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December 8, 2016 / 8 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Obama Administration’

Setting the Record Straight: Clinton Bears Partial Responsibility for ISIS

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

During Monday night’s presidential debate, Candidate Trump accused Secretary Clinton and President Obama of bearing the responsibility for the creation of the Caliphate, a.k.a. the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Trump charged: “President Obama and Secretary Clinton created a vacuum the way they got out of Iraq, because they got out — […] they shouldn’t have been in, but once they got in, the way they got out was a disaster. And ISIS was formed.” Trump suggested that ISIS “wouldn’t have even been formed if they left some troops behind, like 10,000 or maybe something more than that. And then you wouldn’t have had them.”

Clinton responded: “I hope the fact-checkers are turning up the volume and really working hard.” She explained that “George W. Bush made the agreement about when American troops would leave Iraq, not Barack Obama. And the only way that American troops could have stayed in Iraq is to get an agreement from the then-Iraqi government that would have protected our troops, and the Iraqi government would not give that.”

Without taking sides, there is something to what Trump is saying. The fact checkers on Politico found his statement attributing the responsibility to Obama to be wrong, since, as they put it, “ISIS formed as Al Qaeda in Iraq in 2004, before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state and Barack Obama became president, and long before the US began drawing down troops in Iraq.” But the fact is that the core of both Al Qaeda in Iraq and its splinter group ISIS that became much bigger and better organized than the original franchise, were Sunni Baath Party members who lost their government and military positions once the Americans had occupied Iraq and handed the national rule to the Shiite majority.

As Reuters reported in 2015, the rising Islamic State, with the help of former Saddam Hussein military officers, out-muscled the Sunni-dominated Baath Party troops which had been fighting a guerilla war against US troops in Fallujah and elsewhere, and absorbed thousands of them. The new recruits joined Saddam-era officers who already held key posts in the Islamic State.

It’s safe to say that President GW Bush, by invading Iraq and then sending hundreds of thousands of Saddam loyalists to the unemployment lines instead of incorporating them into the new, semi-democratic Iraq, created ISIS. The creation of the Taliban and later Al Qaeda, by the way, can be largely attributed to President Reagan, whose CIA recruited and trained the Arab Mujahideen insurgent groups who fought against the Soviet Army in Afghanistan. Those same highly trained, largely Saudi troops were later galvanized into a disciplined and effective force in Bosnia, Somalia and Chechnya.

So the bulk of the blame rests with the second Bush administration, which altered the Middle East forever. Incidentally, despite the citation of a lone radio interview with shock jock Howard Stern, in which Trump made a noncommittal, off the cuff comment supporting the Iraq invasion, he clearly has been one of the earlier voices against the American presence in Iraq, while Senator Clinton with her vote actually handed President Bush the keys to start the war. She says she and fellow Democrats had been duped by Bush, who promised not to use the war powers they gave him, but some in the Senate (Sen. Obama, for one) did not fall for it.

But the most devastating point was made by Secretary Clinton when she said the Obama Administration had no choice but to pull out of Iraq, because the Shiite government, practically operating on instructions from Tehran, wouldn’t agree to let them stay. Seriously? Had President Obama actually insisted on staying he couldn’t have come up with ways to persuade the Iraqis?

The fact was Obama had promised his voters to pull the military out of Iraq by the appointed time. He did not begin the withdrawal of troops, GW Bush did, starting in 2007. But it must be noted that the last US troops left Iraq on 18 December 2011, just in time for the first Democratic primary in Iowa. They left behind a Sunni-owned Fallujah where only the US military had been able to maintain a semblance of law and order, with a combination of raids and bribes. As soon as the declared date for withdrawal had arrived, those same former Saddam loyalists who had been transformed several times over the previous decade, were ready for their current reincarnation as ISIS.

Many, including several US senators, most notably John McCain and Lindsey Graham, begged for a contingency of troops to stay, just in case things went south in Fallujah. They urged Obama to sell the idea, with a measure of force if necessary, to Prime Minster Nouri al-Maliki. But as Iraq analyst Kirk Sowell told NPR in 2015, Obama never really tried. “This is one of the criticisms of Obama — that he sort of wanted the negotiations to fail,” Sowell said, “and, so, he didn’t even talk to Maliki until it was basically all over.”

To complete this fact check: the Obama-Clinton Administration did not start the complex and incredibly expensive process that led to the creation of ISIS, but there’s no doubt they could have stopped it with a comparatively low investment of troops and funds.

Advantage Trump.

JNi.Media

What If Bibi Jabbed Obama at the UN But No One Noticed?

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

No one in the Israeli media or abroad seems to have noticed, and if they did they are yet to elaborate on the fact that in the midst of his optimistic speech before the UN General Assembly in NY, about the stellar future of Israel, and while he was inviting the global community to benefit from Israel’s amazing technological and other gifts, Prime Minister Netanyahu also delivered a shot across the bow of both the UN Security Council and, despite all his flourish of gratitude for the man, at President Obama, too.

Here’s what the prime minister said, verbatim, about 1,200 words into his Thursday’s speech:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished delegates from so many lands,

“I have one message for you today: Lay down your arms.

“The war against Israel at the UN is over. Perhaps some of you don’t know it yet, but I am confident that one day in the not too distant future you will also get the message from your president or from your prime minister informing you that the war against Israel at the United Nations has ended.

“Yes, I know, there might be a storm before the calm. I know there is talk about ganging up on Israel at the UN later this year. Given its history of hostility towards Israel, does anyone really believe that Israel will let the UN determine our security and our vital national interests?

“We will not accept any attempt by the UN to dictate terms to Israel. The road to peace runs through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not through New York.”

Everything Netanyahu has been doing over the past month or so, most notably his concession to a degraded US military aid package that could hamper Israel’s future ability to both use some of the aid money for its own industry and to appeal to a friendly US Congress for additional funds, were out of his concern for an Obama Administration November surprise.

Since the summer of 2015, the rumor mill has churned an alarming note regarding the outgoing president’s plan to take down Bibi at the final round, after the Nov. 8 vote will have been cast. Once the Democratic Party no longer needed the Jewish and pro-Israel Christian vote, regardless of who was elected, the US envoy at the UN Samantha Power would either vote in favor of a UNSC resolution on a Palestinian State in all of Judea and Samaria, or merely abstain, which would be tantamount to giving it its full support. Indeed, as Netanyahu stressed in his Thursday speech, “the only time that the United States cast a UN Security Council veto during the Obama presidency was against an anti-Israel resolution in 2011.”

There is no valid US vote other than a veto on an anti-Israel resolution, in the context of a healthy alliance between the US and Israel. On Thursday, Netanyahu made it loud and clear: if the UNSC imposes such a vote on Israel, without an American veto, Israel will disregard it.

Here’s an idea one can only raise in a rightwing Jewish publication such as The JewishPress.com: What if the fact that no one has noticed Netanyahu’s unveiled threat is because they were not expecting it? At least not as a full, frontal, in-your-face challenge? Maybe the entire speech was too “messianic” for anyone to grasp the fact that the PM was foretelling a new world order, the biblical kind? I’ll explain.

The Haftora this week is Isaiah 60, 1-22. Of the entire cycle of Isaiah prophecies of comfort Jews recite on the Shabbat days between the 9th of Av and Rosh Hashanah, this one is probably the least mystical. It does not promise any harmony between lambs and lions; instead it describes a scene astonishingly reminiscent of Netanyahu’s speech at the UN Assembly Thursday.

This chapter in Isaiah reads almost like a newspaper account of Israel’s economic, technological and diplomatic rise. It very well could be published as an actual report, with a few textual changes — taking out the camels laden with goods is recommended, for instance — that could be the leading article of some major publication on Rosh Hashanah 5778, when we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Zionist miracle.

Here is a selection of verses, there are 22 altogether — can you see these verses as headlines for current articles?

3: TECHNOLOGY: And nations will walk by your light, and kings by the brightness of your rising.

4. DEMOGRAPHIC GROWTH: Lift up your eyes round about, and see: They all are gathered together, and come to you; Your sons come from far, And your daughters are carried on their mothers’ side.

5. NATURAL GAS: Then you will see and be radiant, And your heart will throb and expand; Because the abundance of the sea will be given to you, The wealth of the nations will come to you.

6. FOREIGN INVESTMENTS: The caravans of camels will cover you, And of the young camels of Midian and Ephah, All coming from Sheba; They will bring gold and incense, And will proclaim the praises of God.

9. MASSIVE ALIYA: Surely the islands will wait for Me, And the ships of Tarshish first, To bring your sons from far, Their silver and their gold with them, For the name of the Lord your God, And for the Holy One of Israel, because He has glorified you.

11. POLITICAL PROMINENCE: Your gates also will be open continually, Day and night, they will not be shut; That men may bring to you the wealth of the nations, And their kings in procession.

12. SECURITY: Because a nation and kingdom that will not serve you will perish; Yes, those nations will be utterly wasted.

Is that a cool prophecy, or what? Obviously, the running theme through the prophecy is the fact that it’s all being done strictly because God wants it this way. He signed several covenants to this effect and now He’s starting the implementation. So, obviously, we’ll need to behave ourselves, that whole love your fellow Jew thing.

Enjoy your Shabbat…

David Israel

J Street Recruiting Obama’s Jack Lew to Rob Regavim of Non-Profit Status

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

The leftwing, anti-Netanyahu group J Street is pushing this month a petition titled, “Ask the Treasury to review the tax-deductibility of donations to groups aiding settlement expansion and Palestinian dispossession.” The umbrella cast by the petition appears to be broad, but the real target, as disclosed in an email sent out this week by Meretz MK Michal Rozin, is Regavim, a movement dedicated to enforcing the rule of law regarding illegal Arab construction everywhere.

In another email Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, sent his members in early September, he announced that he was pressuring the Obama Administration to revoke the US tax-exempt status of the Israeli NGO Regavim in response to their supposed activity against the two-state solution. Regavim has been very effective recently in forcing the Israeli authorities to apply Supreme Court rulings on demolishing illegal Arab construction in Area C of Judea and Samaria. Borrowing a page from the play book of Peace Now, which has been documenting every minute construction in Israeli communities in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, Regavim has become a pesky companion to every Arab attempt to defy the law, especially in cases where the courts, all the way up to the Supreme Court, have ruled in favor of demolition. As a result, the Netanyahu government and its law enforcement agencies can no longer ignore these rulings and permit illegal Arab construction to flourish.

One of the most outstanding recent focal points of the Regavim efforts has been their campaign against a squatter camp outside the Jewish community of Susiya in Judea, which the US and the EU insist must stay put despite the fact that its existence violates every signed agreement between Israel and the PA.

Ben-Ami wrote his followers that he was shocked to discover that the “settler movements” aiming to destroy Susiya are partially funded by donations from the US — including Regavim which has systematically mapped out the Susiya shacks and lean-tos, pointing Israeli police at the precise location of structures that violate the law. Ben-Ami sees this well-organized campaign to enforce the law as a threat to a future Palestinian State, which, he believes, must some day be handed the entire area.

As MK Rozin told J Street members in her email: “In 2016, they have already demolished more Palestinian homes than in all of last year. … This process is led in part by influential right-wing NGOs (like the group Regavim), which have been systematically mapping out strategically located Palestinian villages — like Susya — and lobbying the Israeli government to demolish them. Their goal is simple — to destroy the dream of the two-state solution.”

By “lobbying to demolish,” MK Rozin, who is entrusted with the rule of law in Israel, is referring to Regavim’s relentless efforts to push government agencies to enforce court rulings. Alas, that obedience to the law in Israel appears to be an affront to US foreign policy, which Rozin would like to thwart by taking away their American tax exempt status. “Incredibly, Regavim and their fellow settler groups often benefit from tax-free contributions coming from the USA — even while they actively oppose the two-state solution, undermining key US and Israeli interests,” Rozin wrote, adding, “That’s why J Street has called on the US Treasury Department to review whether the activities of Regavim should make them ineligible to receive tax-free contributions.”

Now, as promised by Ben-Ami in his email, J Street is making Regavim the target of Obama’s Jewish Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew. In a three-paragraph appeal to Lew, next to the petition described above, J Street is directly challenging the Secretary of the Treasury to take away the tax exemptions of pro-Zionist NGOs whom, they say, obstruct US policy regarding the two-state solution.

The J Street spiel is reasonable on its face: “While the US has consistently opposed illegal settlement expansion, it has allowed Americans to make tax-deductible contributions to groups actively engaged in dispossessing Palestinians of their land and aiding the spread of settlements,” which is why “we’re calling on the Treasury Department to review whether tax-deductible treatment for donations to such groups meet the relevant requirements — and, if not, to cut off the flow of tax-deductible US dollars.”

But the above statement, like all political hackwork, is bereft of specifics and context, lumping together real and imagined targets. The most crucial omission is the fact that Regavim’s official mission has nothing to do with Jewish settlements or with the two-state solution. Instead, as their website states, “The mission of Regavim is to ensure responsible, legal, accountable and environmentally friendly use of Israel’s national lands and the return of the rule of law to all areas and aspects of the land and its preservation.” As such, they are just as effective regarding illegal Bedouin and other Arab construction inside 1967-border Israel as they are about Area C of Judea and Samaria.

The reason Regavim is being attacked by name is because they are not a Zionist movement of slogans and demonstrations (their rallies so far have been pitifully under-attended). They are a Zionist movement dedicated to upholding the law, and as such they beat the opposition at its own game.

Which is why it is highly unlikely that Secretary Lew would devote any time in the next three months to going after Regavim’s tax exempt status — but someone inside the IRS might. Stay tuned.

JNi.Media

Israel Uncensored: Is the MoU Between Israel and the US a ‘Peace Process’ Ransom? [audio]

Monday, September 19th, 2016

The US last week signed a historic 10 year Memorandum of Understanding in which Israel will receive $38 billion for defense. Did the Obama administration agree to the terms of the deal at this time in order to pressure Israel to make concessions for ‘peace,’ in an attempt to secure the president’s Middle East legacy? What does Congress think of the deal’s terms? And ultimately what will the deal mean in Israel’s overall security picture? Dan Diker Fellow and Project Director of the Program to Counter Political Warfare at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs joins Josh Hasten to answer these questions and more about the agreement.

The Land of Israel

Netanyahu: US Never Offered Us More than $38 Billion

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday morning opened his weekly Cabinet meeting telling his cabinet ministers that despite reports to the contrary, the $38 billion military aid package Israel received from the Obama Administration for the next 10 years was the highest amount that had ever been suggested by the Americans.

“I hear all kinds of background noise and disinformation about the agreement,” Netanyahu said, noting, “I would like to make it clear: We were never offered more. We were not offered more money, not even one dollar, and we were never offered special technologies. These are distortions and fabrications by interested parties; either they do not have the facts or they are distorting the facts, and they are, of course, showing ingratitude, and in my view this is the saddest thing of all, ingratitude to our greatest and best friend, the United States.”

The reports that suggested Israel stood to receive as much as $45 billion over ten years came from opponents of Netanyahu, most notably prime minister wannabe Moshe Ya’alon, whom Netanyahu had removed from the defense ministry, and former Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who served as Netanyahu’s defense minister before Ya’alon. The reports also suggested that Netanyahu’s refusal to accept the Iran nuclear deal, and the fact that he dared go behind President Obama’s back to speak directly to Congress against the deal, is what cost Israel the additional funds.

But Netanyahu denied all that, insisting “the support for Israel in the United States is stronger than ever. It crosses political parties and embraces the length and breadth of the United States and it finds expression in this agreement. This is the largest assistance agreement that the United States has ever provided to any country in its history, and this agreement proves the depth of the relationship, and the strength of relations, between Israel and the United States.”

In an earlier statement, last week, Netanyahu also stressed Israel’s strong ties with the US, saying the “agreement illustrates a simple truth: relations between Israel and the United States are strong and steadfast. This does not mean that we do not have disagreements from time to time, but these are disagreements within the family. They have no effect on the great friendship between Israel and the United States, a friendship that is expressed in this agreement, which will greatly assist us in continuing to build up Israel’s strength in the coming decade.”

JNi.Media

Netanyahu Representative in DC to Negotiate $38 Billion Aid Deal

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Brigadier General Yaakov Nagel, Israel’s acting National Security Council, arrived in Washington DC on Tuesday to meet with President Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice, in preparations for signing a new US military aid package. The new US aid deal, which the two governments have been negotiating since November 2015, awards Israel $38 billion over 10 years.

Nagel met with US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro to work out the final details before leaving for Washington — including the text of the official announcements. The new aid package is expected to average $3.8 billion a year, a considerable cut from Netanyahu’s initial request for $4.5 billion. The deal is also contingent on Israel agreeing not to approach Congress for additional funds, as in the case of the Iron Dome missile defense system, which Congress has been paying for outside the annual aid package. Now an estimated $5 billion out of the package will be spent over 10 years on missile defense development.

In other words, the new aid package is only adding $300 million to the previous amount. To remind you, the sum of $3 billion annually was set during the Camp David peace negotiations with Egypt, as compensation to Israel for giving up the Sinai peninsula as a military asset. That amount has never been raised in close to 40 years, even though the current value of that annual package would have been $10.48 billion.

The critical disagreement between the two sides over the current deal has been whether or not Israel could continue to invest a percentage of the aid package in Israeli made military products. The Obama Administration wanted the entire amount to stay in US corporations, which would have been devastating to Israeli manufacturers and to the IDF. A short episode during the 2014 Gaza War, in which the Obama Administration stopped shipping to Israel all defense items, including Hellfire missiles, served as a memorable lesson to the Israeli security apparatus about the need to increase its self-reliance.

The new deal ended up adding six years in which Israel can continue to spend as much as 26% of the US aid money on Israeli made products, as well as another 13% for fuel purchases. By the seventh year, or halfway into Clinton’s or Trump’s second term, the Israeli military industrial complex would have to quit US aid cold turkey — Unless Netanyahu or his successor is able to renegotiate that part — depending on who is in the White House and who controls Congress at the time.

David Israel

Shurat HaDin: Obama Secretly Transferred $1.7 Billion to Iran to Keep It Out of Terror Victims’ Reach

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center, representing American the families of terror victims who have won US court judgments against the government of Iran for its support of Palestinian terrorist attacks in Israel, on Tuesday released a letter it sent US Congress members alleging that the Obama Administration kept secret the details of the $1.7 billion in cash payments to Tehran in January 2016 in order to evade efforts by their clients to recover those funds to satisfy outstanding court awards.

In the past, American terror victims have been successful in seizing Iranian bank accounts when those had been located.

The letter, sent by attorneys Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of Tel-Aviv and Robert Tolchin of New York, recalls that on January 17, 2016, President Obama announced the settlement of a legal dispute between the United States and Iran over $400 million held by the US in a Foreign Military Sales (“FMS”) program account since 1979. The Obama Administration agreed to pay the $400 million it finally conceded it owed Iran, plus payment of an additional $1.3 million in interest on that amount.

Then, “in recent weeks, the $1.7 billion which was secretly paid out in cash has come under severe scrutiny because the timing and circumstances of the payments appear to confirm the Iranian claim that the White House agreed to pay the money as ransom to Tehran for the release of American hostages.”

However, in light of the recent revelations in a Congressional subcommittee hearing held on Thursday, September 8, 2016, Shurat HaDin is asserting that “it is now clear that the Administration has deliberately kept numerous payments to Iran secret in order to shield Iran from having to forfeit those funds to pay terror victims amounts Iran owes under outstanding US judgments.”

The Shurat HaDin letter cites a “suspicious revelation at the Congressional subcommittee hearing that the United States and Iran did not draft a written settlement agreement or any other formal documentation of the cash transfers, and that Iran specifically directed the Iran-US Tribunal at the Hague, where the claim was to be resolved through arbitration, that it should not record the settlement of the claim for the parties.”

Shurat HaDin asserts that under a legislation passed in 2000, the US was legally entitled to apply the $400 million in the FSM account to satisfy terror victims’ judgments, and this way eliminating the $400 million balance and nearly 16 years of interest claimed by Iran.

Shurat HaDin President Nitsana Darshan-Leitner said in a statement: “We believe that the secrecy in which these cash payments were made was part of an effort by the White House to conceal these payments from the terror victims and to hide the fact that it was effectively canceling Iran’s debt for its terror-related activity. This is a horrible fraud against the terror victims. It appears the secret cash transfers were specifically done as an end run around the ability of the families to attach the money and enforce their federal court judgments.”

Why didn’t the Treasury ever tell the families they were holding these funds?” Darshan-Leitner demanded to know.

Had either the settlement or an award against the United States at the Iran-US Tribunal been entered on the books, and Iran had sought to have the settlement or award confirmed in US court, then terror-victims with judgments against Iran could have legally “attached” any judgment affirming the settlement or award, so that the amount could be applied to satisfy their terror-compensation judgments, Shurat HaDin contends, explaining that “instead, the Administration went to great lengths to ensure that the $1.7 billion purported settlement was shrouded in secrecy, was never reduced to writing or even recorded with the Tribunal in Hague, and was paid to Iran in cash as quickly and directly as possible in order to head off any chance that Iran would be forced to forfeit any amount to pay legal judgments it owes to American terror victims.”

Shurat HaDin urged Congress to continue to investigate these issues, and to take action to guarantee that further payments to Iran do not take place as long as Iran remains a state sponsor of terrorism and a threat to its neighbors, “and until it has paid every judgment it owes to American victims of terror.”

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner addressed her letter to Senator Marco Rubio and Representatives Mike Pompeo and Ed Royce, who have each introduced legislation in response to the $1.7 billion payment to Iran, and to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Sean P. Duffy, whose subcommittee held a special hearing on the $1.7 billion payments last Thursday, September 8, 2016.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/uncategorized/shurat-hadin-obama-secretly-transferred-1-7-billion-to-iran-to-keep-it-out-of-terror-victims-reach/2016/09/13/

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