Friday, July 17, 2015

From Ian:

The ICC declares war on Israel
The Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court, for the first time in its history, has ordered the ICC Prosecutor to pursue an investigation she has decided to close. The Chamber ruled that the Prosecutor was wrong to close the preliminary investigation into war crimes charges against Israel for crimes allegedly committed in boarding the Mavi Marmara and other vessels during the flotilla incident of 2010.
The ruling of the Pre-Trial Chamber is remarkable.
It holds that the Prosecutor should have taken into account facts and actions that are outside the jurisdiction of the court in deciding whether to bring charges.
It holds that the Prosecutor should assume the truth of even the wildest accusations in deciding whether to bring charges; in other words, there should be an irrebuttable presumption of guilt in the preliminary investigation stage.
And most shockingly, it holds that crimes have sufficient gravity to interest the court, even if they have very few actual victims, as long as they are widely covered by the media, and are subject to a lot of political activity at the UN.
Needless to say, none of these holdings are accompanied by any citation to precedent. That’s because they are without any precedent. (h/t Yenta Press)
The Pre-Trial Chamber’s Dangerous Comoros Review Decision
It will be the rare situation indeed that does not satisfy Art. 53(1)(a) and Art. 53(1)(b). How many non-frivolous referrals do not contain allegations of at least one crime within the Court’s jurisdiction? And how many situations will fail gravity analysis in light of the PTC’s insistence that a situation involving only low-level perpetrators and less than a dozen deaths is grave enough for a formal investigation? If allowed to stand, then, the PTC’s decision will force the OTP to either open formal investigations into literally dozens of situations (including all of the current situations it is preliminarily examining) or decline to investigate specifically on the basis of interests of justice — the one criterion, according to the PTC, where it maintains considerable discretion. Given the OTP’s evident resource limitations, that is not really a choice.
And therein lies true danger of the PTC’s Comoros decision. Recall what I said earlier: when the OTP declines to open a formal investigation because a situation does not include a crime within the Court’s jurisdiction or because the situation is not adequately grave, the PTC can only request the OTP reconsider its decision not to investigate. The current decision is an example. But when the OTP declines to open a formal investigation because such an investigation would not be in the interests of justice, the PTC can demand the OTP reconsider. In practice, then, the Comoros decision will force the OTP to decline to open investigations on the one ground that is always subject to “hard” review by the PTC.
Put more simply: if the Comoros decision is allowed to stand, the PTC will have given itself final say over all OTP decisions not to open a formal investigation into a situation. That is fundamentally incompatible with the Rome Statute’s guarantee of prosecutorial independence, and it is not acceptable.
PM slams ICC demand to reopen probe into Mavi Marmara raid
Netanyahu said the Israel Navy commandos involved acted in self-defense, on a mission to maintain an internationally backed naval blockade. The ICC judges’ move was “motivated by cynical politics,” he claimed. Israel’s soldiers, he added, would “continue to keep Israel safe,” and Israel would “continue to protect them in the international arena.
“At a time when [Bashar] Assad in Syria is slaughtering tens of thousands of his own people, when Iran is executing hundreds and Hamas in Gaza is using children as human shields, the court chooses to deal with Israel for cynical political reasons,” he charged.
“Against this hypocrisy, our soldiers will continue to protect us in the field and we will defend them in the international arena,” he said.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon termed the move hypocritical and scandalous.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) said the ICC judges making the demand had been mobilized by Palestinian “incitement.”
“It’s very puzzling to me why the International Criminal Court would decide to open a probe into soldiers who defended themselves against brutal attacks by terrorists aboard the Marmara,” she said in a statement to the press.
“There are Palestinian actors who are trying all the time to incite international bodies against Israel. I hope those same bodies will be able to identify the incitement and not help it along,” she went on.

Lapid Says ICC is 'Anti-Semitic' and 'Hypocritical'
Yesh Atid chairman MK Yair Lapid on Thursday night described the International Criminal Court (ICC) as “anti-Semitic” and “hypocritical”, following its decision to reopen a case accusing Israel of "war crimes" in its handling of the May 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla to Gaza.
"When it comes to Israel the hypocrisy is record-breaking," Lapid wrote on his Facebook page. "Five years ago naval fighters took over the Marmara. The terrorists on board attacked the IDF soldiers and during the altercation, nine of them were killed.”
"As usual,” he continued, “Israel's enemies tried to turn to the International Criminal Court, but its chief prosecutor examined the case and decided there was no place to open an investigation. Since then, more than a quarter million people have been killed in Syria, [and] 20,000 people have been killed in confrontations with Boko Haram in Africa.
"More than 30,000 have been killed in Afghanistan. About 14,000 in Libya. 6,500 in Ukraine. But the judges of the court in The Hague - which was set up to investigate mass atrocities, not local incidents of fighting terrorism - are apparently not interested in the fact that millions of people have been killed since the flotilla,” continued Lapid, who noted that it has already been proven that no war crime was committed on the Marmara, and yet the judges called on the prosecutor to reopen the investigation.
"Why? Because the world continues as usual with its new anti-Semitism, manifested in an attempt to discredit the IDF, the most moral army in the world,” wrote Lapid.
Caroline Glick: Obama’s age of nuclear chaos
No, a successful Israeli attack cannot turn back the clock. Israel cannot replace the US as a regional superpower, dictating policy to our neighbors. But a successful attack on Iran’s nuclear program along with the adoption of a vigilantly upheld strategy of active nuclear defense can form the basis of a successful Israeli nuclear defense system.
And no, Israel shouldn’t be overly concerned with how Obama will respond to such actions.
Just as Obama’s nuclear capitulation to Iran has destroyed his influence among our Arab neighbors, so his ability to force Israel to sit on the sidelines as he gives Iran a nuclear arsenal is severely constrained.
How will he punish Israel for defying him? By signing a nuclear deal with Iran that destroys 70 years of US nonproliferation strategy, allows the Iranian regime to grow rich on sanctions relief, become a regional hegemon while expanding its support for terrorism and develop nuclear weapons? Years from now, perhaps historians will point out the irony that Obama, who loudly proclaims his goal of making the world free of nuclear weapons, has ushered in an era of mass nuclear proliferation and chaos.
Israel can ill afford the luxury of pondering irony.
One day the nuclear Furies Obama has unleashed may find their way to New York City.
But their path to America runs through Israel. We need to ready ourselves to destroy them before they cross our border.
Sarah HonigAnother tack: Like a hunk of clay
In all fairness, even politicians sometimes deserve a break. To whit it behooves us to admit that:
1. Barack Obama didn’t always lie about his Iranian fixation.
2. Benjamin Netanyahu couldn’t have ever stopped Obama.
3. Hillary Clinton is the only one who can stop Obama (despite her knee-jerk endorsement for his grand betrayal).
Let’s start at the top. Obama may have willfully led all and sundry astray as he pursued his courtship of the Iranian ayatollahs. He did fib prodigiously while allowing himself to be outmaneuvered by them at every turn.
He couldn’t have been more disingenuous than when he denied his capitulation on every point and when extolled a deal that is far more laughable than the travesty which Bill Clinton concluded in 1994.
Like a dilettante neophyte at a Tehran bazaar, Obama haggled with the Iranians without ever threatening them, while openly evincing a rush to meet artificial deadlines of his own making and oozing eagerness to strike the bargain at any price. He blundered spectacularly.
JPost Editorial: The Jewish response
Jews, in short, have a knack for maintaining a positive, proactive outlook despite setbacks and defeats. It is part of our culture. It is a secret to our success. And it comes in handy as we cope with what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to as a “stunning historic mistake.”
The preeminent terrorist state of the 21st century, which both in word and deed has worked to “wipe Israel off the map,” has effectively been transformed into an internationally recognized threshold nuclear state and has received an OK to reenter the world community of legitimate nation states.
This is bad for the Jews. But what is the best Jewish response? First of all, our leaders must not give up hope that the very bad deal can be amended if not blocked altogether. It may seem nearly impossible to muster a two-thirds majority in the US Congress that would be willing to override a veto by US President Barack Obama.
But Jews have not been dissuaded by seemingly insurmountable obstacles in the past, why start now? The very raison d’etre of a Jewish state is to chart an independent foreign policy with Jewish interests in mind. Jews have been subject to the whims of various host nations throughout their long exile. At the very least we must be grateful that, no matter how dire the situation, we are today in an unfathomably better position to protect ourselves than ever before in history.
Even if Israel’s efforts to torpedo the nuclear weapon deal with Iran ultimately fail, not all is lost. Along with new dangers come new opportunities.
Charles Krauthammer: Worse than we could have imagined
When you write a column, as did I two weeks ago, headlined “The worst agreement in U.S. diplomatic history,” you don’t expect to revisit the issue. We had hit bottom. Or so I thought. Then on Tuesday the final terms of the Iranian nuclear deal were published. I was wrong.
Who would have imagined we would be giving up the conventional arms and ballistic missile embargoes on Iran? In nuclear negotiations?
When asked Wednesday at his news conference why there is nothing in the deal about the American hostages being held by Iran, President Obama explained that this is a separate issue, not part of nuclear talks.
Are conventional weapons not a separate issue? After all, conventional, by definition, means non-nuclear. Why are we giving up the embargoes?
Because Iran, joined by Russia — our “reset” partner — sprung the demand at the last minute, calculating that Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry were so desperate for a deal that they would cave. They did. And have convinced themselves that they scored a victory by delaying the lifting by five to eight years. (Ostensibly. The language is murky. The interval could be considerably shorter.)
Sherman Corrects Reporter on Iran Hostages: Actually, They’re ‘Detainees’
Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman schooled a reporter on the proper terminology to use when discussing American hostages in Iran on Thursday.
“Did the hostages ever come up [during nuclear talks] or were they only a sideline issue?” a reporter asked during the State Department press briefing.
“Well the Americans, we probably legally would not call them hostages,” Sherman instructed the reporters. She suggested the term “detainees” instead, and assured the press that “our focus of attention has been and always will be” bringing home the four American hostages.
The word “hostage” carries historical baggage in the context of relations between Iran and the United States because of the 52 American citizens who were held hostage by the fledgling Islamic republic between 1979 and 1981. The 444 day hostage crisis was a particularly poignant example of the Iranian regime’s anti-Americanism, which persists to this day.
History's sense of humor
Many parallels can be drawn between the 1993-1995 Oslo Accords, which Israel negotiated with the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and the Vienna agreement some 20 years later, which Western powers, headed by the United States, negotiated with the Islamic Republic of Iran. In both cases, eager negotiators representing the Western worldview were keen to strike a "historic" agreement with a terrorist group/state. In both cases the ultimate goal was to compel the terrorist entity to abandon its aggressive aspirations and to embrace peace.
In both instances, the other side -- the PLO or Iran -- was in dire straits diplomatically, economically and militarily when the talks began. They would have likely accepted almost any dictate, had Western powers, in Iran's case, or Israel in the PLO's case, been patient and persistent enough to stand their ground, insist on their demands, maintain economic pressure and not let go of the double-edged sword at the terrorists' necks.
In both instances, rightist and conservative figures warned that the agreement would be a historic mistake. In both instances, comparisons were drawn to the 1938 Munich Agreement -- the peace accord signed by Western powers with Nazi Germany that sacrificed Czechoslovakia by handing Germany what came to be known as the Sudetenland and leaving the Czechs exposed. The comparison is not entirely accurate, but Western appeasement toward aggressive tyranny is a running motif. The people who documented that period, including Hitler's associates, say that Hitler did not believe that the Western powers would behave in the way that they did, and their capitulation convinced him of their weakness, paving the path to the terrible war that ensued.
An Alternative to Obama’s Bad Deal
The argument is simple — and oft-repeated. As Obama never gets tired of saying: “Without a deal we risk even more war in the Middle East.” In other words, there is no credible alternative to the current agreement–since no one presumably is in favor of “more war.”
Obama’s argument is superficially compelling but breaks down on several levels.
First, his deal with Iran makes war more, not less, likely. After all, even by the best case scenario, at the end of ten years’ time Iran will be left as a nuclear threshold state — only a turn of the screw away from being a full-fledged nuclear power — with a powerful arsenal of conventional weapons and ballistic missiles. In the meantime, Tehran would have been enriched with well over $100 billion, some portion of which undoubtedly will be used to support terrorists and militias in neighboring states.
Faced with the growing power of the new Persian Empire, the Arab states will not stand idle. They will arm themselves with more conventional and nuclear weapons, and they will support Sunni extremist groups such as the Nusra Front and possibly even the Islamic State as a hedge against Iranian-supported proxies such as Hezbollah and the Badr Organization and the Houthis. This is a recipe for an even more combustible Middle East where the risk of war rises, not falls.
And — a significant point — the kind of war we risk in the future is far worse than in the present. Fighting an Iran armed with nuclear weapons and the best conventional arms and ballistic missiles that their oil billions can buy will be substantially more difficult than fighting today’s Iran which is still severely constrained by sanctions. In fact, a conflict with Iran today would most likely resemble Bill Clinton’s Operation Desert Fox, four days of air strikes against Iraq in 1998. A conflict with Iran in the future will be a much more serious undertaking. That will make Iran feel bullet-proof as it expands its domination of a region with nearly half of the world’s proven oil reserves.
Straight Talk: The World has just Abandoned Israel and the Jews
The Palais Coburg, the luxurious hotel in Vienna where the West signed the agreement on the nuclear issue of Iran, is located in a particular square. It is named after Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism.
History has a more developed sense of irony than the Western leaders who capitulated to Tehran. Because a nuclearized Iran would mean the end of Zionism.
We don’t know if Iran will actually manufacture the Islamic nuclear bomb. We don’t know if Israel will use its military power to stop it. But we certainly know that the world has just abandoned the State of Israel and the Jewish people.
The US abandoned it. The US, which didn’t rescue the Jews during the Holocaust and didn’t help the Jews defend themselves during the 1948 war of survival and independence when they were attacked by five Arab armies. Barack Obama showed his real face by preferring Islam to Israel and Western civilization.
The UK abandoned it. The UK, which used the “White Paper” during the Second World War to prevent the Jews from reaching Tel Aviv and saving themselves from the gas chambers.
The European Union abandoned it. The same Europe on whose soil Hitler planned the extermination of one third of the world’s Jewry.
The Western conscience abandoned it.
Netanyahu: Iran Deal A Threat To U.S.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sat down with NBC News' Lester Holt Wednesday to discuss the threat posed by the president's "landmark Iran nuclear deal."
Explaining that he has a "moral obligation to speak up" about the dangers of the deal, Netanyahu stressed that it was a threat not just to Israel and the Middle East, but to the U.S.
"We think this is not only a threat to us. We think this is a threat to you as well," said Netanyahu. "Iran has killed more Americans than anyone other than al Qaeda."
"They're going to get hundreds of billions of dollars to fuel their terror and military machine," said Netanyahu, referencing what NBC News' write-up of the interview attempted to downplay as simply "some relief" from economic sanctions. Analysts predict that the deal will result in over a hundred billion dollars flowing into the Iranian regime's coffers.
Despite President Obama's assurances that the deal makes it impossible for Iran to further its nuclear program, Netanyahu suggested that perspective was naive, and argued that Iran can now obtain nuclear weapons in two different ways.
"I think Iran has two paths to the bomb: One if they keep the deal, the other if they cheat on the deal," he said. The inspections, he argued, are worthless because inspectors must provide the regime 24-days' notice before going in.
Iran won’t be able to cheat on nuclear deal, Kerry says
The 24-day period has come under fire from critics of the deal who say it will give Iran time to hide any incriminating evidence that it is covertly seeking nuclear weapons.
“Traces of uranium, traces of any kind, fissile material are traceable and are very, very hard to get rid of,” Kerry insisted on MSNBC, giving the example of how the Iranians have denied access to its military site of Parchin, just outside Tehran
Iran has for years rejected IAEA requests to visit the site and denies ever having worked on developing a nuclear weapon, saying Parchin is a non-nuclear facility.
“Iran has been deathly afraid of the IAEA having access to Parchin years later,”Kerry said.
“If they are afraid of us having entry because we might find something years later, I can assure you our intelligence community is completely comfortable that 24 days is not enough time for them to be able to evade our technical means, our capacity to observe,” Kerry said.
Israeli official: US aid package can't make up for Iran deal
When The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Israel had declined an enhanced aid package, offered by U.S. President Barack Obama as a "consolation prize" for the nuclear deal with Iran, a high-ranking Israeli official responded by saying that nothing could compensate Israel for the threat that an Iranian deal poses.
"How can anything compensate for an arsenal of nuclear weapons held by a terrorist regime that intends to destroy you?" he wondered. "Under the agreement, all the restrictions on Iran's nuclear program will be lifted in 10 years. They could manufacture hundreds of bombs within zero breakout time."
According to The New York Times report, Obama called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday and offered to increase the military aid package that the U.S. already gives to Israel, in an effort to assuage Jerusalem's fears over the nuclear deal. The paper quoted U.S. administration officials as saying that Obama offered to hold "intensive discussions with Mr. Netanyahu on what more could be done to bolster Israel's defenses."
But according to Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, Netanyahu has not responded to Obama's request to discuss the proposition. One administration official who declined to be named speculated that Netanyahu declined the proposal because he believes that accepting the package would be tantamount to giving his blessing to the deal, thereby legitimizing it. Obama himself hinted that Netanyahu was delaying a discussion on the proposal until after Congress has had time to review the deal and vote on it.
Netanyahu Reiterates That Jerusalem is Israel’s Capital, Opposition to Nuclear Deal
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated to British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond that the capital of Israel is Jerusalem, though the U.K. embassy may remain in Tel Aviv.
Hammond’s visit to Israel was aimed at addressing the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers announced on Tuesday, and vociferously opposed by Israel.
During a meeting between the two in Jerusalem, Netanyahu addressed comments by Hammond earlier this week that no international deal on Iran’s nuclear program would have been “welcomed in Tel Aviv.”
“The alternative [to the current agreement] is a better deal that would roll back Iran’s military nuclear program and tie the easing of restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program to changes in Iran’s behavior. That’s the kind of deal that would be welcomed in Tel Aviv and here in Israel’s capital, Jerusalem,” said Netanyahu.
We never thought Iran deal was cure-all, Hammond tells Israeli TV
World powers never expected the nuclear agreement signed Tuesday with Iran to have an immediate impact on the Islamic Republic’s actions, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told Israeli television on Thursday, but over time and with growing engagement, the regime could become more moderate.
“We never pretended this solves all our problems with Iran,” Hammond told Channel 2, as he attempted to sway the opinion of Israelis toward the deal.
However, he explained, “We know from experience that countries that have multiple engagements… do face constraints and do moderate their behavior.”
Britain is one of the six world powers — along with China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States — that struck the agreement with Iran after a 13-year standoff over its disputed nuclear program.
Obama's Ex-Middle East Adviser Admits Iran Will Cheat
Dennis Ross, a longtime diplomat who was an architect of the 1993 Oslo Accords and who served as US President Barack Obama's Middle East Adviser until 2011, admitted this week that Iran will cheat on the nuclear deal signed with world powers on Tuesday.
In an op-ed in Time magazine on Wednesday, Ross began by saying the deal has some merits, stating that in the estimation of Obama's administration "it has blocked the Iranian pathway to a bomb for at least the next fifteen years."
However, he noted the deal also has severe shortcomings, warning, "knowing Iran has cheated is one thing; ensuring that there is a price for every transgression - no matter how small - is another."
The deal stipulates a "snapback" of sanctions in cases of an Iranian breach, but as Ross noted that option would only be used in major breaches, since Iran said in the deal that it will nullify the agreement if sanctions are re-imposed.
Opposition Leader Herzog: Iran Deal “Will Unleash a Lion from the Cage”
The nuclear deal with Iran will “unleash a lion from the cage,” creating “clear risks to Israel’s security,” Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog told Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic in an interview published today.
The deal just finalized in Vienna, [Herzog] said, “will unleash a lion from the cage, it will have a direct influence over the balance of power in our region, it’s going to affect our borders, and it will affect the safety of my children.”
Iran, he said, is an “empire of evil and hate that spreads terror across the region,” adding that, under the terms of the deal, Iran “will become a nuclear-threshold state in a decade or so.” Iran will take its post-sanctions windfall, he said, and use the funds to supply more rockets to Hezbollah in Lebanon, more ammunition to Hamas in Gaza, and “generally increase the worst type of activities that they’ve been doing.”

“The Iran deal represents one of those rare issues that has unified Israelis of most political parties,” Goldberg observed.
'Let them die from their anger'- Iran cleric cites Israeli, Saudi rancor as sign of success
Under the deal agreed on Tuesday, sanctions will be gradually removed in return for Iran accepting long-term curbs on a nuclear program that the West has suspected was aimed at creating a nuclear bomb. Iran says its nuclear work is for civilian purposes.
"Iranians should accept a deal only if our rights and all the red lines are preserved and the Islamic Revolution's ideals, especially the fight against global arrogance, are not put aside and forgotten. All cruel sanctions should be lifted immediately, all blocked revenues should be released and no damage should be done to our Islamic and national pride," Kermani said in an address broadcast on radio.
Kermani also praised Iran's negotiators for their work in the marathon talks in Vienna, saying Tehran's negotiating partners had been forced to retreat.
"With the wise efforts of the honorable president and the untiring efforts and strong logic of the negotiating team in the negotiating arena, the opposite side was forced to retreat and accept just speech and acknowledge the rights of Iranians."
"Israel and its allies, especially Saudi Arabia, are extremely unhappy about this deal, and this is the best proof to show how valuable the deal is. As Iran's martyred cleric, Beheshti, used to say, 'Let them be angry and die from their anger'."
AIPAC employees told to ax summer vacation plans and gear up to fight Iran deal
Cancel your summer vacations.
That was the order AIPAC’s executive director, Howard Kohr, gave his employees in a staff meeting convened this week at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee after the United States announced the Iran nuclear deal.
With the influential pro-Israel lobby group pushing for Congress to reject the deal negotiated by the Obama administration, it’s all hands on deck. Lay leaders, too, are canceling their summer plans, and AIPAC activists already are calling lawmakers and hitting synagogue listservs with appeals to can the plan.
The two months that Congress has to review the deal will feature a pitched battle pitting the Obama administration and backers of the agreement against opponents and the Israeli government.
“We’ve regularly engaged with the Jewish community in the context of these negotiations,” a senior White House official told JTA on Thursday. “And now that we have a deal, we feel it’s important to continue and even accelerate this engagement.”
Bring it on, deal opponents are saying.
CUFI on the Hill: Christian Zionist Group Ramps Up DC Office Amid Iran Deal
While the ink dries on the newly signed nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, America’s largest pro-Israel organization is seeking to help defeat the agreement in Congress through the work of its nascent office in Washington, DC.
San Antonio-based Christians United for Israel (CUFI), which during 10 years of existence has grown to 2.2 million members, is beginning to hire staff for a new entity dubbed the “CUFI Action Fund.” Headed by Gary Bauer—the U.S. under secretary of education in the administration of former president Ronald Reagan—the Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) organization, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) designation for tax-exempt groups dedicated to social welfare, meaning that it will have more leeway on political activities than the 501(c)(3)-status CUFI. The influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobby, too, is a 501(c)(4) group.
Bauer told a small group of reporters at CUFI’s annual Washington Summit this week that because the Iran nuclear deal has failed to meet the Obama administration’s own stated standards, “we’re going to go all out, as challenging as it will be, to get the 67 votes that we will need in the United States Senate” to nix the deal. (Sixty-seven Senate votes against the agreement will enable Congressional rejection of the deal to override a presidential veto.)
Once it is fully operational, the CUFI Action Fund will deliver daily reports to every Congressional office on issues related to the U.S.-Israel alliance, according to Bauer.
‘If Obama Wants Honest Debate on ObamaDeal, Why Threaten a Veto?’
American Jewish leader Malcolm Hoenlein said on Friday that President Barack Obama’s immediate threat to veto Congressional rejection of the agreement with Iran shows he does not really want an honest discussion on ObamaDeal.
Hoenlein, executive vice-chairman of Major American Jewish Organizations, told Israel’s Reshet Bet (Voice of Israel) radio:
It is unfortunate that the president went public right away and said he would veto…. If he really wanted a discussion, why does he right away say he will use the veto, squashing discussion?
The President hit the ground running as soon as agreement was reached between Iran and the P5+1 powers this week. Threatening a veto is a major psychological weapon to deter Democratic senators from openly risking the loss of political leverage with the President by opposing the agreement and then going down to defeat because of a veto.
A Democrat who wants goodies for his constituents is going to think twice and thrice before turning his back on President Obama.
Hoenlein also said in the radio interview that “it will be hard to stop” ObamaDeal but “it is possible.”
Congressman Peter Roskam: 60 Days to Sink the Iran Deal
I learned two important lessons from my years as a lawyer: never enter negotiations with the mentality that you need a deal no matter what, and always be willing to walk away from the table. Ignoring this mindset is a recipe for disaster—and it’s exactly the mistake that led the Obama administration into one of the worst diplomatic agreements in American history.
Over the past decade, Congress has led the charge to pass crippling economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran to achieve one goal: permanent and verifiable assurances that the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism never achieves a nuclear weapons capability. The sanctions, by all accounts, succeeded in bringing Tehran to the brink of economic collapse: Iran’s gross domestic product plummeted, oil exports nosedived, and massive inflation ensued. Allowing this pressure to build proved the best opportunity to prompt the meaningful, lasting concessions necessary to prevent Iran from ever going nuclear.
Instead, the Administration decided to negotiate in good faith with a murderous regime that, to this very day, arms and finances terrorism worldwide, persecutes and executes minorities, and imprisons innocent American citizens. Iran was rewarded with billions of dollars in sanctions relief for simply coming to the negotiating table. Longstanding international prohibitions on Tehran maintaining a domestic nuclear enrichment program were kicked to the curb. Other important dimensions of a nuclear weapons program, including ballistic missiles and warheads, were dismissed as irrelevant to the negotiations.
Congress balks at Obama's UN move on Iran deal
President Barack Obama has a new hurdle to selling his Iran deal on Capitol Hill: Bipartisan opposition to his decision to submit the nuclear accord to the United Nations before Congress votes on the agreement.
Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said on Thursday afternoon that they disagreed with the U.S. pushing the agreement through the UN before Congress votes this September to approve or reject it, a troubling development for an administration still trying to win over both men.
Cardin, the top Democrat on the committee, questioned Vice President Joe Biden about the matter during a closed door meeting with committee Democrats on Thursday. He said Biden responded with an explanation of the “differences between the executive and legislative branches.” That didn’t satisfy Cardin, who said Obama should put the brakes on UN consideration until Congress has 60 days to review the bill, a period that technically hasn’t even started yet because the agreement has not been formally submitted to Capitol Hill.
“There was nothing to be lost by waiting until after the review period was over,” Cardin said in an interview. “It could be inconsistent [with how Congress votes] and therefore it would have been better if that had been deferred until after the 60-day period.”
'Chuck Schumer Will Vote for the Iran Deal'
Yesh Atid party chairman Yair Lapid said Thursday that he believes Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will vote in favor of the Iran deal.
“I've heard all of the analyses that said wait we don't know how Chuck Schumer – who is the most influential Democratic senator today – will vote. I sat with him less than a month ago; we spoke about this. I looked him in the eyes; he didn't say it outright, [but] I am telling you, he'll vote for the deal. All these discussions are inventions... There will be a Senate decision not to remove sanctions, there will be a presidential veto and there won't be 67 votes to override the veto.”
Lapid also said that the rumors about the Zionist Union possibly joining the Coalition are being purposely spread by Likud, in order to cause Yisrael Beytenu Chairman Avigdor Liberman to join the Coalition himself.
"I imagine that they hope it will cause Liberman to feel nervous and enter the Coalition,” Lapid conjectured.
But “Liberman doesn't get nervous so easily,” he added.
Nancy Pelosi Declares ‘Strong Support’ for Iran Nuclear Deal
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday praised the nuclear deal agreed upon by Iran, the United States and other world powers earlier this week.
According to the Associated Press, Pelosi declared to reporters at her weekly news conference that the agreement lauded by the Obama administration “will have [her] strong support.”
“I’m very optimistic about our ability to support the president,” Pelosi said of the deal, which would lift international sanctions on Iran while allowing the country to press on with crucial elements of its nuclear work, research, and development.
Pelosi joins Democratic presidential candidate and former secretary of State Hillary Clinton in offering support for the Iran deal. After the agreement was announced Tuesday, Clinton deemed it an “important step” in the United States’ push to disable Iran’s nuclear capabilities. She also reportedly told Democratic lawmakers in a closed-door meeting that the agreement is “worthy of support.”
President Obama has passionately defended the agreement, insisting Tuesday morning that he will veto any effort by Congress — which has authority to review the deal — to reject it.
Cruz Threatens to Cut Off Authorization for State Dept. Funding After Nuke Deal
Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) is moving to block future State Department funding and nominees unless President Barack Obama guarantees that Congress will have the authority to fully review a recently inked nuclear accord with Iran before the deal is approved by the United Nations, according to a copy of a letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
Cruz, a vocal opponent of the administration’s diplomacy with Iran, maintains that the White House is seeking to circumvent congressional review of the deal by going straight to the U.N.
Such a move could lift key sanctions on Iran before Congress has had the chance to fully review and vote on the deal.
Cruz says the United States should not be backing any U.N. action until Congress fulfills its legal role in reviewing—and potentially rejecting—the deal, which will provide Iran with billions of dollars in economic relief.
Under the parameters of the deal, the United States and other global powers have agreed to rollback U.N. restrictions on Iran’s importation of weapons and previous obligations to fully halt uranium enrichment work, heavy water work relevant to the development of a plutonium-based weapon, and the construction of ballistic missiles.
Cruz says none of these restrictions should be lifted before Congress has fully reviewed and voted on the deal. Legislators have legally been given 60 days to do this.
India prepares for fallout from Iran nuclear deal
Indian newspapers generally echoed Western sentiments by welcoming the Iran deal and India’s Foreign Office also took a line similar to the one taken by the EU and other Western powers.
But behind the scenes, India is getting ready for the coming nuclear arms race in their Arab neighbourhood.
Far from buying President Obama’s optimism over the ‘peace dividend’, Indian defence establishment is building up its nuclear defence capabilities.
In recent months, India has invested heavily in ramping up missile defences. With Israeli expertise, India will soon be able to detect and intercept missiles within the range of 5,000 km – double the aerial distance between New Delhi and Tehran.
As President Obama was announcing the Iran deal to the world, Indian government was busy clearing new defence deals worth billions.
Daniel Pipes: How Israel Might Destroy Iran's Nuclear Program
The Vienna deal has been signed and likely will soon be ratified, which raises the question: Will any government intervene militarily to stop the nearly inevitable Iranian nuclear buildup?
Obviously it will not be the American or Russian governments or any of the other four signatories. Practically speaking, the question comes down to Israel, where a consensus holds that the Vienna deal makes an Israeli attack more likely. But no one outside the Israeli security apparatus, including myself, knows its intentions. That ignorance leaves me free to speculate as follows.
Three scenarios of attack seem possible:
Airplanes. Airplanes crossed international boundaries and dropped bombs in the 1981 Israeli attack on an Iraqi nuclear installation and in the 2007 attack on a Syrian one, making this the default assumption for Iran. Studies show this to be difficult but attainable.
Special ops. These are already underway: computer virus attacks on Iranian systems unconnected to the Internet that should be immune, assassinations of top-ranking Iranian nuclear scientists, and explosions at nuclear installations.
Presumably, Israelis had a hand in at least some of these attacks and, presumably, they could increase their size and scope, possibly disrupting the entire nuclear program. Unlike the dispatch of planes across several countries, special operations have the advantage of reaching places like Fordow, far from Israel, and of leaving little or no signature.
Nuclear weapons. This doomsday weapon, which tends to be little discussed, would probably be launched from submarines. It hugely raises the stakes and so would only be resorted to, in the spirit of "Never Again," if the Israelis were desperate.
Poll: 47 percent of Israelis back Iran strike following nuke deal
Almost half of Israelis would support a unilateral strike to prevent Iran obtaining the atomic bomb, an opinion poll carried out after Tuesday’s nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers found.
Nearly three-quarters of respondents in the poll published by the Maariv newspaper on Friday said they thought the agreement would accelerate Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon, not prevent it as claimed by the powers.
Asked “Do you support independent military action by Israel against Iran if such action is needed to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon?” 47 percent said yes, 35% said no and 18% expressed no opinion.
Additionally, a majority of Israelis (51%) felt Jerusalem should use whatever means necessary to convince the US Congress to reject the deal, while only 38% said it was now time to engage with US President Barack Obama on the execution of the deal in order to achieve conditions preferable to Israel. Eleven percent said they did not know what the best course of action was.
Study: Americans More Worried About Iran than Israelis Are
A Pew Research Center survey conducted in 40 countries has found that Iran's nuclear program is seen by Americans as the #2 global threat – after the threat posed by the Islamic State (ISIS).
Surprisingly, American citizens' concern about both Iran and ISIS is greater than that of Israeli citizens. And yet even as the percentage of Americans expressing concern about Iran is higher, Israelis are the only public surveyed to rate Iran as their top concern among the international issues tested.
According to the survey, 53% of Israelis have substantial concerns about the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program. Israeli Jews (59%) are far more likely than Israeli Arabs (23%) to express anxiety on the issue.
The survey also shows that Israel is the only country out of the 40 surveyed in which Iran is seen as the top global threat. However, the survey did not include Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states, which are known to be very concerned about Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Roughly six-in-ten (62%) Americans say they are very concerned about Iran. While a median of 42% of Europeans express strong concern about Iran, according to Pew, only British citizens consider it to be one of the top two global dangers. Relatively few people in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East say they are very concerned about Iran’s nuclear program.
Saudi prince: Iran deal worse than failed N. Korea pact
Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador to the United States between 1981 and 2005, has written a damning column in which he compares the Iran nuclear deal to the failed nuclear deal with North Korea -- and concludes it will have even worse consequences.
Writing for the London-based Arabic news Web site Elaph, Badar suggests that President Obama is knowingly making a bad deal, while President Bill Clinton had made a deal with North Korea with the best intentions and the best information he had. The new deal will "wreak havoc" in the Middle East, which is already destabilized due to Iranian actions, Bandar writes.
Writing about the failed deal with North Korea, which was agreed in 1994 and collapsed in 2003, Bandar says, "it turned out that the strategic foreign policy analysis was wrong and there was a major intelligence failure." He added that if Clinton had known the full picture, "I am absolutely confident he would not have made that decision."
8 Unplanned Results of the Iran Deal
The Iran agreement released Tuesday will be parsed and reparsed for months. Can the inspections mechanism really work? How will Iran reduce its enriched uranium stockpile? Is it really wise to legitimize Iran’s ballistic missile program? There are a thousand questions and each side will have different answers. But what are the other implications of what Barack Obama insists is a “historic” deal?
1. Doubling down on the Muslim sectarian divide
Right or wrong, the perception of many in the Middle East is that the region is in the midst of a battle between the Sunni neo-Ottoman Empire and the Shiite neo-Persian Empire. Sounds simplistic, and in many ways it is, but as Iran works to buttress an Alawite ally in Syria, the Zaydi Shiite Houthis in Yemen and Hezbollah in Lebanon, it only reinforces the notion that the Islamic Republic is looking to upend the status quo and impose Shiite hegemony wherever possible. We should expect the region’s Sunni powers to do all that they can to push back.
2. More trouble for Shiite minorities
Despite protestations to the contrary from Sunni-led states like Bahrain, the reality of Shia life in much of the Middle East has long been oppression. In Shia-majority states dominated by Sunnis like Bahrain, or where there are substantial Shia minorities like in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Yemen, there has always been suspicions that Shiites are fifth columnists for Iran. And with those governments convinced that the nuclear deal empowers Iran to step up its meddling in their affairs, that’s going to only get worse.
Iran ‘played the West like a harp,’ sighs one of many wary exiles
Thinking of his native Iran brings professor Afshin Ellian a mix of pain and pleasure.
Under police protection for his vocal opposition of Islamist extremism, Ellian feels the pain of millions languishing under the Islamic regime and Western sanctions that he views as consequences of the regime’s warmongering.
But Ellian — a law professor at Leiden University and a celebrated writer in the Netherlands — also has loving memories of the country he fled on camelback at the age of 18 with help from fellow liberal dissidents who risked their lives to save his during the 1979 Iranian Revolution.
That divided mentality, shared by millions of Iranians living in Europe, is behind the mixed reactions many of them had to the final agreement reached on Tuesday on Iran’s nuclear program, which offers Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for some scaling back of its particle-level activities.
In his first public comment on the deal, Ellian opposed its terms and said that Tehran played the West like a harp.
“The Ayatollahs saw and see Western media as useful idiots, just like during the Iranian Revolution,” he wrote on Twitter (in Dutch) as news that the deal had been agreed upon broke.
Exiled Iranian Opposition Leader Says Iran Will Cheat on Nuclear Deal to Build Bomb
The leader of an Iranian parliament in exile, told London-based Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday that Tehran will ultimately cheat on its agreement with world powers negotiated in Vienna this week to build a nuclear weapon.
Maryam Rajavi, President elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, added that the agreement will open the door to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, and will provide the regime in Tehran with a renewed opportunity to expand its financing of terrorists in Yemen, Syria and elsewhere.
According to Rajavi, an exile who lives in Paris, Iran’s ruling clerical establishment considers its nuclear program to be one of three pillars that will ensure the continuity of the control it established over Iran with the 1979 revolution. The other two pillars are suppression of domestic dissent and the exportation of terrorism regionally and internationally, Rajavi said.
She called on the international community to stand by the Iranian people and help them to remove the Tehran regime, noting that “the correct policy” for the West, “is to back the Iranian people and the Iranian resistance in order to remove the regime.”
PreOccupied Territory: EU Prepares Bailout Plan For Impending US Moral Bankruptcy (satire)
Fresh off a new agreement with Greece to restructure the bailout plan after the country defaulted on billions in debt to other European countries, the Continent’s leaders are considering a similar overture to the United States in the likely event of impending total US moral bankruptcy.
The US-led agreement with Iran to remove all economic sanctions without demanding any changes in the Islamic Republic’s problematic behavior set off alarm bells in the Belgian capital, where the European Union maintains many of its offices. Few analysts had expected the US, long a repository of much of the Western world’s morality, to demonstrate a near-complete reversal in so short a time, but quickly realized that if Europe does not step in, the American moral system would collapse, and likely take down Europe and other countries in its wake.
EU foreign ministers quickly drafted a plan this week in the event of US moral bankruptcy, under which certain European countries would allocate some of their remaining morality so that the US could at least partially restore its moral system. While morality in Europe is already in short supply, and has been for more than a century, the impending shock of a morally bankrupt US has apparently convinced those governments that the risks of not allocating some leftover morality to the US far outweigh the benefits of expending that morality exclusively at home.
“The US is supposed to be the leader of the free world, and has borne that mantle well for decades,” said EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. “But the sudden abandonment of longtime allies to the clutches of an ascendant, emboldened sponsor of international terrorism and violator of human rights signals the fast-depleting moral authority of American leadership, and we must do something to prevent it from disintegrating entirely.”
The 2012 “speech” that predicted the Iran Nuke Deal
Life is imitating art.
Here is the opening scene from the 2012 film The Dictator, in which Sasha Baron Cohen addresses a large crowd. In announcing the nation’s start of uranium enriching, Cohen as the dictator can barely keep a straight face when he insists that it will be only for peaceful medical research and not used against Israel.
Of course, when Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, President Hassan Rouhani, and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif give speeches on the peaceful goals of the Iranian nuclear program, they don’t smirk or laugh.
Because they are better actors.

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