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June 30, 2015 / 13 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘John Kerry’

Five Former Advisers to Obama Publish Warning on Iran Deal

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

The proposed deal with Iran to supposedly prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon “falls short of meeting the administration’s own standard of a ‘good’ agreement,'” five of President Barack Obama’s former senior advisers said in a public letter.

They published their warning just before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif are to meet in Vienna for negotiations to come up with a final agreement by next week, President Obama’s self-imposed deadline.

The ex-advisers are big time sluggers:

Dennis Ross, a semi reformed Oslo Accords architect;

David Petraeus, the former CIA director who once claimed that solving the Palestinian Authority Israel conflict was the key to all Middle East problems;

Robert Einhorn, a former member of the U.S negotiating team with Iran;

James Cartwright, a former vice-chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff; and

Gary Samore, a former Obama adviser on nuclear policy.

The letter, published in full below, states:

The agreement will not prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapons capability. It will not require the dismantling of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.

It will however reduce that infrastructure for the next 10 to 15 years. And it will impose a transparency, inspection, and consequences regime with the goal of deterring and dissuading Iran from actually building a nuclear weapon.

The former advisers to President Obama urge him to reinstate a previous condition that Iran come clean on its previous research on nuclear weapons and allow international inspectors at military sites, which the regime in Tehran has repeated over and over the past two months it will not permit.

The letter, which is backed by a larger group that includes former Sen. Joe Lieberman, also calls on President Obama to take steps that would weaken Iran’s influence in the Middle East considering the huge economic boost Tehran would receive with the lifting of sanctions.

“Without these features, many of us will find it difficult to support a nuclear agreement with Iran,” the letter states.

A White House sources insisted that a “large part” of the letter is on the same page as the American “negotiating position inside the negotiating room.”

Maybe so and maybe not,, but what about the ‘small’ part?

Here is the entire letter, as posted on the website of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy: 

The Iran nuclear deal is not done. Negotiations continue. The target deadline is June 30.  We know much about the emerging agreement. Most of us would have preferred a stronger agreement.

The agreement will not prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapons capability. It will not require the dismantling of Iran’s nuclear enrichment infrastructure. It will however reduce that infrastructure for the next 10 to 15 years. And it will impose a transparency, inspection, and consequences regime with the goal of deterring and dissuading Iran from actually building a nuclear weapon.

The agreement does not purport to be a comprehensive strategy towards Iran. It does not address Iran’s support for terrorist organizations (like Hezbollah and Hamas), its interventions in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen (its “regional hegemony”), its ballistic missile arsenal, or its oppression of its own people. The U.S. administration has prioritized negotiations to deal with the nuclear threat, and hopes that an agreement will positively influence Iranian policy in these other areas.

Even granting this policy approach, we fear that the current negotiations, unless concluded along the lines outlined in this paper and buttressed by a resolute regional strategy, may fall short of meeting the administration’s own standard of a “good” agreement.

We are united in our view that to maximize its potential for deterring and dissuading Iran from building a nuclear weapon, the emerging nuclear agreement must – in addition to its existing provisions – provide the following:

Monitoring and Verification: The inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (the “IAEA”) charged with monitoring compliance with the agreement must have timely and effective access to any sites in Iran they need to visit in order to verify Iran’s compliance with the agreement. This must include military (including IRGC) and other sensitive facilities. Iran must not be able to deny or delay timely access to any site anywhere in the country that the inspectors need to visit in order to carry out their responsibilities.

Possible Military Dimensions: The IAEA inspectors must be able, in a timely and effective manner, to take samples, to interview scientists and government officials, to inspect sites, and to review and copy documents as required for their investigation of Iran’s past and any ongoing nuclear weaponization activities (“Possible Military Dimensions” or “PMD”). This work needs to be accomplished before any significant sanctions relief.

Advanced Centrifuges: The agreement must establish strict limits on advanced centrifuge R&D, testing, and deployment in the first ten years, and preclude the rapid technical upgrade and expansion of Iran’s enrichment capacity after the initial ten-year period. The goal is to push back Iran’s deployment of advanced centrifuges as long as possible, and ensure that any such deployment occurs at a measured, incremental pace consonant with a peaceful nuclear program.

Sanctions Relief: Relief must be based on Iran’s performance of its obligations. Suspension or lifting of the most significant sanctions must not occur until the IAEA confirms that Iran has taken the key steps required to come into compliance with the agreement. Non-nuclear sanctions (such as for terrorism) must remain in effect and be vigorously enforced.

Consequences of Violations: The agreement must include a timely and effective mechanism to re-impose sanctions automatically if Iran is found to be in violation of the agreement, including by denying or delaying IAEA access. In addition, the United States must itself articulate the serious consequences Iran will face in that event.

Most importantly, it is vital for the United States to affirm that it is U.S. policy to prevent Iran from producing sufficient fissile material for a nuclear weapon – or otherwise acquiring or building one – both during the agreement and after it expires. Precisely because Iran will be left as a nuclear threshold state (and has clearly preserved the option of becoming a nuclear weapon state), the United States must go on record now that it is committed to using all means necessary, including military force, to prevent this.

The President should declare this to be U.S. policy and Congress should formally endorse it. In addition, Congressional review of any agreement should precede any formal action on the agreement in the United Nations.

Without these features, many of us will find it difficult to support a nuclear agreement with Iran.

We urge the U.S. administration not to treat June 30 as an “inviolable” deadline. Stay at the negotiating table until a “good” agreement that includes these features is reached. Extend the existing Joint Plan of Action while negotiations continue.

This will freeze Iran’s nuclear activity and international sanctions at current levels. While the United States should extend the Iran Sanctions Act so it does not expire, it should not increase sanctions while negotiations continue. U.S. alternatives to an agreement are unappealing, but Iran’s are worse. It has every incentive to reach an agreement and obtain relief from sanctions and international isolation well in advance of its elections next February. If anyone is to walk out of the negotiations, let it be Iran.

Some argue that any nuclear agreement now simply further empowers bad Iranian behavior. And there is a lot to this argument. This is why we believe that the United States must bolster any agreement by doing more in the region to check Iran and support our traditional friends and allies.

This does not mean major U.S. ground combat operations in the Middle East. But it does mean taking initiatives like the following:

In Iraq: Expand training and arming not only of Iraqi Security Forces but also Kurdish Peshmerga in the north and vetted Sunni forces in the West. Allow U.S. Special Forces to leave their bases and help coordinate air strikes and stiffen Iraqi units. Sideline Iranian-backed militia and separate them from Shiite units (“popular mobilization units”) that are not under Iranian control.

In Syria: Expand and accelerate the U.S. train and equip programs. Work with Turkey to create a safe haven in northern Syria where refugees can obtain humanitarian aid and vetted non-extremist opposition fighters can be trained and equipped. Capitalize on Bashar al-Assad’s increasing weakness to split off regime elements and seek to join them with U.S. trained opposition elements. Interdict the transshipment of Iranian weapons into Syria in coordination with the Kurds and Turkey, and consider designating as terrorist organizations Iranian-backed Shiite militias responsible for egregious atrocities.

In Yemen: Expand support for Saudi Arabia and the UAE in pressuring the warring parties to the negotiating table while seeking to split the Houthi elements away from Iran.

Regionally: Interdict Iranian arms bound for extremist groups and continue to counter its efforts to harass commercial shipping and our naval forces. Reaffirm U.S. policy to oppose Iran’s efforts to subvert local governments and project its power at the expense of our friends and allies.

Collectively, these steps also strengthen U.S. capability against Daesh (the misnamed “Islamic State”). Acting against both Iranian hegemony and Daesh’s caliphate will help reassure friends and allies of America’s continued commitment. And it will help address Israel’s legitimate concerns that a nuclear agreement will validate Iran’s nuclear program, further facilitate its destabilizing behavior, and encourage further proliferation at a time when Israel faces the possible erosion of its “qualitative military edge.”

We urge the U.S. administration to create a discreet, high-level mechanism with the Israeli government to identify and implement responses to each of these concerns.

Taking the actions we propose while the nuclear negotiations continue will reinforce the message that Iran must comply with any agreement and will not be allowed to pursue a nuclear weapon. This will increase, not decrease, the chance that Iran will comply with the agreement and may ultimately adopt a more constructive role in the region. For the U.S. administration’s hopes in this respect have little chance so long as Iran’s current policy seems to be succeeding in expanding its influence.

France Wants the Whole World to Replace US to Force ‘Peace Process’ [video]

Friday, June 19th, 2015

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius is launching a new effort to resurrect the “peace” process” that nobody seems to want, except for Western leaders who see the world from hotel rooms and airplanes.

He is traveling to the Middle East, where he plans to meet with Arab League ministers on Saturday and then with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday.

What new angle could Fabius possibly have in mind to succeed after failures of U.S. Secretaries of State James Baker, Lawrence Eagleburger, Warren Christopher, Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Rodham Clinton, John Kerry and special envoy George Mitchell, and who else?

The common denominator in the above names is that they all are Americans, and Fabius figures that is the problem. A senior French diplomat told Reuters:

The method to reach a definitive solution has been for both sides to meet face to face with the Americans as an honest broker, but this method has failed. It needs international support.

It is not as if the United States failed alone, the Quartet – consisting the U.S., Russia, the United Nations and the European Union – also escorted the Palestinian Authority to the grave pit that all of them dug for the peace process.

Fabius is building his illusion on the fallacy that, according to the same diplomat, “We can no longer isolate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the regional context.”

Once upon a time, the failure of an agreement between the Palestinian Authority and Israel was the supposed root cause of unrest in the Arab world.

Then the disagreement became the reason that no one, except perhaps Israel, could stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Now the fall guy is the Islamic State (ISIS). The diplomat said the current “inertia” is “deadly” because if there is not agreement, the ISIS will adopt the Palestinian Authority cause.

Abbas already has rejected the French proposal for a resolution in the U.N. Security Council to give both sides 18 months to agree, meaning Israel must agree to Abbas’ terms. Abbas; problem is that the French resolution would recognize Israel as a “Jewish” state, and he cannot stomach that.

Fabius, like Kerry, doesn’t take “no” for an answer, at least not for 18 months.

The French Foreign Minister forgets it is “He,” and not “he,” who has the whole in His hands.

State Department Says Amb. Oren’s Criticisms of Obama ‘Absolutely Inaccurate and False’

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Not surprisingly, an op-ed written by former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren (currently a member of Knesset in the Kulanu Party) in which Oren was highly critical of President Obama’s treatment of Israel, was the topic of acerbic questioning during Wednesday’s State Department Daily Press Briefing.

The op-ed appeared in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, and Oren wrote that President Barack Obama “deliberately” abandoned a 40-year core policy regarding Jewish population centers in Judea and Samaria.

Oren wrote that President Obama is a “friend” of Israel but nevertheless maintained that while anyone can make a mistake, President Obama did so on purpose.

Despite the description of the exchange between ranking press corps member Matt Lee of the Associated Press and State Department Spokesman John Kirby which appeared in the extreme leftist Haaretz, Kirby did not simply reject Oren’s critical op-ed as the work of “a politician trying to sell a book.”

What Kirby did say was that neither he nor the Secretary of State had yet read Oren’s book, but that the op-ed “conveys his perspective as an advocate for his government, and now as a politician who’s promoting a book.”

However, Kirby rejected Oren’s allocation of blame, stating categorically that “the account of President Obama’s leadership in the U.S.-Israeli relationship, is absolutely inaccurate and false, and doesn’t reflect what actually happened in the past.”

Kirby also specifically stated that Secretary Kerry “knows” that Oren “had limited visibility into many of the private discussions and deliberations that he describes.”

Nonetheless, the usual boilerplate “unbreakable ties” between the U.S. and Israel, and Israel’s security being “sacrosanct” was repeated by Kirby, who also quoted Secretary Kerry, with whom he said he spoke that morning, as saying, “it’s more important that we move forward in a constructive way than dwell on these accusations, false as they may be.”

Kerry Sends Official U.S. Wishes for a Joyful Ramadan to all Muslims

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement today, June 18, wishing “all Muslims a happy and blessed Ramadan.”

Ramadan occurs during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and this year begins tomorrow, Thursday, June 18. The holiday commemorates when Muslims believe God revealed the Koran to their prophet Mohammad.

Kerry characterized the Ramadan season as one which “provides spiritual nourishment and reinforces appreciation for the universal value – and values – of humanity.”

The Secretary of State also said that “Ramadan underscores the beauty in community,” and “that answers the sacred call that we desire for others what we desire for ourselves.”

In addition to announcing that the Department of State will once again host a Ramadan celebration, as will many U.S. embassies around the world, Kerry promised that the U.S. State Department will “remain in constant dialogue with the governments of Muslim-majority countries and with Muslim communities at home and abroad.”

This is because, according to Kerry, Americans pride ourselves on our “desire to communicate clearly with others in support of the fundamental rights and dignity of every human being.”

Abbas Accuses Netanyahu of Imitating Goebbels’ Propaganda Tactics

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Mahmoud Abbas has outdone himself for slander and disgust by charging that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu “uses the propaganda tactics of Goebbels to convince the world that the Palestinian Authority is the reason for the freeze in the diplomatic process.”

The Palestinian Authority chairman lashed out at Netanyahu and compared him with the Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels in comments he made on Palestinian Authority deletion. He said:

Netanyahu acts like Goebbels and lies, lies and lies…. There is no chance of any results of talks with this right-wing government.”

Abbas was responding to the Prime Minister’s speech this week at the annual Herzliya Conference, where he said:

I have been trying to speak with Mahmoud Abbas for six and a half years…. I froze construction for nearly a year, ten months. In the tenth month, he agreed to come. We met for three hours in Sharm el-Sheikh and three hours on Balfour Street in Jerusalem. He had one demand – another freeze….Six hours.

So I again call on President Abbas to return to negotiations without preconditions. But I also know he has very little reason to talk. Why should he talk? He can get by without talking. He can get by with an international community that blames Israel for not having talks. In other words, the Palestinians run from the table…from Prime Minister Barak…from Olmert… from, before that, from Sharon. And they ran away from me. When John Kerry proposed a framework for negotiations, the framework for a disagreement, for God’s sake, they ran away from that too….

Abbas did not try to counter the facts as told by Netanyahu.

Instead, he continued to disgrace himself for the foreign media who are finding it difficult to maintain their support for the “peace process.’

Goebbels?

It bears repeating that the Palestinian Authority talks about “two states” while using a map of the one state of “Palestine,” in place of all of Israel, in schools, television programs and official meetings.

It bears repeating that the Palestinian Authority says it is combating terror while it praises and honors terrorists whom it calls “martyrs.”

It bears repeating that the Abbas accuses Israel of “apartheid” and has repeatedly said that no Jew will be allowed to live under Palestinian Authority rule.

It bears repeating that Palestinian Authority has emasculated the Oslo Accords that call for negotiations with Israel on “final borders.”

John Kerry is Alive

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

John Kerry hasn’t been seen or heard from since his bicycling accident and subsequent surgery.

With the rumors that were starting to circulate about his health and even if he was alive, you’d think he was Vladmir Putin or Hassan Nasrallah.

But Kerry ended all the speculation today by releasing a photo of himself on Twitter with his status (thankfully, not a selfie).

John Kerry ‏@JohnKerry Feeling good a week after surgery. Good chats today w/@AmbassadorRice & @StateDept senior team. The work continues!

Bennett Looks for Attention with Appeal to World to Recognize Golan

Monday, June 8th, 2015

Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) chairman Naftali Bennett called on the world to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights in speech to the annual Herzliya Conference on Sunday.

Israel annexed the strategic and water-rich Golan in 1981, but many foreign media articles are preceded with the dateline “Golan Heights, Occupied Territories.”

Bennett’s initiative might be the first small step towards what is going to be an eventual reality. As Syria falls apart, the idea of handing over the Golan to Bashar Al-Assad doesn’t even enter the imagination of Secretary of State John Kerry.

However, Bennett’s call for recognition was welcomed with a resounding thud by foreign media, such as AFP, whose first words in its report were “Far-right Israeli minister.” The description is outlandish, if not libelous, unless the same news agency were to call Labor party chairman Yitzchak Herzog “far-left.”

Bennett said yesterday:

I call on the international community… to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan…. I understand that there is a disagreement on Judaea and Samaria, what the world calls the West Bank. I understand that on this we shall agree to disagree.

But the Golan, to ban agricultural exports from the Golan? Where is the logic, where is your morality? Who would you like us to give the Golan Heights to? To Assad? To Al-Nusra Front? To the Islamic State group? To Hezbollah?

There is a consensus among Israelis that the Golan Heights should remain in Israel. The 20,000 Jews in the Golan Heights make up 50 percent of the population, the other half being Druze, approximately half of whom live in the city of Majdal Shams.

Prime Minister Netanyahu took the air out of Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi party, which in the early stages of the election was polled to win 16 seats in the Knesset. By Election Day, the number was down to 12, the same it had in the previous government.

The day after the election, Netanyahu’s frantic call for Jews to vote had reduced the party’s strength to eight.

Bennett is not making the mistake of previous nationals religious parties to become a party of “Yesha,” the acronym for the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria.

He is trying to shed the party of the stigma that nationalists must be religious. Secular Knesset Member Ayelet Shaked was at the top of the heap in the elections and won the prize of Justice Minister.

Now Bennett needs even broader support in Israel to strengthen his position in the government, and his call on the world to recognize the Golan was more for local consumption than any expectation that the United Nations or even the Obama administration will admit to the truth.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/bennett-looks-for-attention-with-appeal-to-world-to-recognize-golan/2015/06/08/

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