State Dept. Spokesperson John Kirby’s daily press briefing on Thursday touched on the ominous possibility that the Obama Administration will wait until after the November election, so as not to steer Jewish votes away from the Democratic candidate, and then, in a final splash of power, just before going down from the world’s stage, blow up a landmine in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s face and support or fail to veto a UN Security Council resolution creating a Palestinian State and ordering the hasty removal of all Jewish presence on the “wrong” side of the 1967 border.
We redacted and edited the exchange to make it a tad more entertaining. But one can smell the danger hidden in the spokesman’s evasions. Barring divine intervention, the Obama gang is planning to install a Palestinian State and create facts on the ground so that the next Democrat in the White House will have to start from that point, rather than with today’s murky uncertainty.
We join the conversation that’s already in progress…
Reporter: On Security Council resolutions – will you consider either supporting or failing to veto a resolution on settlement activity in the West Bank?
Kirby: …We are very concerned about trends on the ground and we do have a sense of urgency about the two-state solution. We will consider all of our options for advancing our shared objective of lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but I’m not going to comment on a draft Security Council resolution. Okay?
Reporter: What does that mean, we do have a sense of urgency for a two-state solution?
Kirby: It means exactly what it says and what I’ve been saying from the podium here for months and months and months.
Reporter: So you see a sense of urgency to get to a two-state solution?
Kirby: Sure we do. We very much would like to see a two-state solution realized, yes.
Reporter: I don’t understand.
Kirby: I don’t know what’s not to understand about “we have a sense of urgency.”
Reporter: Well, because there’s only, like, eight months left of the Administration. … You had a sense of urgency back in 2009; you had a sense of urgency when Secretary Kerry took over in 2012.
Kirby: So as time gets shorter, we shouldn’t have a sense of urgency?
Reporter: But if you had a real sense of urgency, you would’ve done something already, right?
Kirby: We have consistently had a sense of urgency.
Reporter: Does that mean, when you say you have a sense or urgency about this, that you’re going to try to cram something in that results in a two-state solution by the end of this Administration?
Kirby: I’m not going to hypothesize on future actions, whatever we continue to do or continue to consider, I don’t know that I would say it’s about cramming. It is about trying to move forward in a productive way towards a two-state solution. And as I’ve said before, we also look to the sides to enact the right kind of leadership to get us there, because ultimately it has to be done by them.
Reporter: But you’re not automatically opposed to a UN Security Council resolution that would call for a two-state solution?
Kirby: We’re not going to comment on this informal draft resolution.
Reporter: I’m not asking you to comment on this informal one. I’m saying that if a resolution presented itself that was evenhanded, in your view – not one-sided or biased against Israel – that called for an end of settlements, called for an end of incitement, and also called for the creation of two states, would you automatically oppose?
Kirby: Well, without getting into those provisions that you listed out there and making a judgment about that, I’d go back to what I said before, and that’s we will consider all of our options for advancing a shared objective, a two-state solution.
Reporter: And that would include a resolution?
Kirby: We’ll consider all options to advance a two-state solution.
Reporter: When you spoke of urgency, did you mean that the urgency comes from the possibility that the two states [solution will go] beyond reach?
Kirby: A sense of urgency about the importance of getting to a two-state solution, which has been a consistent point that we’ve made.
Reporter: But there’s a difference between consistency and urgency.
Kirby: What’s the difference?
Reporter: Well, if it’s always urgent, then it’s never more urgent than before.
Kirby: Well, I don’t know that I’d agree with that. Sometimes something can be always urgent and consistently urgent —
Reporter: You sound like a Foreigner song. (Laughter.) … There’s a song called Urgent. Maybe you’re too young to remember —
Kirby: No, I remember that. (Laughter). I know – I remember the song. I didn’t like it.
For the record, here’s the refrain from Foreigner’s memorable ending to Urgent:
“It gets so urgent / So urgent / You know it’s urgent / I wanna tell you it’s the same for me / So oh oh urgent / Just you wait and see / How urgent our love can be / It’s urgent.
“You say it’s urgent / Make it fast, make it urgent / Do it quick, do it urgent / Gotta rush, make it urgent / Want it quick / Urgent, urgent, emergency / Urgent, urgent, emergency / Urgent, urgent, emergency / Urgent, urgent, emergency / So urgent, emergency / Emer… emer… emer… / It’s urgent.”
Reporter: There are those within the President’s party, certainly the former Secretary of State, that say that simply the venue itself is not the place to impose a solution from without. I just want to be clear that you think that, because you’re considering all of your options, you may consider the UN Security Council to be the venue to impose —
Kirby: I don’t – I’m not going to elaborate on my answer to you. I think I’d point you back to what I said before.
Reporter: Let me just follow up on this just for a second, okay? I mean, seeing how time after time you call on the Israelis to refrain from settlement activities, to cease settlement activities, you call them illegal and so on, but in fact they don’t really listen much to what you have to say. So in that case, in that situation, why not have a forum in the United Nations where the world can collectively come up with some sort of a resolution that they all agree on, which is the cessation of settlement activities? Why would you be opposed to that? Why can’t you say that you would support this at the United Nations?
Kirby: Again, I’m going to point you back to my original answer, which made it clear we’re not going to comment on a draft resolution that’s only been informally presented in New York, and that, as I said, we’ll consider all of our options to try to get to a two-state solution. So I think I’m just not going to go any further than that, Said. I know that’s not satisfying for you, but that’s really where we are right now.
(The conversation we refer to starts around min. 43:50)
At the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Jan. 24, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered several pointed remarks.
Netanyahu thanked U.S. President Barack Obama “for deciding to attend the International Holocaust Remembrance Day event at the Israeli embassy. The US President has not been at the Israeli embassy for many years.” The day of remembrance this year will be observed on Jan. 27.
Although Netanyahu claimed that Obama’s decision to attend the event was evidence of the strong relationship between the two countries, his verbiage suggested otherwise.
Netanyahu claimed the relationship between the two nations is “very strong and steadfast.”
He went on to stay that “what has collapsed is the talk about a collapse and what is becoming increasingly clear is that this special relationship finds expression in very many areas.”
One example of such expression being found is the package of security assistance for Israel from the U.S., the terms of which Netanyahu hopes will be finalized in the coming months.
Discussion about that package officially began in earnest between the two parties once the U.S.-led negotiations concluded over the Nuclear Iran Deal. The U.S. sought to assure Israel that it “has Israel’s back” despite the deal, by providing what it claims is adequate protection from Iran’s war-mongering.
The Israeli government initially refused to engage in discussions about the memorandum regarding U.S. military assistance to Israel, in order to make clear it was not acquiescing in the American rationale for the deal with Iran, which Netanyahu lobbied against relentlessly, claiming it would pose an existential risk to the Jewish State.
Once the deal releasing Iran from sanctions was concluded, the Israeli prime minister came back to the table for the military assistance package which is expected to exceed $3.1 billion per year, and may reach $5 billion per year. The new ten year deal follows an earlier one which is set to expire in 2017.
Netanyahu concluded his public statements before the cabinet meeting by mentioning talks he had at the World Economic Forum at Davos with Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry. Following their talk, Biden “reaffirmed the unshakable U.S. commitment to Israel’s security.”
Netanyahu said, “Everyone understands that in the end, in the whirlpool in the Middle East, with the rise of radical Islamic forces, Israel is the U.S.’s strongest, and most loyal and stable, ally in the region. This also finds expression in the shared values and common interests that we are advancing.”
Despite Iran’s repeated claims to the contrary, a report just issued by the nuclear watchdog agency concluded that Iran had pursued a nuclear weapons program.
The Obama administration welcomed the report issued Wednesday, Dec. 2, by the International Atomic Energy Agency, saying it would likely pave the way for the removal of economic sanctions on Tehran as early as January. The report is titled “Final Assessment of Past and Present Outstanding Issues Regarding Iran’s Nuclear Programme.”
What did the Administration find reassuring in the report? That the IAEA was unable to find evidence that Tehran’s efforts to pursue a nuclear bomb extended beyond 2009. What is the administration prepared to ignore? That Iran has been lying all along when its leaders said its nation had never pursued creating nuclear weapons.
According to the Wall Street Journal, U.S. officials are satisfied by Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA over the past five months. That apparent cooperation “likely will be seen as sufficient to allow the deal to move ahead.”
“Iran has provided what [the IAEA] says was sufficient,” said a senior U.S. official working on the implementation of the Iran deal.
The administration’s reliance on recent apparent cooperation is even less reassuring given that Iranian officials on Wednesday continued to deny they ever had a weapons program.
This new flexibility follows the statement by Secretary of State John Kerry in April of this year that if there’s going to be a deal, Iran will have to come clean on its past nuclear work. Oh, never mind.
But there is more that some might – and most should – find worrisome about the report.
Iran has consistently maintained that its Parchin military facility was simply used to store chemicals and explosives. Tehran had long refused IAEA access to Parchin. But samples taken from that site, according to this IAEA report, did not support Iran’s claims about what took place there.
Instead, the IAEA report said its analysis of samples taken from Parchin supports the view that the building was used to house a chamber where nuclear-related explosives tests likely took place.
But lying was not one of the forbidden items on the U.S. list of requirements for Iran. As far as this administration is concerned, all Iran had to do trigger sanctions relief was follow the formal obligations outlined in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action drawn up in July.
And one final concern: the IAEA report also reveals that Iran has not been forthcoming on several points of its investigation. No new information on those points has been provided since 2011.
NETANYAHU CLAIMS THE IAEA REPORT CONFIRMS IRAN CANNOT BE TRUSTED
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seized upon the findings in the IAEA report as proof that his mistrust of Iran was entirely justified.
The Israeli leader issued a statement on Wednesday that the report “proves beyond any doubt that Iran’s secret program for the development of nuclear weapons continued even after 2003, as Israel has maintained.”
Netanyahu said the most glaring example of Iran’s concealment of and deception about its nuclear program was its treatment of the Parchin facility “where the Iranians tried to hide and tamper with evidence of their illicit activities.”
The Israeli Prime Minister called on the international community to use all means at its disposal to continue and expand the IAEA investigation to make sure Iran is not able to secretly build a nuclear weapon.
“Unless and until the investigation is completed, the world will not know the full extent of Iran’s covert nuclear weapons program and where it stands today,” Netanyahu said.
The full IAEA board is scheduled to meet on Dec. 15. That board includes the U.S. and its P5+1 partners, the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia and Germany. They will decide whether to end the investigation into Iran’s nuclear activity and lift the sanctions.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke about U.S. Policy Towards the Middle East on Wednesday, Oct. 28 at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Kerry touched on many topics during his hour-long talk, including the Nuclear Iran Deal, ISIS, the war in Syria and, of course, the Arab-Israeli conflict.
GENESIS OF ISIS
Kerry claimed that ISIS – which is apparently now to be known in U.S. Diplo-talk as Daesh – arose out of the chaos during the early days of the Syrian Revolution, when poor, disillusioned Syrians were protesting in the streets because they just wanted jobs and a future.
But Bassar al-Assad’s thugs, Kerry explained, beat up those young people. Then the parents of the young people went out in the streets to clash with Assad’s thugs, who in turn used bullets and bombs on the protesting parents.
“Having made peaceful change impossible, Assad made war inevitable,” Kerry said. And then Assad turned to Hezbollah for help, and then to Iran and Russia, and this exacerbated tensions between Sunni and Shiite communities, and this paved the way for Daesh.
Kerry made clear the U.S. is not pleased with Russia’s role so far in the conflict, because instead of fighting ISIS, Russian airstrikes have been targeting Assad’s enemies.
But Kerry is committed to a political solution to the crisis – he apparently sees ISIS and the Syrian conflict as the same battle – and believes there must and will be a political transition that sidelines Assad.
Kerry claims that all the participants in the conflict agree that “the status quo is untenable.” Sound familiar?
We all agree that we need to find a way to have a political solution, we all agree that a victory by Daesh or any other terrorist group absolutely has to be prevented. We all agree that it’s imperative to save the state of Syria, and the institutions on which it is built and to preserve a united and secular Syria.
Kerry called on the Russians to get with the program and allow a transition “that will unite the country and will enable this beleaguered country to rehabilitate itself, bring back its citizens, and live in peace.”
That’s all. Not asking much. Just stop the fighting, unite the country, have free and fair elections, and all will be good.
SYRIA MUST BE UNITED; ISRAEL MUST BE DIVIDED
In contrast to Kerry’s insistence that Syria – a factionalized country with various warring ethnic groups none of which want to be controlled by the other – be united, Kerry’s diktat for Israel is the opposite.
Although Israel has gained territory repeatedly as the result of wars waged against it by belligerent outsiders, and which since the fall of the Ottoman Empire has never been ruled by any other nations, the U.S. demands that Israel must be divided.
STATUS QUO ON TEMPLE MOUNT GOOD; STATUS QUO IN ISRAEL BAD
And Kerry continued to insist that the status quo must be maintained on the Temple Mount – a status quo which prevents Jews from moving their lips lest they be deemed praying – but the status quo in which Israel does its best to defend its citizens must be terminated.
When not pointedly referring to Har Habayit, Kerry insisted that “the current situation is simply not sustainable. President Obama has said it publicly many times, I’ve said it publicly and it is absolutely vital for Israel to take steps that empower Palestinian leaders to improve economic opportunities and the quality of life for their people on a day to day basis.”
Really? Israel has to empower the leaders of the terrorists so that economic opportunities and their quality of life is improved? The PA, one of the single largest recipients of international aid ever?
After the Senate’s filibuster of the Nuclear Iran Deal on Thursday, Sept. 10, perhaps the only remaining way for Congressional opponents of the Nuclear Iran Deal to block the measure is if Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) authorizes the House of Representatives to sue President Obama for failing to comply with the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (Corker-Cardin).
That avenue is wide open, at the moment, thanks to a decision by a Federal District Court in Washington, D.C. issued on Wednesday, Sept. 8.
The court in House of Representatives v. Burwell found that the House has standing, that is, the right, to bring a lawsuit against the executive branch of the U.S. government. The issue in the Burwell case is the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
The legal basis for the potential lawsuit would be the failure of the White House to comply with the requirements laid out in Corker-Cardin. Under that legislation passed earlier this year, the White House had to provide Congress with all documents relating to the Nuclear Iran Deal, whether codicils, side agreements, or any other agreements bearing on the issue, with or between the parties.
As was discovered this summer, there are two secret side agreements dealing with Iran’s nuclear program, the only parties to which are Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The administration has never provided Congress with any documents relating to those side agreements. As was revealed yesterday in the JewishPress.com, the administration claimed, with a straight face, that it has provided Congress with all the documentation it has. The administration was able to make that claim because not one member of the U.S. government has a single piece of paper or digital notation regarding those side deals – those were all left with the Iranian negotiators and the members of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The Iranians physically threatened to harm IAEA members if information about the secret side deals were shared with Americans, the Washington Free Beacon noted, quoting the Iranian Fars news service.
Of course the administration knew that Corker-Cardin required it to produce documentation regarding the side deals. Perhaps for this reason, first the administration tried to hide the fact that those side deals existed.
But the existence of those side agreements was discovered anyway, by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) and Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), two U.S. legislators trying to represent the interests of America, who traveled to Vienna to meet with IAEA officials in July, and who were told about the side agreements then.
Once the existence of those side deals became known, the administration officials still hid critical information about them – even to themselves, if they can be believed – although those officials had to know they were violating Corker-Cardin all along by allowing every jot of documentation to remain beyond U.S. borders.
Think about the growing mound of lies and obstructions surrounding Messr.s Obama and Kerry’s Nuclear Iran Deal. What is in it that they are so convinced Americans would revolt if the truth about it were known?
Which brings Congress, finally, at this very late date, to the possibility of litigation.
This only works if the House of Representatives, as an institution, brings the case, and that requires Boehner’s approval. Although Boehner has been late to the party, he has now become alive to the need for a vigorous legal attack on the flawed legislation itself and on the administration’s abrogation of its obligations under Corker-Cardin.
Perhaps this newfound interest stems from very serious challenges to his leadership. Those challenges are coming from Republicans on his right who have been the strongest opponents to the treaty as a threat both to the United States, as well as to Israel and the rest of the civilized world.
If Boehner has finally awakened and is prepared to use all the tools at his disposal as leader of the Republican majority in the House – which has strongly and consistently opposed this capitulatory deal – something historic may happen.
In an exclusive interview with the JewishPress.com, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) disclosed that not only has every member of Congress who voted for the Nuclear Iran Deal never seen any of the documents containing key elements of the deal, but also that not a single document from or about those side deals is anywhere in the possession of any Americans.
This means that neither the President of the United States, nor the Secretary of State, nor any member of the U.S. negotiating team has the capacity to read any of these documents and know what they say.
It means that the United States is relying on someone else’s account of what the agreements say in order to determine whether a sufficient degree of protection is afforded the United States and its allies by this agreement.
And if the description U.S. officials have been given is wrong, the United States will not know until Iranian bombs fall.
This government is entrusting – yes, entrusting because there can be no verification of an unknown – the most murderous and voracious regime on the globe with following rules governing its nuclear activity and not even the highest levels of this administration can say exactly what those rules say.
It is staggering.
Pompeo, a Harvard Law School graduate who graduated first in his class from West Point and served in the U.S. military, along with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) discovered the existence of those secret side deals when they traveled to Vienna and met with members of the International Atomic Energy Agency in July.
Since learning about those side deals, one of which deals with Iran’s Parchin military complex and inspections of such sites and the other deals with the possible military dimensions of Iran’s previous nuclear weapons program, Pompeo has been “obsessed” with finding out the details of those deals.
When asked whether he or other members of Congress planned to subpoena the administration for the documentation surrounding those side deals, Pompeo responded: “they don’t have anything.”
“No notes? No lists? No summaries?” Pompeo was asked.
“Nothing,” he answered.
Pompeo told this reporter that the briefings provided by the administration to members of Congress about the side deals were provided based on recollections of what American officials were told.
Given this bizarre turn of events, opponents of the Joint Nuclear Plan of Action (which includes those invisible side deals) plan to do three things, Pompeo said.
First, they intend to vote to block the deal from going forward, as the administration is already in violation of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (Corker-Cardin), the first Article of which explicitly required the administration to provide all documentation of every part of the deal. Because the administration has failed to fulfill its obligation, the 60 day clock on the Congressional review period has not yet begun.
Second, the Congressional opponents of the JCPOA will introduce a new motion, one of approval for the JCPOA. This will require members of Congress to affirmatively vote in favor of the deal, if that is their position, despite their ignorance of key aspects of the deal.
And third, opponents of the JCPOA in Congress will move to ensure that the current sanctions on Iran are not lifted.
The revelation provided by Pompeo also brings into focus another profound problem with the Iran agreement: by its terms – that is, according to the terms we have – the agreement is inconsistent with, and purports to overrule, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Agreement. The NNPA is a treaty, and as such, part of the Supreme Law of the Land ordained by the Constitution.
Therefore, the NNPA cannot be overruled by a mere executive agreement, which the administration has insisted is the status of the Iran deal. But if we do not actually know all of the relevant terms to which the United States has acceded, and which will govern the parts of the agreement we can see, it is even more clearly impossible for anyone to determine the extent to which this set of agreements contravenes the NNPA.