Concerned With Obama’s Iran Policy,
Sunni Countries Turn To China And Russia
Responding to President Obama’s diplomatic outreach to Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab countries are exploring closer relationships with China and Russia at the expense of the U.S.
According to a senior Jordanian diplomat speaking to this column, the Kingdom of Jordan last week participated in a meeting with high-level Saudi officials to discuss the ramifications of Obama’s phone call with Iranian President Hassan Rohani. The Arab countries expressed deep concern about talk of the U.S. easing ties with their foe, Iran.
In the meeting, the leaders discussed having the Saudis and other Sunni Arab nations offer Russia and China larger roles in diplomacy and trade. In exchange, the Russians and Chinese would be expected to scale back some of their support for Iran and Syria while taking a more balanced approach toward the Sunni Arab world.
Currently, Russia and China exert heavy influence on Syria and Iran while the U.S. has closer relations with the Sunni Arab axis in the Middle East.
The Saudis raised the possibility of offering Chinese and Russian companies lower prices on oil to compete with Iran.
According to the Jordanian diplomat, Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi ambassador to Washington, expressed concern that escalated economic outreach to Russia and China could negatively impact the U.S. economy. Saudi Arabia is already the largest oil exporter to China.
John Bolton: Obama Is Playing
Into Iran’s Charm Offensive
President Obama’s phone call and diplomatic outreach to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is playing into Tehran’s “fraudulent” charm offensive and represents a victory for Iran’s drive to obtain nuclear weapons, former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton warned in a radio interview earlier this week.
“I think for those who are opposed to Iran getting nuclear weapons, the best we can hope for is that no deal is reached; that the fraudulent nature of this diplomatic charm offensive will be revealed,” Bolton told WABC’s Aaron Klein Investigative Radio. The former diplomat warned that “Iran is not prepared to make any real concession on its program.”
He continued: “People will see that Iran is determined to keep the capability to build a nuclear weapon. I am afraid, however, that both the United States under the Obama administration and Europe have been all too ready for some period of time to legitimize the Iranian nuclear weapons program.”
Bolton warned that if Iran retains the capability to enrich uranium to reactor grade levels, “it retains the critical capability to enrich to weapons-grade levels.”
Congressional Bill Would Tie Border Agents’ Hands
The type of constraints placed on the immigration enforcement efforts of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office will soon be implemented nationwide if the immigration-reform bill currently under consideration by Congress is passed.
On Wednesday media outlets reported that U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow issued a ruling that requires the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office to collect data on law enforcement actions to ensure against the discrimination of Latinos and other minorities when asking for a suspect’s immigrant status.
Snow imposed further measures to stop so-called discrimination, including cameras in every deputy’s car, oversight by a community advisory board, and a court-appointed monitor.
The measures are not simply the designs of a district judge. The immigration bill being considered in Congress has many of the same requirements, including some that could shackle U.S. border agents in their attempts to halt illegal immigration.
Amid a government shutdown over partisan debates about Obamacare, some Republicans are reportedly working behind the scenes to negotiate the passage of immigration reform.
Under the immigration-reform bill, reviewed by this column, Border Patrol agents or any other law-enforcement officer who stops a vehicle to demand identification of suspected illegal aliens might be found in violation of the law.
The legislation bars all federal law-enforcement officers, including border agents, from using race or ethnicity “to any degree” while making routine or spontaneous law-enforcement decisions.
Similar to the measures imposed on Sheriff Joe’s office, the immigration bill further calls for the Homeland Security Department to collect data on immigration enforcement activities to determine the existence of racial profiling. The data would be utilized to issue future guidelines to officers regarding the use of race or ethnicity during routine enforcement.