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August 31, 2015 / 16 Elul, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘international relations’

Obama Offers His ‘Deal or War’

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

This critical period during which Congress is mulling over the nuclear deal made by U.S. negotiators and their P5+1 partners with Iran has turned into a hotly contested debate between those committed to preventing the deal from being approved and those who are desperate to ensure that it will be approved.

Yesterday, Aug. 4, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, spoke to thousands of Americans and explained why he believes the deal is a bad one. It boiled down to “Keep or Cheat.” However Iran decides to act under this agreement, it will attain nuclear threshold status.

Today President Barack Obama gave a midday televised speech from American University in Washington, D.C.. During the speech he ridiculed those who criticize the deal, and explained why, according to him, the choice is either the deal or war.

Obama sought to compare the current situation in which Iran is seen by many as threatening the U.S. and its closest allies, and perhaps the world, to the time in which the Soviet Union, also a supporter of terrorist proxies, was considered the global danger.

This comparison is useful because the tensions and stakes were similar, and the danger was handled through diplomacy, rather than a resort to war.

Of course, diplomacy is not a generic concept, and its success depends greatly on the diplomats involved and the deals they are able to strike.

This American administration and its negotiating team are not the teams who handled the Cuban Missile Crisis, nor have they woven treaties like the SALT and START Treaties. In fact, one clear red flagging difference is that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is not a treaty, or at least is not being called one, with all the consequences that entails.

The President agrees with many of his critics about one factor: the importance of the issue. He described the deal and the foreign policy debate surrounding it as “one of the most consequential” the United States government has engaged in, in years.

Unfortunately, unlike Netanyahu’s speech, which was entirely respectful of President Obama, this one was smug, threatening, nasty and insulting, especially regarding Netanyahu, but also towards any other critics of the deal.

In refusing to take the high road, it may be that Obama lost the opportunity to win over those who were wavering. Or, and perhaps more likely, the threats he raised, including the specter of disaster that will befall the United States should the deal be rejected, may be sufficient to capture those who are susceptible to such tactics.

Time will tell.

In the hour-long speech, the President reiterated what he and the other proponents of the deal have been touting since the JCPOA was signed two weeks ago. This is the best possible deal, snap-back of sanctions will be available if Iran cheats, the inspections regime covers all contingencies (but while admitting the Iranians will have 24 days before inspectors can visit contested sites, Obama promised “we will be watching it continuously until inspectors get in.”)

A careful review of the speech, however, reveals several significant inconsistencies.

SANCTIONS NOT ENOUGH, BUT IF THEY CHEAT, WE’LL SNAP BACK SANCTIONS

The President spent a great deal of time deriding the idea that sanctions would be enough to deter Iran from driving towards its nuclear weapons goal, and ridiculing the idea of America going it alone on sanctions should Congress reject the deal. He pledged that should Iran cheat, “we can catch them, and we will.”

He then said, “If Iran violates the agreement over the next decade, all of the sanctions can snap back into place. We won’t need the support of the other members of the U.N. Security Council, America can trigger snap back on our own.” So what happened to the idea that America can’t go it alone? Or that sanctions are sufficient?

E-Mails Show Clinton without a Clue on How to Relate to Israel

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

Hillary Clinton’s e-mails expose what President Barack Obama has tried to hide – a  person with absolutely no values or principles except to be politically correct.

The U.S. State Dept. on Friday released more of her hidden e-mails, and they show her as being uncertain and without a clue on relations with Israel.

She desperately sought advice in 2009 when she received advanced notice that the U.N.-sanctioned Goldstone Report thoroughly condemned Israel for alleged war crimes in Operation Cast Lead against Hamas missile attacks on Israel in late 2008 and early 2009. The voluminous report  was based on information that its author Richard  Goldstone later found out to be biased and led him to retract most of his criticism.

His original conclusions were devastating, and Clinton’s e-mails reveal she did not know what to think, according to the correspondence published by Vice News.

Clinton wrote her adviser Jack Sullivan:

What’s the guidance on what I should say? Mitchell just reported to me how strongly the Israelis feel that the POTUS and I speak out forcefully about it now.

And they said if there’s a vote in the UNGA that’s the end of the peace process. What do you know?

Mitchell at my request is calling [then-White House Chief of Staff] Rahm [Emanuel] and [US Ambassador to Israel] Dan Shapiro to report and be sure POTUS knows before he tapes shows today.

Clinton also showed no confidence about how to deal with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on the issue of building for Jews in “settlements” in Judea and Samaria.

Sandy Berger, who was her adviser as well her husband’s when he was president, e-mailed her:

The objective is to try shift [sic] the fulcrum of our current relationships with Bibi from settlements – where he thinks he has the upper hand – to ground where there is greater understanding in Israel of the American position and where we can make him uneasy about incurring our displeasure

Two weeks after e-mailing Sullivan on the Goldstone Report, Clinton e-mailed Berger, apparently referring to Netanyahu’s’ agreement to freeze construction:

Let me know how you think today played.

She did not ask for information. She did not ask for the meaning of the Goldstone Report or the freeze.  All she was worried about was how to react and how to play the game.

President Barack Obama does the same, but Clinton has been caught.

Clinton is campaigning as the greatest friend of Israel since God, Whom she has not yet e-mailed for advice.

 

Foreign Ministry Calls Sunni Arab Nations ‘Israel’s Allies’

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

 

Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama dreamed about a “new Middle East” under the leadership of the United States. They were dead wrong.

They may have fantasized that they could make peace between Israel and Sunni Muslim states, the foremost being Saudi Arabia, but their worst nightmares did not envision such an alliance being formed in opposition to none other than the United States.

Dore Gold, director of Israel’s Foreign Ministry and former Ambassador to the United Nations, finally spelled out on Wednesday what Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has whispered for months. The Muslims and the Jews have two common problems. One is an enemy, meaning Iran, which threatens to rule an Islamic Caliphate with or without a nuclear weapon.

The other problem is the Obama administration, which is appeasing the enemy.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has stated several times that Israel and Saudi Arabia have a common interest in making sure that Iran does reach nuclear weapons capability. Gold went a lot farther in his message last night to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

Referring to Iran, he said:

What we have is a regime on a roll that is trying to conquer the Middle East and it’s not Israel talking, that is our Sunni Arab neighbors — and you know what? I’ll use another expression – that is our Sunni Arab allies talking.

Allies?

What happened to the “unshakeable bond” between the United States and Israel? It is there as long as people believe it. An era does not in a day, and American Jews will believe in that “unshakeable bond” for a long time to come because it makes them feel good.

And isn’t it President Barack Obama who is ready help arm Israel once again, after having forced it to be armed to the teeth by surrendering to many of Iran’s terms in his ObamaDeal, which Israel and the Sunni Arabs are certain is nothing more than a well-paved diplomatic road to hell?

Americans are too far away from the shores of the Middle East to feel the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran the way Jews in Israel and Muslims in the Gulf States feel it.

If Israel and its “allies” were to get it through the State Dept.’s thick skull that a nuclear-armed Iran is no less of a threat to the United States that it is to the United States, perhaps Americans would worry a bit more about Tehran and less about Mexican immigrants, homosexual marriages and Donald Trump.

Gold was upbeat, or at least tried to sound that way, about future relations between Israel and the United States in the likely event that Congress will not be able to ditch ObamaDeal.

He said:

We will find a practical way to come up with solutions to a very dangerous situation. But in the meantime we have to tell what we think about this agreement. We have to say the truth even though it’s unpleasant.

It also may be very unpleasant for President Obama amid his successor to realize that  their influence in the Middle East is dwindling. President Obama was overjoyed at the Arab Spring rebellions for “democracy,” which in the Muslim Middle East means “anarchy” and which was the reality for too long a time in Libya, Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt and Syria. Iraq is a lost cause.

Obama may have reached out Muslims, but he grabbed a handful of radical Islam that now threatens more than half the world.

He, like most other American politicians, assumes that Israel has no choice but to rely on the “unshakeable bond” with the United States.

Second Take on Iran by AIPAC: Congress Must Stop this Bad Deal

Friday, July 17th, 2015

Following the announcement of the Iran- P5+1 nuclear deal, JewishPress.com summarized the major Jewish American organizations’ positions on the Iran deal. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee initial statement was rather pareve, but today’s statement, based on a fuller review of the document, is a clear thumbs down and call to action.

AIPAC has concluded that the deal falls short on all five areas it had concluded were critical: inspections, possible military dimensions, sanctions, duration and dismantlement.

The deal, AIPAC told its membership, “would facilitate rather than prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and would further entrench and empower the leading state sponsor of terror.”

AIPAC concluded that the deal would further destabilize the Middle East, including encouraging an arms race in the region.

In contradiction to what the negotiators and President Obama told the nation, AIPAC insisted that the alternative to the proposed deal is not war.

Calling on its members to inform their legislative representatives, AIPAC said the agreement must be rejected and sanctions on Iran must be maintained while efforts are made to negotiate “a better deal that will truly close off all Iranian paths to a nuclear weapon.”

Kerry Describes ‘Historic’ Nuclear Deal Signed Between World Powers, Iran

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced Tuesday morning in Vienna that world powers have struck an agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear development program.

In return, Iran will receive billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions to be relaxed in phases as Iran begins to comply with the commitments in the agreement.

According to the 109-page accord, Iran will enrich uranium only up to an amount of slightly less than 4 percent: enough for civilian medical and energy purposes. The Islamic Republic agreed to allow spot inspections – daily inspections, Kerry said – by monitors from the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – at its nuclear research and development sites.

That access, however, is not guaranteed – especially at military sites, where the country’s parliament has just passed a law banning entry to any foreign or outside element. Even a delay could last long enough to allow nuclear scientists time to hide evidence of research into atomic weapons.

A three-month extension on talks between Iran and the IAEA to resolve outstanding issues was agreed to and signed this morning with the agency’s director, Yukiyo Amano, Kerry said. “Sanctions relief will only start when Iran complies with its commitments,” he reminded.

In addition, it was agreed the United Nations arms embargo imposed on Iran will continue for the next five years as well. UN restrictions on the transfer of ballistic missile technology to Tehran could last up to eight more years. Either or both sanctions, however, could end sooner, depending on clearance by the IAEA.

The “snap back” provision that allows sanctions to be reimposed if Iran violates the agreement will also stay in the agreement. Kerry noted this point is particularly important, inasmuch as the negotiators began their talks when Iran’s breakout time to a nuclear weapon was only a total of two to three months – and when the Islamic Republic already had amassed “enough fissile material for 10 to 12 [atomic] bombs.”

Perhaps that is one reason the deal is “not built on trust, it is built on verification,” as President Barack Obama told Americans in a broadcast from the White House carried live on Iranian state television. Obama added that all potential pathways to an Iranian nuclear weapon have been cut off.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in Tehran that a “new chapter” has begun in his nation’s relations with the global community.

Kerry also commented that the signing of the agreement could not guarantee its commitment; rather, “it’s the implementation that will matter,” he said. Nevertheless, despite fiery rhetoric filled with venom and vows by Iranian leaders not to allow outside access to the country’s nuclear sites, Kerry said negotiators talked a different tale at the negotiating table.

“The negotiators absolutely affirmed to us… that they are operating with a full mandate from the President [Hassan]Rouhani, and from the Supreme Leader,” Kerry said. Whether they were telling the truth, however, only time can tell.

“In the negotiation, you lay down the procedures that are expected to be taken and you lay down the consequences for not doing that,” he added.

Kerry Travels to Vienna for Final (?) Nuclear Talks with Iran

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to return to the negotiating table on Friday for another round of nuclear talks with Iran.

“Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Vienna, Austria on June 26 to participate in the ongoing EU-coordinated P5+1 nuclear negotiations with Iran,” spokesperson John Kirby said in a statement Thursday.

The delegation led by the U.S. includes Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia.

The six world powers are trying to reach an agreement with Tehran that would allow spot inspections of all Iranian nuclear facilities by United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors.

Under the agreement Iran would halt its uranium enrichment and nuclear technology development for the next ten years, in exchange for the UN lifting the crippling sanctions imposed against the Islamic Republic.

Thus far, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has nixed the terms of the deal, despite an offer from the delegation to provide everything Iran needs to produce peaceful nuclear energy, which Iran claims is all it seeks.

Among the items being offered are “high-tech light-water nuclear reactors and other state-of-the-art nuclear equipment,” according to a secret eight-page document obtained earlier this week and revealed exclusively by The Associated Press. Dated June 19 and entitled “Civil Nuclear Cooperation,” the report appears to call Iran’s bluff – but as Omri Ceren of The Israel Project noted in a response brief, it’s not that simple.

“Some country in the P5+1 will be helping the Iranians develop next generation centrifuges in a facility impenetrable to American and Israeli bombs,” Ceren contended. He added that “any country that wants to sabotage that development will be unable to do so, because the program will be protected and maintained by a major power.”

Although the centrifuges will be spinning non-nuclear elements during the course of the ten-year agreement, they will be primed and ready to enrich nuclear fuel the moment the agreement ends.

“The international community will literally be investing in helping Iran achieve a zero breakout,” Ceren warned.

The negotiations, which have already been extended twice before, are scheduled to conclude on June 30.

Despite “Freeze”, Iran Nuke Stockpile Mysteriously Growing

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

How does one translate the phrase “negotiating in good faith” into Persian?

Over the past 18 months, Tehran’s stockpile of enriched uranium – a nuclear fuel – has grown by some 20 percent, eight percent in the past two months alone, as documented last Friday in a report by the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned of just such a scenario in his landmark address to the U.S. Congress in March (2015). So this probably comes as no surprise to most Israelis. However, it is making headlines across the United States, since it is seen by some as a direct betrayal by the White House.

The Obama administration had assured the American people that Iran had “frozen” its nuclear development activities while negotiating with U.S.-led world powers over a deal to limit the nuclear program and prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons under President Obama’s watch. Now the talks are in their final month, with the June 30 deadline looming ahead.

Under the terms being negotiated, Iran is to possess only 660 pounds (300 kg) of nuclear fuel, less than that needed to create a nuclear weapon, once the deal is signed. The rest of its nuclear fuel stockpile is to be removed — either shipped out, transformed or otherwise destroyed.

But Tehran made it clear as far back as March that Iran has no intention of shipping the remaining 96% of its nuclear fuel out of the country. Nor has it proposed any other solution to the dilemma. This raises a rather curious question about the disposal of Iran’s mysteriously growing stockpile.

American officials don’t actually know how Iran will comply. As one official told The New York Times, “It’s their problem, not ours. But it’s a problem.”

It sure is.

One can also question how anyone in the Obama administration could claim that Iran froze its nuclear activities while Tehran has clearly been growing that stockpile – significantly.

The U.S., meanwhile, seems baffled at how an Iranian stockpile that should at least have remained static, could possibly have grown.

Here’s an even bigger problem: Under the terms of the interim agreement signed in March between Iran and the U.S.-led world powers (P5+1), Iran had allegedly been building a “conversion plant” at the Isfahan nuclear complex. There, enriched uranium could be transformed into oxide powder and then into reactor fuel rods, rather than left to become weapons-grade fuel. But they didn’t.

Iran didn’t keep its word. “Iran has failed” to make the conversion, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center, a research group in Washington which reported on the issue in February.

Tehran didn’t keep its end of the bargain – and the deal isn’t even signed yet.

That’s 18 months of nuclear undercover evasion (“cheating”) that the U.S. administration claims to know nothing about. It’s not clear which is more frightening: an American administration so clueless that it truly did NOT know anything about what was happening under the ground in Iranian nuclear plants, or did know and didn’t say, ‘didn’t ask and didn’t tell.’

It is also important to note that Iran will only have to maintain that minimized nuclear fuel stockpile for 15 years. The deal does not address what happens after that.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation has announced they are building a second nuclear reactor in Iran, in addition to the one they built in 2013.

The oil-rich Islamic Republic plans to build 20 such nuclear reactors, allegedly to reduce its dependency on oil.

If only Iran were building settlements instead of enriched uranium – then the Obama administration would put its foot down.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/despite-freeze-iran-nuke-stockpile-mysteriously-growing/2015/06/02/

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