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September 2, 2015 / 18 Elul, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Middle East’

Former Saudi Ambassador to US: Gulf States Willing to Attack Iran

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

A Saudi prince’s reaction to the nuclear agreement with Iran makes last week’s White House’s rosy spin of official reaction by Saudi Arabia to “ObamaDeal” look like an act that should never have gone on stage.

Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, former Ambassador to the United States, warned that the nuclear agreement with Iran “will wreak havoc in the Middle East” and that Gulf Powers are willing to attack Iranian nuclear sites, even if the United States is not interested.

One of King Salman’s first actions after taking the throne earlier this year was to yank Prince Bandar off the National Security Council, but he still is an advisor and an important voice, one that totally contradicts what President Barack Obama would like people to believe about Riyadh’s reaction the nuclear agreement.

White House Press Secretary, after a meeting between Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir and President Obama, glossed over Saudi skepticism of ObamaDeal and blah-blahed “about the important bilateral relationship that exists between the United States and Saudi Arabia.”

Believe that and then believe that President Obama has “an unbreakable bond with Israel.”

Prince Bandar’s comments to Beirut Daily Star and also reported by the Times of London were the first public criticism from Saudi Arabia, and he was straight to the point.

He warned that ObamaDeal will “wreak havoc” and then bluntly asserted:

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf powers are prepared to take military action without American support after the Iran nuclear deal

Prince Bandar is not a small voice. He was ambassador to Washington for 20 years, and MRC TV noted that it is unlikely that he would have conducted a major newspaper interview without King Salman’s blessing.
The prince’s view of the Obama administration sounds like Israel’s when it comes to relying on the United States.

“People in my region now are relying on God’s will, and consolidating their local capabilities and analysis with everybody else except our oldest and most powerful ally,” Prince Bandar told the Beirut newspaper.

He was even more candid in an article he wrote for the London-based Arabic news Web site Elaph, where he compared ObamaDeal with Bill Clinton’s agreement with North Korea, which supposedly would keep its word and not develop a nuclear bomb.

But Prince Bandar can forgive Clinton because “it turned out that the strategic foreign policy analysis was wrong and there was a major intelligence failure,” according to translation of interview provided by The Washington Post.

He said that he is “absolutely confident he would not have made that decision” if he had all the facts.
Prince Bandar said the case of Iran is different because:

The strategic foreign policy analysis, the national intelligence information, and America’s allies in the region’s intelligence all predict not only the same outcome of the North Korean nuclear deal but worse – with the billions of dollars that Iran will have access to.

He quoted a phrase first made by Henry Kissinger: America’s enemies should fear America, but America’s friends should fear America more.”

It sounds like Saudi Arabia and Israel are on the same page.

Suspected ISIS Jihadists Blow Up Six Hamas Vehicles in Gaza

Sunday, July 19th, 2015

Salafists linked with the Islamic State (ISIS) blew up six Hamas and Islamic Jihad vehicles in simultaneous attacks in Gaza City, Sunday morning.

At least two people were wounded.

The ability to stage a coordinated attack in the Hamas stronghold reflects both the capabilities of the jihadists as well as the growing vulnerability of Hamas, whose regime has brought misery, depression and war to the local population.

An ISIS poster was found near one of the vehicles that as exploded.

Israel’s Reshet Bet (Voice of Israel) suggested that terrorists may have used the ISIS poster to frame the Islamists for attacks, which could have been carried out only with highly organized support.

The fact that there were not many injuries offers a hint that it might have been Palestinian Authority Fatah terrorists who staged the rare attack with the intent of scaring Hamas but without causing an immediate upheaval.

So much for the “unity” that President Obama so highly applauded earlier this year.

Hamas has face difficulties with Egypt too, which accuses them of helping the ISIS terrorists in Sinai.

Senior Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal won a rare audience last week with Saudi Arabia king Salman, the first time in four years that a Saudi king has publicly confirmed discussions with the Gaza regime.

 

Netanyahu Wishes Abbas ‘Happy Eid al-Fitr’

Sunday, July 19th, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas on Friday to wish him “Happy Eid a-Ftir, which marks the end of Ramadan.

Israeli media tried to make the most out of the phone call, looking for all kinds of signs that Netanyahu and Abbes secretly have been speaking with each other towards another attempt to allow the United States to believe they are interested in the “peace process.”

Considering the Palestinian Authority’s insistence on trying to bring Israel before the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges, there really is not much to talk about, except to say “hi” on a holiday.

The office of the Prime Minister reported:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today ([Friday] spoke with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and wished him a happy Eid al-Fitr.

The Prime Minister told the PA Chairman that the citizens of Israel want peace and added that Israel would continue to act toward regional stability.

The Ma’an News Agency, based in Bethlehem and considered close to Abbas, noted that the last time Netanyahu spoke with Abbas was in June 2104, after Hamas terrorists in the Hebron area kidnapped three yeshiva youth, who nearly three weeks later were found murdered.

The Prime Minister had asked Abbes for help in finding the teenagers and the terrorists.

Since then, Palestinian Authority terrorism has sharply escalated.

Last week, the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) said it had arrested terrorists who killed a 70-year-old Israeli farmer. One of them was a member of the Palestinian Authority Force 17.

Next year at the end of Ramadan, if Netanyahu and Abbas remain in their current positions. maybe they will talk to each other.

And maybe not.

Meet the 16 Democratic Senators Who Can Scuttle ObamaDeal

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Opponents to the agreement with Iran are lacking approximately nine Democratic senators to override a Presidential veto of its rejection, but the truth that is an opposition victory might have limited meaning.

Congress cannot strike down the agreement, which was made along with five other Western powers. All it can do is block President Obama’s agreement to lift U.S. sanctions.

Doing so would be very significant, both politically for President Obama and the Democratic party as well as for American’s relations with the other P5+1 countries and Iran.

There are seven undecided Democratic senators, according to a tally by the Washington Post’s Amber Phillips.

If all of them turn against President Obama, it will be easier to convince a couple of others whose positions are not yet known.

The seven undecided Democrats, acceding to Phillips, are:

Michael Bennet of Colorado;

Ben Cardin of Maryland;

Bob Casey of Pennsylvania;

Joe Donnelly of Indiana;

Tim Kaine of Virginia;

Bill Nelson of Pennsylvania;

and Mark Warner of Virginia.

Cardin is one of the most important of the undecided. He attends Baltimore’s largest and wealthiest modern Orthodox Beth Tfiloh Congregation, which is highly pro-Israel.

He told NPR this week:

Israel’s security issues are of major concern. We don’t want to see an arms race in the Middle East, so it is a factor. And it’s a factor that I’m sure we will carefully consider.

Earlier in the week, Cardin told Bloomberg:

There is no trust when it comes to Iran. In our deliberations we need to ensure the negotiations resulted in a comprehensive, long-lasting, and verifiable outcome that also provides for snap-back of sanctions should Iran deviate from its commitments.

The nine Democratic Senators whose positions are not known are:

Cory Booker of New Jersey;

Maria Cantwell of Washington;

Claire McCaskill of Missouri;

Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota’

Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota;

Barbara Mikulski of Maryland;

Sen. Patty Murray of Washington;

Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan; and

Sen. Jon Tester of Montana.

One of the most pivotal of the “unknowns” is McCaskill. She stated this week:

Preventing Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon is paramount to our national security, and if this agreement accomplishes that goal, it will make the world a safer place for America and our allies. I plan to spend the coming weeks taking a hard look at the agreement’s details to ensure that it will result in a verifiable way to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.”

Phillip’s tally shows 43 senators “leaning” to vote against ObamaDeal, including New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, and only 26 are in favor or are leaning in favor.

Analysis: Obama Defends Iran, Jabbing at Israel and Sunni States at Press Conference

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

(JNi.media) “My hope is that building on this deal, we could continue to have conversations with Iran that incentivize them to behave differently in the region,” Obama said Wednesday at a White House press conference.

In fact, listening to the president’s message, one could conclude that the source of the problem has been not the Islamic Republic, but the Jewish State and the Saudi Kingdom.

“Israel has legitimate concerns about its security regarding Iran,” Obama said, but he added Prime Minister Netanyahu has yet to present a better option.

“Without a deal,” Obama argued, “there would be no limits to Iran’s nuclear program and Iran could move close to a nuclear bomb. Without a deal, we risk even more war in the Middle East.”

Except that Netanyahu did offer an idea for a better deal — walk away from this one, don’t make more concessions, trust the fact that the Iranians need the sanctions lifted badly enough to agree to more useful terms.

Back in March, speaking only a 10-minutes walk away from where President Obama had his press conference Wednesday, Netanyahu said “Iran’s nuclear program can be rolled back well-beyond the current proposal by insisting on a better deal and keeping up the pressure on a very vulnerable regime, especially given the recent collapse in the price of oil.”

Netanyahu spoke mostly about strategy, not content, when he said, “Now, if Iran threatens to walk away from the table — and this often happens in a Persian bazaar — call their bluff. They’ll be back, because they need the deal a lot more than you do.”

“And by maintaining the pressure on Iran and on those who do business with Iran,” Netanyahu said to Obama, albeit indirectly—you have the power to make them need it even more.”

“My friends,” he said, “for over a year, we’ve been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well, this is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. We’re better off without it.”

The deal is a “historic chance to pursue a safer and more secure world,” Obama said at his news conference. “It represents an opportunity that may not come again in our lifetime.”

That’s not so much reality as salesmanship — the one-time chance sales pitch. But what was the upside of taking seriously Iran’s threat to walk away from the table unless… — when it was clear Iran was the side that’s aching for economic relief?

In addition to attacking Israel and its prime minister, Obama on Wednesday also attacked America’s friends and allies of many decades in the region, who are easily as terrified as the Israelis are of the possibility of a nuclear Iran.

A point to consider: since the 1950s, Israel has had enough nuclear weapons to eliminate every living thing between Afghanistan and Morocco, and yet no Arab country was feeling the urge to enter a nuclear arms race because they feared an imminent attack from the direction of Tel Aviv. But as soon as the Mullahs in Tehran began to arm themselves, everyone in the region starts preparing for a nuclear confrontation?

Does it say anything about what Arab leaders think about the sanity of the supreme leader and his merry revolutionary guards?

In May, Obama invited America’s Gulf allies to a meeting in Camp David, to calm them down. Evidently, they were hysterical, as they still are. The pro-Saudi London paper Asharq Al Awsat wrote an editorial on Wednesday headlined: “Iran nuclear deal opens the gates of evil in the Middle East.”

“Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states can only welcome the nuclear deal, which in itself is supposed to close the gates of evil that Iran had opened in the region,” the editorial concluded. “However, the real concern is that the deal will open other gates of evil, gates which Iran mastered knocking at for years even while Western sanctions were still in place.”

Bush Labels Obama ‘Desperate'; Trump: Our Country’s Going to Hell

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

Donald Trump, who remains at the top of the overstuffed heap of Republican presidential candidates, dumped all over President Barack Obama for the new agreement with Iran and said, “This country’s going to hell.”

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio were not much less harsh, with Bush comparing President Obama with Chamberlain’s appeasement to Hitler, while Rubio said the deal undermines America’s security.

The “ObamaDeal,” just like ObamaCare, is going to get a spanking in Congress but the President is counting on Democratic Senators to prevent a two-thirds veto-proof opposition to ObamaDeal.

Trump said what everyone in the Middle East knows. “The Persians are always great negotiators” and that’s why “they are laughing at us back in Iran,” he told CNN.

He noted that Iran is holding four Americans on charges of espionage and added:

Why couldn’t they make that part of the deal? It would have happened quickly — easily if you had the right messenger. And that should have actually happened earlier. That should have happened at the beginning of the negotiations….

I’ll be honest with you. I want to save the country. Our country’s going to hell. We have a problem. I want to make America great again.

Trump told NBC that President Obama “dealt from desperation,” and remarked, “You know the Iranians are going to cheat. They’re great negotiators and you know they’re going to cheat.

Bush compared President Obama with Chamberlain and said in a prepared statement:

This isn’t diplomacy – it is appeasement. The people of Iran, the region, Israel, America, and the world deserve better than a deal that consolidates the grip on power of the violent revolutionary clerics who rule Tehran with an iron fist.

Sen. Rubio stated, “Based on what we know thus far, I believe that this deal undermines our national security. President Obama has consistently negotiated from a position of weakness, giving concession after concession to a regime that has American blood on its hands, holds Americans hostage, and has consistently violated every agreement it ever signed.

He told Fox News:

For him [Obama], this whole deal, you know what it is? It is an exhibit in his presidential library.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton called the ObamaDeal “an important step which puts a lid on Iran’s nuclear programs.” Vermont Sen. and underdog Bernie Sanders was more extreme and congratulated President Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for a “victory for diplomacy over saber-rattling [that] could keep the United States from being drawn into another never-ending war in the Middle East.”

Others argue just the opposite, that ObamaDeal makes war inevitable.

Rubio was quoted in The Washington Times as saying:

Look at the press coverage of this issue: Some of it’s been glowing as some sort of historic deal — it’s ridiculous.  A third-rate autocracy has now been given equality with a world power, with the United States of America.

They are now a nuclear threshold country on a deal signed with the United States and other global powers. That’s why they’re cheering in the streets [of] Tehran; that’s why they’re celebrating. You don’t see any celebrations in America. You don’t see any celebrations in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, because they know this is a one-sided deal.

Assad Ecstatic over Nuclear Agreement with Iran

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad fell over himself praising the agreement with Iran, which he called a “glorious victory.”

He wrote Iranian President Hassan Rouhani:

I am happy that the Islamic Republic of Iran has achieved a great victory by reaching an agreement. In the name of the Syrian people, I congratulate you and the people of Iran on this historic achievement.

The agreement will lift sanctions and pour tens of billions of dollars into the Iranian treasury, which has invested billions in weapons and Hezbollah’s presence in Syria to save Assad’s neck.

Assad added, “We are confident the Islamic Republic will continue to back and with more vigor the just causes of all people,” he said.

Syria opposition leader Ahmed Ramadan told The Wall Street Journal:

Iran’s hands are dripping with the blood of Syrians. It will have to do a lot to wash this away.”

New money for Iran is not going to wash anything away, but it will make Syria, whatever is left of it, even redder

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/assad-ecstatic-over-nuclear-agreement-with-iran/2015/07/15/

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