find ways to work with President-elect Trump in moving this nation forward. The American story goes on!
They will have to deal with a man who says he does not mind being called a dictator.Israel’s Netanyahu Warns Ministers Not to Publicly Predict Trump’s Mideast Moves
Most recently, the World Justice Project placed Turkey 99th out of 113 countries on its Rule of Law Index 2016, performing even worse than Myanmar and Iran.
Turkey is also now the world's biggest jailer of journalists and academics. It also claims the title of the world's biggest jailer of opposition politicians.
There is little Europe can do about the new dictatorship emerging at its doors. Germany is offering dissidents asylum. But asylum can only be an individual, tentative solution for a few Turks when at Erdogan's target are millions.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cautioned his cabinet ministers not to turn to the media with their predictions of what US President-elect Donald Trump’s policy will be toward Israel.Report: Israeli Defense Establishment Sees Trump Victory as Opportunity to Remove Obama Restrictions on Military Aid
“Allow the incoming administration to formulate – together with us – its policy vis-à-vis Israel and the region, through accepted and quiet channels, and not via interviews and statements,” Netanyahu said on Sunday.
Netanyahu told the cabinet of his phone conversation last week with Trump, whom he said “expressed very deep friendship for Israel, a friendship which has characterized him and, I must add, also the team around him, for many years.
“In recent years, we have wisely and responsibly managed our relations with the United States – the greatest and most important of our allies – and we will continue to do so in the coming months and years,” Netanyahu said.
He explained that Trump has invited him to come to the United States at the earliest opportunity.
Leaving the political echelon to ponder the attitude of US President-elect Donald Trump towards the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Jewish state’s defense establishment is waiting — with cautious optimism — to see how the new administration develops a Middle East strategy as a whole, and to maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region, the Hebrew news site Walla reported on Sunday.U.S. Embassy: Next Year in Jerusalem?
According to the report, Israeli defense officials view Trump’s surprising victory last week as a source of hope, both due to statements the candidate made during his campaign about the Iran nuclear deal, and as a result of the strong pro-Israel make-up of Congress, which could override restrictions placed by the outgoing Obama administration on the $38 billion in defense aid to Israel over the next 10 years.
However, Walla said, these officials are also following the events in Washington closely as a cause for potential concern. For example, where the Islamic Republic is concerned, though Israel was heartened by Trump’s claim during the AIPAC Policy Conference in March that he would rip up the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action signed with world powers in July last year, subsequent statements made by the soon-to-be occupier of the Oval Office indicated a backtrack on that threat.
He also vowed that when he became president he’d relocate the U.S. embassy from its current beachside location in Tel Aviv to the Holy City.New York Times Coverage of Jews, Israel, Is as Slanted as Its Coverage of Trump
Now, some are saying that once he’s in the Oval Office, Trump will go back on his word.
In his outspoken reaction to the U.S. election results, PLO Executive Committee member Tayseer Khaled called Trump a liar, predicting that contrary to his promises, he wouldn’t transfer the embassy.
Even one of Trump’s own advisors is reportedly skeptical that the move will happen anytime soon. In an interview for BBC radio which was also publicized by CNN last Thursday, Walid Phares added a “caveat” to Trump’s campaign pledge: he would relocate the embassy, but only after a “consensus” had been reached.
So will Trump do what he said he’d do?
Some of the best illustrations of anti-Jewish bias by the New York Times come when the newspaper writes the same story about Judaism and another religion or culture. Then we have the chance to compare the results side by side.Trump to Designate Muslim Brotherhood as Terror Org.
I’ve written in the past about the issue of women-only hours in public swimming pools. When the separate swimming time was established to accommodate Muslims in Toronto, the Times praised it as a “model of inclusion.” When a pool in Brooklyn did it in part to accommodate Orthodox Jewish women, the Times wrote an editorial denouncing the practice and suggesting that the Jews smelled. Similarly, a Times column denounced the use of chickens in a Jewish ritual, but another Times article reported on a Senegalese ritual involving caged birds without making any objections on behalf of the welfare of the birds.
Yet the Times just seems to keep spitting out these examples of double standards in coverage, and the Jews seem to just always come out with a worse deal than the other groups the Times is writing about.
Donald Trump will work to pass legislation designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, said Walid Phares, a foreign policy advisor for the president-elect.Report: Senior Iranian Cleric Warns President-Elect Trump 'Not to Play Around' With Tehran; Says Democrats, Republicans Both in 'Service of Zionists'
Speaking to the Egyptian news outlet Youm7, Phares said the legislation, which was already approved by the House Judiciary Committee earlier this year and referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was held up due to the Obama administration’s support of the group.
Clarion Project spearheaded a campaign to educate legislators and move the bill forward over the past year. The bill currently has bipartisan support.
In November of 2015, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced the bill, which identifies three Brotherhood entities in the U.S. including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
"We have to stop pretending that the Brotherhood are not responsible for the terrorism they advocate and finance … We have to see it for what it is: a key international organization dedicated to waging violent jihad," Cruz told the Washington Free Beacon at the time.
A senior Iranian cleric warned US President-elect Donald Trump during prayers on Friday “not [to] play around with Iran,” and vowed that the Islamic Republic would “resist until our last breath” if any actions not to the regime’s approval are undertaken, the country’s semi-official news agency Fars reported.Sidney Blumenthal: ‘Right-Wing’ FBI Agents Took Down Hillary In A ‘Coup D’Etat’
Addressing a congregation on the campus of Tehran University, Ayatollah Seyed Ahmad Khatami – a member of the Assembly of Experts, which appoints and dismisses the country’s supreme leader (currently Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) – said Trump should “be careful not [to] give the lion’s tail [Iran] another twist,” or suffer the consequences.
Though Khatami did not specify either what form this “resistance” would take or the nature of the repercussions to which he alluded, he was clear about his opinion of the American political system.
“The [Democrats and Republicans] are the same,” he said. “Both of them are at the service of the Zionists.”
Nevertheless, Khatami softened his rhetoric to express “hope that the new US president will fulfill his recent statements that he does not want tensions with any other country, and if not, at least come to know the Iranian nation and avoid doing anything wrong.”
Longtime Clinton insider Sidney Blumenthal claims that a group of “right-wing agents” in the FBI staged a coup d’etat to prevent Hillary Clinton from being elected president.Syrian Rebels Ask #notmypresident Campaigners Whether They Want to Swap (satire)
Blumenthal, a former journalist who has been nicknamed “Grassy Knoll” by some in Clintonworld because of his tendency to latch on to conspiracy theories, made the charge in an interview on Dutch television after Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump.
“It was the result of a cabal of right-wing agents of the FBI in the New York office attached to Rudy Giuliani, who was a member of Trump’s campaign,” said Blumenthal, who emailed frequently with Clinton while she was secretary of state.
“I think it’s not unfair to call it a coup,” added Blumenthal, who served in the Bill Clinton White House aide and was said to be an informal adviser to Hillary Clinton.
Rebel fighters in Aleppo have taken to social media to ask whether #notmypresident protestors are interested in an exchange program.‘Never Trump’ GOP preparing to work with Trump to squeeze Iran
Nabir Younis took time from being bombed by Russian warplanes to comment, “Don’t get me wrong, we are all sympathetic to those saddened by their candidates’ loss last Tuesday. Only yesterday Mahmud and I were discussing how infuriating it must be that the democratic system in place since The Constitutional Convention of 1787 would suddenly be inconvenient to you. Sadly, our discussion was interrupted by a mortar round that blew both his legs off.”
“So really if anyone from Portland is interested in taking our places here, then you can be sure that we’d be very happy to carry some placards around and do some light chanting. We understand your police use ‘rubber’ bullets. That’s cute.”
“My only advice to any students taking us up on the offer is not to hold up your banners too high, bright colors tend to attract those pesky snipers.”
Republicans in Congress who vigorously opposed Donald Trump’s run for president are now preparing to work with the incoming Trump administration on a number of foreign policy and national security issues where their policies overlap. First on their agenda is drastically increasing sanctions on Iran.Iran Breaches Nuclear Deal - Again. What's Next?
“There are several issues that I can work with the new president on, the Iran deal being number one,” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who voted for independent candidate Evan McMullin, told me. “Trump has been right about the Iran deal, it needs to be renegotiated. I’m going to create leverage for him.”
On the first day Congress is back in session, Graham said he and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) will reintroduce the Iran Ballistic Missile Sanctions Act, which was first introduced by outgoing Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.).
The legislation would expand the non-nuclear related sanctions on Iran to include entire sectors of the Iranian economy that aid in Iran’s ballistic missile program. It would also sanction any Iranian companies or organizations that support the missile program.
The strategy is to tighten the noose on Iran such that if and when President Trump tries to renegotiate the Iran deal, as he promised to do on the campaign trail, the Iranians will be under more pressure to come to the table.
“I want to help Trump on Iran. One way is to reimpose sanctions outside the conduct of the nuclear deal,” said Graham. “I hope this will help President Trump get a better deal.”
President Obama is ignoring Iran's latest violations, and the UN and IAEA reports as well.
In fact, the administration, and State Department spokesman Mark Toner, are defending Iran on this issue, and appear willing to give critical concessions to Iran in the next round of talks in Baghdad this week.
In other words, Iranian leaders would be capable of more freely continuing their nuclear ambition without probing from the IAEA or the international community.
Iran has not yet allowed the IAEA "probes of various high-profile Iranian sites. The International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano is investigating whether Tehran has secretly worked on developing nuclear weapons.
Although the nuclear agreement heavily favors Iran and the main UN Security Council sanctions against Iran have already been lifted, Tehran continues to cheat and violate the terms of this weak nuclear pact.
Turning a blind eye to Iran's violations will only further empower and embolden Tehran to pursue its nuclear and hegemonic ambitions; ignore UN resolutions and international laws; scuttle US foreign policy objectives, and damage security interests.