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April 27, 2015 / 8 Iyar, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘John Kerry’

Obama Says ‘Give Iran Talks a Chance; Israel Safer Than Ever

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama revealed in an exclusive interview with Reuters late Monday that American officials do not actually know how far Iran really is from “breakout” – that is, how far from reaching the ability to create a nuclear weapon.

The reason for this is because Iran is still failing to come clean about its nuclear program.

“There is a substantial disagreement in terms of how to achieve that. And what it boils down to is what’s the best way to ensure that Iran is not developing a nuclear weapon.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu thinks that the best way to do that is either through doubling down on more sanctions or through military action, ensuring that Iran has absolutely no enrichment capabilities whatsoever. And there’s no expert on Iran or nuclear proliferation around the world that seriously thinks that Iran is going to respond to additional sanctions by eliminating its nuclear program.

“What we’ve said from the start is by organizing a strong sanctions regime, what we can do is bring Iran to the table. And by bringing Iran to the table, force them to have a serious negotiation in which a) we are able to see exactly what’s going on inside of Iran b) we’re able to create what we call a breakout period, a timeline where we know if they were to try to get a nuclear weapon it would take them a certain amount of time.

“And the deal that we’re trying to negotiate is to make sure that there’s at least a year between us seeing them try to get a nuclear weapon and them actually being able to obtain one.

“And as long as we’ve got that one-year breakout capacity, that ensures us that we can take military action to stop them if they were stop it. Now, we’re still in the midst of negotiations. What I’ve said consistently is, we should let these negotiations play out. If, in fact, Iran is agree, willing to agree to double-digit years of keeping their program where it is right now and, in fact, rolling back elements of it that currently exist …

REUTERS – Double digit years?

OBAMA – Double digit years. If we’ve got that and we’ve got a way of verifying that, there’s no other steps we can take that would give us such assurance that they don’t have a nuclear weapon.

“Now, Iran may not agree to the rigorous inspection demands that we’re insisting on. They may not agree to the low levels of enrichment capabilities they would have to maintain to ensure that their breakout is at least a year. But if they do agree to it, it would be far more effective in controlling their nuclear program than any military action we could take, any military action Israel could take and far more effective than sanctions will be.

“And we know that because during the period in which we applied sanctions for over a decade, Iran went from about 300 or a couple of hundred centrifuges to tens of thousands of centrifuges in response to sanctions.

REUTERS – Let’s talk a little bit specifically about the prime minister. Susan Rice said that what he has done by accepting the invitation to speak was destructive to the fabric of the relationship. Would you agree that it’s destructive? And if so, will there be any consequences for him or for Israel?

OBAMA – You know, I think that Prime Minister Netanyahu is sincere about his concerns with respect to Iran. And given Iran’s record and given the extraordinarily disruptive and dangerous activities of this regime in the region, it’s understandable why Israel is very concerned about Iran. We are too. But what we’ve consistently said is we have to stay focused on our ultimate goal, which is preventing Iran from having a nuclear weapon.

Kerry Says US Will Defeat ISIS but ‘Don’t Ask Me When’

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told ABC news Sunday that he admits that the war against the Islamic State (ISIS) is not near an end by insists the United States will win, even if he does not know when.

“Do you stand by your recent comments that we’re on the road to beating ISIS?” asked ABC interviewer Martha Raddatz.

He answered:

What I said was we’re on the road to success, and that begins in Iraq, and yes, I stand by it. We are growing in the capacity on the ground… The fact is that in Iraq, they have gained back a fixed, significant percentage of the area that ISIL was controlling.

When reminded that Central Command said the Iraqi city of Mosul would be re-taken from ISIS by this spring, Kerry replied:

As I think you’ve seen, that has been contradicted and I think walked back. And there are a number of different options out there, so nobody should count on what they’ve read or what they’ve seen. This will happen when we are ready. It will happen on the coalition’s schedule, and it will happen when there is confidence that it will be successful.

I’m not going to get into timetables. It will happen.

He did not say whether it would be this year or another year but admitted that things in Syria are even tougher.

“Syria is a bigger challenge,” according to Kerry.” We will need people on the ground. It will not be American forces, but we are working on that…. Arab countries in the region are stepping up their efforts. I have meetings this week with all of the GCC. I’ll be meeting with King Salman of Saudi Arabia….

“”People are thinking about the day-to-day vision of what is happening on the ground in Syria, in Libya, where 21 Coptic Christians had their heads cut off, where a soldier is burned and a pilot in a cage, where American journalists have been beheaded publicly. We understand that. But I still stand by what I said, which is in large terms, compared to the last century, there are, in fact, fewer people dying of the means that you look at, by state war, violence, health, et cetera.”

The U.S.-led coalition on Sunday said it launched seven aerial strikes on ISIS targets in Iraq and that two American drones in Syria hit an ISIS unit and two vehicles.

Kerry Warns Abbas Not to Break Security Ties with Israel

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly warned Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas in a phone call not to suspend security cooperation with Israel, according to Arab media.

Kerry’s spokeswoman Jen Psaki did not deny the report and sidestepped confirming it.

In Friday’s daily press briefing, she was asked specifically if “Kerry during his call warn President Abbas not to suspend security cooperation with Israel?”

Psaki said:

He [Kerry] spoke to President Abbas on Wednesday. They discussed current dynamics between the Palestinian Authority and Israel and the importance of ensuring the financial viability of the Palestinian Authority. The Secretary also detailed his efforts with key stakeholders to prevent a crisis in the West Bank and the way ahead in the coming months.

PA media headlined reported, “Mr. Kerry threatening Abbas of U.S. sanctions if he even dared to stop the security cooperation with Israel.”

So did he or didn’t he?

Psaki did not deny it and simply said, “I just addressed the question of what they discussed, and I think that certainly isn’t consistent with what I just outlined in terms of their call.

That is ‘spokesmen’s talk” for “yes, he did threaten Abbas but I won’t say that.”

The idea that Kerry and Obama are against Israel is only half-true. They also are against the Palestinian Authority. They are against anyone who does not cooperate with Obama’s attempts to fulfill the expectations of the Nobel Prize establishment, which bestowed the president with the Nobel Peace Prize before he had a chance to show he does not deserve it.

State Dept. Admits Even Obama Is not ‘Infallible’

Friday, February 27th, 2015

U.S. State Dept. spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Thursday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is not infallible and therefore may be wrong in opposing a potential “bad” deal with Iran.

Pressed by Associated Press reporter Matt Lee if the pope and President Barack Obama also are not infallible, she admitted everyone is.

The questioning was in response to Secretary John Kerry’s testimony at Congress where he questioned Netanyahu’s judgment for supporting the 2003 war in Iraq.

Lee asked, “I’m wondering if you can explain a bit more about what he[Kerry] meant since there were a lot of people, including himself at one point, who were supporters of that war, and why this makes Prime Minister Netanyahu’s judgment suspect and does not make anyone else’s judgment suspect….. I’m sure that there may be other things that Prime Minister Netanyahu has been wrong about.”

Psaki performed some fancy verbal acrobatics and said that Kerry’s”point was about where we are with the Iran negotiations, and that we have to look at all of the options, look at all of the information that’s available, to – and have an open mind about how to approach this. And that’s what he’s asking from the prime minister.”

When Psaki agreed with Lee that “no one is infallible,” not even the pope or the president, he persisted:

if no one is infallible, how is it possible that Prime Minister Netanyahu here in his opposition to a potential Iran deal is wrong and you guys are all right?….

It’s the approach that the prime minister has an issue with, not the goal that you both – that I think he would say that you share with him. Psaki said the Obama administration does not agree that its approach to the Iranian nuclear threat is the problem. She adds that Netanyahu is wrong because he is part of an “effort to prejudge an outcome when the details are not yet known.”

But enough of the details are known.

There is a scary parallel between the “negotiations” with Iran and the U.S.-led negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Technically, details of a final agreement were not known, but the Palestinian Authority gradually ruled out compromise on virtually all issues, leaving as “details” its demands that were evolving into a de facto final agreement.

Netanyahu finally drew the line after his own administrations, as well as those under Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni, caved in time after time.

Instead of a “bad deal, there was no deal, forcing the Palestinian Authority to go to the United Nations to try to force an agreement on Israel and prove to the world that Ramallah really was not interested in negotiations.

Kerry and Obama failed in the “peace process.” They blamed Mahmoud Abbas, no less than Netanyahu, for the failure.

They proved that they, even more than Netanyahu, are not infallible.

Lithuania Restores Military Draft, Eyes Ukraine’s Fight for Life

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

As the situation in Ukraine provides an object lesson in what to avoid in national defense strategies, Lithuania has decided to restore mandatory army service to its list of “to do”s for young men entering adulthood.

Lithuanian males from ages 19 to 27 will be called to serve their country for a period of nine months beginning in September 2015. The draft will be in force for the next five years.

Some 3,000 eligible males will be drafted, government officials told international media on Tuesday. President Dalia Grybauskaite said after a meeting of top government officials and military leaders the measure was necessary due to the “growing aggression in Ukraine. Lithuania has no tanks or military aircraft, however. Its entire military force totals some 15,000 troops.

The move comes amid tensions that continue to widen concern around the region — as well as around the world — as Ukraine fights for its life with pro-Russia separatists seizing control over an increasingly wide area.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday, according to the DW website.

Speaking to a meeting of U.S. senators, an irritated Kerry said Tuesday that officials in Moscow had been “lying” about Russia’s involvement in Ukraine.

“Russia has engaged in a rather remarkable period of the most overt and extensive propaganda exercise that I’ve seen since the height of the Cold War,” Kerry told the Senate subcommittee meeting. “And they have been persisting in their misinterpretations — lies — whatever you want to call them — about their activities to my face, to the face of others, on many different occasions,” he added.

On Saturday, he and the Russian foreign minister would meet to discuss “Syria and other things” before leaving for Iran to continue negotiations on Tehran’s nuclear development program.

Kerry Sets Up Israel as Fall Guy if Palestinian Authority Goes Bankrupt

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told his British counterpart Phillip Hammond Saturday he is worried that the Palestinian Authority might go belly-up might be cause for Mahmoud Abbas to cease security coordination with Israel.

Hammon, like every other leader in the European Union,  also should be worried because a bankrupt Palestinian Authority would prove to the citizens in the European Union that their countries have thrown billions of dollars down the drain by keeping Abbas’ regime solvent.

The State Dept. has repeatedly said that Israel should resume turning over to the Palestinian Authority more than $100 million in tax revenues it collects each month on goods that are sent into Judea and Samaria.

The PA owes the Israel Electric Corp. hundreds of millions of dollars for electricity, which is reason enough to withhold the tax revenues. Israel always has resumed the payments until Abbas’ move last year to join the International Criminal Court.

Abbas has repeatedly threatened on different occasions and for different reasons to halt security coordination with Israel, a move that only would hasten the downfall of the Palestinian Authority. Without the help of the IDF, anarchy would reign, so no matter what Abbas does, he loses.

Kerry’s spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters last week:

It’s true we’re very concerned about the continued viability of the Palestinian Authority if they do not receive funds soon, either in terms of the resumption of monthly Israeli transfers of Palestinian tax revenues or additional donor assistance….

If the Palestinian Authority ceases security coordination or even decides to disband, as they have said they may do as early as the first week of March if they do not receive additional revenues, we could be faced with a crisis that could gravely impact both the Palestinians and the Israelis with potentially serious ripple effects either – elsewhere in the region.

Harf, Kerry and Obama: ‘The Answer to Violent Extremism is #Jobs4RandomFolk’

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

As children it was reassuring to hear Mister Rogers, clad in his cardigan sweater and slippers, remind us that people sometimes do bad things, but that does not mean they are bad people.

It is much less reassuring when the leaders of the Free World act as if they are impersonating Mister Rogers and as if those who depend on their leadership are  elementary school kids whose lunch money was stolen.

It is undoubtedly true that not all Muslims are violent extremists, but there is, currently, an assault on western civilization and it is being waged by Muslim extremists in the name of Islam.

This week the U.S. has been hosting a summit on Countering Violent Extremism. Some may have hoped real answers would be forthcoming.

So when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry writes in a Feb. 18 op-ed that the U.S. vision for countering violent extremism is to create a safer and more prosperous future, jaws dropped. Those jaws didn’t drop because Kerry’s words were insightful or inspiring. The dropped either in disbelief or as the first physical manifestation of a yawn. We’ve heard all this before; it was wrong then and it’s wrong now.

It was the same response some had to the atrocities committed against the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. “If only” those misguided men had access to education and employment, and chickens in pots, they would not turn to such unspeakable violence. But those men did have access to education and all the opportunities open to those who do. Deprivation of opportunity is not what drove their violent extremism, and it isn’t what is driving Boko Haram or ISIS or al Qaeda.

The “education and opportunity” prescription is the same one offered to explain Palestinian Arab terrorists. But those who write the prescription ignore the reality: many of those who engage in terrorism are not without opportunities, it is a choice they make regardless of standing in life and access to education, and it is one offered to them by a leadership with vise-like control over its followers.

It is the same prescription that inspired mass-ridicule when recently uttered by Marie Harf, deputy spokesperson for the U.S. State Department. The twitter hashtag that rocketed to the top of the charts, “#Jobs4ISIS” was a laughingstock.

Despite what Deputy Spokesperson Harf, and her boss Secretary of State Kerry, and his boss, U.S. President Obama insist is not the case, the violent extremists threatening world order are Islamist extremists, and what they need is not more jobs.  They need to be defeated militarily.

And yet, when claiming that military defeat is the wrong goal, Kerry proceeds to give examples of the violence committed by the random violent extremists. And each example is an act committed by Islamists in the name of Islam: “Military force is a rational and often necessary response to the wanton slaughters of children, mass kidnappings of schoolgirls, and beheading of innocents. But military force alone won’t achieve victory.”

The word Islam never appears in Kerry’s 14 paragraph, 938 word op-ed on Countering Violent Extremism.

The word Muslim appears once. It crops up in the category of the biggest victims of this unnamed, orphan, random violent extremism. It comes up in a paragraph in which Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are lined up as equal victims. It is employed to demonstrate that not only is the source of violent extremism random, so are the victims:

A safer and more prosperous future also requires us not to be distracted by divisions grounded in hatred or bias. There is no room in this fight for sectarian division. There is no room for Islamophobia or anti-Semitism. Violent extremism has claimed lives in every corner of the globe, and Muslim lives most of all. Each of us is threatened, regardless of ethnicity, faith or homeland.

The rest of Kerry’s op-ed reads like something an earnest high school disciplinarian might say to teenagers who have been unruly. Kerry uses phrases like “peaceful communities” and “a vision that is positive and proactive,” a world with “concrete alternatives” and “a chance at a better life.”

For one brief, almost shining moment, Kerry stumbles on to a good idea. “The most basic issue is good governance.” But then, he drops the thought and instead goes on to discuss what the rest of the world needs to do in order to make the potential random violent extremists feel better about themselves and so less likely to blow us all to kingdom come.

Once again, as he concludes his statement, Kerry kicks into #jobs4ISIS mode. He channels Mister Rogers and suggests we all need to be ‘tailoring our efforts and targeting our resources’ and training youth so they can become employed and embrace “dignity and self-reliance,” as well as “security and justice.”

Jaw-dropping. Pardon the yawn.

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/harf-kerry-and-obama-the-answer-to-violent-extremism-is-jobs4randomfolk/2015/02/19/

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