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Sen. Carl Levin Garners 23 Dems for Softer-Toned Iran Talks Letter

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Sen. Carl Levin Garners 23 Dems for Softer-Toned Iran Talks LetteTwenty-three Democratic senators signed a letter to President Obama on the Iran nuclear talks that was cast in less strident terms than a separate letter sent last week.

“As negotiations progress, we expect your administration will continue to keep Congress regularly apprised of the details,” said the letter, spearheaded by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Levin’s letter sent March 22 is a word for word replica of a letter sent last week by an overwhelming number of members of the U.S. House of Representatives, initiated by Reps. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the House majority leader, and Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), House minority whip.

Levin had circulated the Cantor-Hoyer letter, saying he preferred it to another letter initiated by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

The Menendez-Graham letter, backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, garnered signatures from 83 senators of both parties, out of the body’s 100 members, and was sent last week.

Levin did not explain why he preferred the Cantor-Hoyer language in his cover letter seeking signatories, but that letter was considerably softer in tone than the Menendez-Graham letter.

The Menendez-Graham letter more definitively described outcomes of the Iran negotiations that “must” be in place while the Cantor-Hoyer and Levin letters instead were “hopeful” of such outcomes. The Cantor-Hoyer and Levin letters were also closer to the position of the Obama administration, explicitly saying that its signatories “do not seek to deny Iran a peaceful nuclear program.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a number of Republicans in Congress say that any deal must end uranium enrichment altogether; Obama administration officials have said that a limited degree of enrichment is the likely outcome of any deal.

The Menendez-Graham letter does not explicitly count out an enrichment capability for Iran, nor does it mention it.

The Senate letter suggests that the body could soon reconsider new sanctions on Iran, a bid also backed by AIPAC that the Obama administration deflected earlier this year.

Of the Levin letter’s 23 signatories, 19 also signed the Menendez-Graham letter, and four were Jewish: Levin, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.). AIPAC backed the Cantor-Hoyer letter in the House, but did not back Levin’s version in the Senate.

Putin’s Iran Threat is Good for Israel

Monday, March 24th, 2014

In a column analyzing Russia’s recent threat to rethink its position on Iran, Walter Russell Mead and his staff at The American Interest postulated, “Linking the Ukraine crisis with the Iran negotiation is an American nightmare; it might just be a Russian dream come true.” Mead is on to something; however, he stops short in his analysis. Russia’s threat could also be quite helpful to Israel.

Obama entered into the Iran negotiations in order to avoid a military confrontation, as well as to constrain the “true barrier” to peace in the region – Israel. His hope was to bide time, notwithstanding that Iran’s centrifuges would continue to spin, bringing its nuclear capability to the brink or to fruition.

If Iran does in fact go nuclear on Obama’s watch, so be it; he will proceed to sell containment to the American public for the little time left in his term. The carnival salesmen in the White House are quite talented at selling the American people a bill of goods – just look at ObamaCare. While Russia invades a European country and threatens all-out war, the administration spends $52 million of taxpayer funds in just three months on advertising this debacle. One can only imagine what they will spend to convince Americans that a nuclear Iran poses no threat to our national security.

Alas, since reality has yet to penetrate the White House bubble, Obama has likely never lost sleep thinking about Iran’s nuclear capabilities (his Baracketology, next vacation, and golf game, perhaps, but national security, not so much) – that is, until Vladimir Putin stepped into the picture.

Obama’s failure to realize that he is now unmasked as a fool on the world stage does not mean that the rest of the world’s leaders have not noticed. It is not a coincidence that just six months after Putin manipulated Obama out of bombing Syria despite its having crossed Obama’s disingenuous red line, Putin took to annexing Crimea from Ukraine. And Putin did so despite a U.S. promise to protect Ukraine. As one Ukranian parliamentarian stated, “[e]veryone believed that for good or bad the United States would be the world’s policeman. Now that function is being abandoned by President Obama, and because of that Russia invaded Crimea.”

So Mead is correct that linking Ukraine with Iran is good policy for Russia while thrusting Obama into a nightmarish situation. It will cause Obama to quake in his mom-jeans and further diminish American power. Obama has already stated that he will not act militarily in response to the Ukrainian situation. What are his choices if Russia acts on its threat and allies with Iran? Cancel Putin’s Netflix account?

But linking Ukraine and Iran just might be an Israeli dream come true as well. Mead stated, “The Obama strategy has always been a risky one; if Russia shifts into active cooperation with Iran, it is hard to see how the White House can keep hope alive.” True enough.

But if Russia moves into Iran’s camp, Israel has the perfect excuse to move ahead with a military strike on Iran’s nuclear installations and will likely have the support of the entire Western world (in addition to America’s Mideast allies like Saudi Arabia), all of which will be relieved that at least someone is standing up to the bad guys.

Middle East and foreign policy experts have vacillated for years analyzing Israel’s capability to conduct a successful unilateral military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, guessing when it might proceed, and wondering whether the United States is holding Israel back from doing so. Some ask why U.S. support is a necessary prerequisite to an Israeli strike that is in Israel’s own national security interests. One need only look at a map of the region and the fact that the country, the size of the state of New Jersey and only nine miles wide at its narrowest point, is surrounded by 21 Arab nations, the vast majority of whom are adversaries, to understand Israel’s need for supportive friends.

Canadian Court Orders Seizure of Iranian Assets for Terror Victims

Monday, March 24th, 2014

An Ontario court has ordered the seizure of more than $7 million in assets belonging to Iran to compensate American victims of terror.

The historic ruling last week brought to an end several lawsuits filed in Canada by terror victims from the United States seeking damages from Iran for training, arming and financing the Hamas and Hezbollah terror groups.

The Americans previously were awarded damages by U.S. courts but could not collect from any Iranian government assets in the United States. They came to Canada for enforcement, which was made possible by Ottawa’s passage in 2012 of the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act. The law strips state immunity in civil lawsuits from countries deemed to be “supporting terrorism.”

The Ontario court ordered sheriffs to seize one bank account worth $1.47 million controlled by an Iranian diplomat, and another with a balance of $511,000 controlled by Iran’s charge d’affaires in Ottawa.

The evidence “overwhelmingly” established that the money in the accounts was the property of Iran, the judge ruled.

Also to be sold, with the proceeds going to the victims, are a building in Toronto valued at $1.1 million and another in Ottawa valued at $3.9 million. Both facilities operated as ostensible cultural centers. The judge noted there was evidence that the Ottawa property was owned by a front group linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, which is “hardly a cultural or charitable organization.”

The plaintiffs in the case, believed to be the first of its kind in Canada, were Edward Tracy and the family of Joseph Cicippio. Both U.S. men were captured and held hostage in Beirut from 1986 to 1991.

“I’m surprised. I’m shocked that we’ve gotten this far after all these years,” Cicippio told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

Cicippio’s family was awarded $91 million in damages in 2005 but could not collect in the United States. Tracy won a judgment of $18.5 million in 2003.

It is expected that other victims of terror in separate cases, including a Canadian dentist wounded in a 1997 Hamas suicide bombing in Jerusalem, and three other American families will share in the proceeds as part of a side deal worked out among lawyers.

The other Americans suing in Canada were Alann Steen, who was abducted in Beirut in 1987 and held for nearly five years; the family of David Jacobsen, who was kidnapped in 1985 and released 17 months later; and the family of Marla Bennett, a California student killed in a 2002 bombing attack by Hamas at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

All won sizable awards in U.S. courts but could not collect.

Over the weekend, Iran’s state-controlled media blasted the Canadian ruling as “politically motivated” and of “no legal value.” No representative of the country attended the court hearing.

Mossad Discloses 8 Jews Were Killed Trying to Flee Iran in 1990s

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

The Mossad has learned that eight of 11 Iranian Jews who tried to immigrate to flee the Islamic regime and move to Israel in the 1990s were murdered, the Office of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated Thursday.

The families of the missing Iranians have been informed following an investigation into their cases that was ordered by Prime Minister Netanyahu. The fate of the remaining three remains unknown, and the probe is continuing.

David Meidan, who served as the Prime Minister’s representative in the efforts to free kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, took command of the investigation of the missing Iranians,

“This is an issue that occupied the intelligence agencies for over twenty years , and we can say that today the mystery comes to an end,” Meidan said.

“First and foremost this was an intelligence feat,” he added. “That it [Israeli intelligence] has managed to obtain a reliable source in that part of the world is no simple task. [The source] provided reliable information and submitted pictures relating to the fate of eight of 11 missing persons . The families were informed that the ordeal has come to an end .”

The 11 Iranian Jews left in four separate groups in 1994 and 1997, but eight of them disappeared.

Obama and Peres Polish Up their Persian for Iran’s New Year

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

President Shimon Peres and President Barack Obama delivered their annual greetings to Iranians celebrating the new Persian year and played up prospects of peace.

Peres showed off his language skills – actually those of his speech writers – by starting with, “Iraniane Gerami, Novruzetan Piruz Bad,” which can be translated as “Iranian citizens, wherever you are, Happy Nowruz.”

Obama began his video greetings with “Dorood,” or “to praise.” It is said by Muslims every time they hear the name of the Islamic prophet Mohammed.”

Presidents love impressing foreign people with greetings such as “Shalom,” which they don’t understand not only mneans “Peace” and “Hello” but also means “goodbye,” but unfortunately without the connotation of “good riddance.”

“The Jewish people and the Persian people, the Iranian people have a very long history and we’re going to have a long future,” said Peres, implying optimism that Iran will not succeed to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.

“We are old cultures, we learn history, we make history and we respect history,” he said.” We have a heritage of values; we are not just business peoples but two nations that respect culture, that respect human dignity. We call to live in peace and understanding.”

That is why brining Israeli flags is such a popular sport in Iran.

On the other side of the ocean, President Obama said, “Since taking office, I’ve offered the Iranian government an opportunity –if it meets its international obligations, then there could be a new relationship between our two countries, and Iran could begin to return to its rightful place among the community of nations.”

The odd thing is that that he already has given Iran a spot closer to center stage in the international community although it has not met its “international obligations,” but there is nothing like trust to usher in the new year.

“Last fall, I spoke with President Rouhani,” Obama continued, “It was the first conversation between an American president and an Iranian leader since 1979. I conveyed to President Rouhani my deep respect for the Iranian people, just as he expressed his respect for the American people….

“Since then, we’ve made progress. For years, the international community has had concerns that Iran’s nuclear program could lead to Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon, which would be a threat to the region and to the world. Under the initial agreement we reached in November, the Iranian government has agreed to limit key parts of its nuclear program. Along with our international partners, the United States is giving Iran some relief from sanctions.” Iran has “agreed” but has not carried out the agreement, but trust the president, because he said, “As I’ve said before, I’m under no illusions…. If Iran meets its international obligations, we know where the path of dialogue and greater trust and cooperation can lead…

“Real diplomatic progress this year can help open up new possibilities and prosperity for the Iranian people for years to come.

And what happens is Iran does not meet its international obligations? Obama undoubtedly will be back next year with the same speech.

If you want to hear all four minutes and 47 seconds of it, here it is.

White House ‘Shocked’ that Ya’alon Criticizes Obama

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Officials at the a White House are incredibly upset with Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who had the audacity Monday to say that that the  United States’ foreign policy is so weak that Israel cannot depend it on it to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear capability.

President Barack Obama’s definition of ”friendship” – and everyone knows that Commander in Chief himself has said he is the greatest pal Israel has had since George Washington – means  the Israeli government must pat the president on his head every time he blinks, and he has been doing a lot of that lately.

Ya’alon said in a speech at Tel Aviv University earlier this week that allies have expressed “disappointment” at American policies leading up to the Russia-Ukraine crisis and that the United States clearly is  “demonstrating weakness.”

The Obama administration has accused the Israeli defense minister of insulting its senior officials and undermining the relationship between the US and Israel after he criticized American foreign policy for projecting “weakness” throughout the world.

“If you sit and wait at home, the terrorism will come again,” Ya’alon said. “This is a war of civilizations. If your image is feebleness, it doesn’t pay in the world. Nobody will replace the United States as global policeman. I hope the United States comes to its senses. If it doesn’t, it will challenge the world order, and the United States is the one that will suffer.”

That was not exactly harsh language. On the contrary, Ya’alon put the United States on a pedestal when he said that no one can replace it.

But the criticism was too much for President Obama, whose foreign policy blunders have brought him compliments from no one outside the State Dept.

“We were shocked,” one official was quoted as saying.

Not only was he shocked, he was “mystified” at Ya’alon, who earlier this year was reprimanded by the American government for very undiplomatic language he uttered in what was supposed to be closed meeting, where he called Kerry “messianic”” and obsessive.” Ya’alon expressed his wish that Kerry would simply go home, collect his Nobel Prize for No Peace and “leave us alone.”

Ya’alon seemed to have learned his lesson, His criticism was offered in friendly terms, but the White  House official was quoted as saying that the defense minister shows a “disturbing pattern” in which he “disparages the U.S. administration, and insults its most senior officials.

Moshe Ya’alon  has not replied to the Obama administration’s feeling sorry for itself, but one Israel minister told Army Radio “The foreign policy of the United States all over the world is collapsing. I learn from this that Israel must not be Ukraine. It is ridiculous today to hear the Americans talking about guarantees for Israel’s security.” So now it is an unnamed ministger who has not learned the Obama Commandment,”Thous shalt not criticize” – unless you are a Muslim country, Russia, China or a Republican.

 

Ya’alon Calls the Obama Administration a Weakling

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who earlier this year called U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry “messianic” and “obsessive,” upped the ante on Monday by calling the entire Obama administration a weakling and undependable in the “stop nuclear Iran” campaign.

“We had thought it would be the United States that would lead the campaign against Iran,” said Ya’alon at a lecture at Tel Aviv University.

He cited the Ukraine crisis as an example of “weakness” in the White House which he said cannot be depended on to stop Iran’s nuclear program. “We had thought it would be the United States that would lead the campaign against Iran,” said Ya’alon.

“People know Iran cheats”, he added, but the United States and its other Western allies “engage” Iran, leaving Israel with no choice other than “ to behave as though we have nobody to look out for us but ourselves.”

That is as close as he can come to threatening a military attack on Iran without actually giving the order in public.

His comments came on the eve of more talks with Iran in Vienna under the shadow of the crisis with Russia over its plan to annex the Crimean peninsula of the Ukraine.

As for the talks with Iran, Ya’alon implied a zero rating for American and Western negotiators. “Unfortunately, when it comes to negotiating at a Persian bazaar, the Iranians are better,” according to Ya’alon.

For good measure, the Obama administration’s feebleness regarding the civil war in Syria, where he said lack of American support for Sunni Muslims at war with Syrian President Bassar al-Assad and his Iranian-Hezbollah allies is a “disappointment” to rebels and their supporters, such as Saudi Arabia.

Ya’alon did not say anything that others in the government do not know, but he simply is being less diplomatic and calling a spade a spade and a weakling a weakling.

It is a bit pitiful that Kerry and Obama talk as if the world has not changed in 60 years since the United States was the undisputed world leader. When it said jump, other countries would ask, “Head first or foot first.”

When Obama says jump, the other side indeed jumps – on Obama. It is not surprising that Iran mocks the United States every day. It is not even a small miracle that Muslim countries make fun of him.

But now it is both the Palestinian Authority, which this week supported a YouTube song video mocking Kerry, as seen here, and Israel’s defense minister using Obamas a punching bag.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority are Obama’s two hopes to show the world how much influence he has, and the world is seeing exactly how impotent he is.

The last word goes to Mitt Romney, was laughed at in the 2012 presidential campaign when he attacked Obama’s foreign policy.
He wrote in The Wall Street Journal Tuesday, “President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton traveled the world in pursuit of their promise to reset relations and to build friendships across the globe. It is hard to name even a single country that has more respect and admiration for America today than when President Obama took office, and now Russia is in Ukraine.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/yaalon-calls-the-obama-administration-a-weakling/2014/03/18/

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