Questions for John Kerry and the international community

Questions for John Kerry and the international community:

  1. Why are 400,000 Jews in Judea and Samaria an obstacle to peace but 1.4 million Muslims in Israel not an obstacle to peace?
  2. If the “occupation” is the reason for the conflict, why was there no peace in 1966? And what was the reason for Palestinian terror against Jews before 1967, even decades before the State of Israel was established?
  3. Is the size of Jewish territory, 0.0001% of the Arab & Muslim world, really the core reason for the conflict?
  4. If territory is the reason for the conflict, why did the Palestinian leadership reject territory for peace 7 times?

These are of course all rhetorical questions. The reason for the conflict is simple – the hatred of Jews.

Ex-Advisers Warn Obama That Iran Nuclear Deal ‘May Fall Short’ of Standards

Five former members of President Obama’s inner circle of Iran advisers have written an open letter expressing concern that a pending accord to stem Iran’s nuclear program “may fall short of meeting the administration’s own standard of a ‘good’ agreement” and laying out a series of minimum requirements that Iran must agree to in coming days for them to support a final deal.

IranKerryZarifNuclearTalksRTR4V44L-198x132Signatories include Dennis Ross, who oversaw Iran policy at the White House during the first Obama term; former CIA director David Petraeus; Robert Einhorn, a State Department proliferation expert who helped devise and enforce the sanctions against Iran; Gary Samore, Obama’s former chief adviser on nuclear policy; and Gen. James E. Cartwright, a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“Public Statement on U.S. Policy Toward the Iran Nuclear Negotiations”

Endorsed by a Bipartisan Group of American Diplomats, Legislators, Policymakers, and Experts

Washington Institute for Near East Policy (June 24):

The emerging agreement will not prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapons capability. It will not require the dismantling of Iran’s nuclear enrichment infrastructure. It does not address Iran’s support for terrorist organizations, its interventions in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen, its ballistic missile arsenal, or its oppression of its own people.

The emerging nuclear agreement must provide the following:

  1. Monitoring and Verification: The inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) 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. Iran must not be able to deny or delay timely access to any site anywhere.
  1. 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. This work needs to be accomplished before any significant sanctions relief.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.

Click here for the full open letter.

The Iran deal: Anatomy of a disaster

By Charles Krauthammer, syndicated columnists and Fox News contributor, for the Washington Post (April 9):

Negotiations . . . to prevent an Iranian capability to develop a nuclear arsenal are ending with an agreement that concedes this very capability . . .

Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, the Wall Street Journal, April 8.

President Obama speaks at the White House about the Iranian nuclear talks. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

President Obama speaks at the White House about the Iranian nuclear talks. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

It was but a year and a half ago that Barack Obama endorsed the objective of abolition when he said that Iran’s heavily fortified Fordow nuclear facility, its plutonium-producing heavy-water reactor and its advanced centrifuges were all unnecessary for a civilian nuclear program. The logic was clear: Since Iran was claiming to be pursuing an exclusively civilian program, these would have to go.

Yet under the deal Obama is now trying to sell, not one of these is to be dismantled. Indeed, Iran’s entire nuclear infrastructure is kept intact, just frozen or repurposed for the length of the deal (about a decade). Thus Fordow’s centrifuges will keep spinning. They will now be fed xenon, zinc and germanium instead of uranium. But that means they remain ready at any time to revert from the world’s most heavily (indeed comically) fortified medical isotope facility to a bomb-making factory.

And upon the expiration of the deal, conceded Obama Monday on NPR, Iran’s breakout time to a nuclear bomb will be “almost down to zero,” i.e., it will be able to produce nuclear weapons at will and without delay.

And then there’s cheating. Not to worry, says Obama. We have guarantees of compliance: “unprecedented inspections” and “snapback” sanctions.

The inspection promises are a farce. We haven’t even held the Iranians to their current obligation to come clean with the International Atomic Energy Agency on their previous nuclear activities. The IAEA charges Iran with stonewalling on 11 of 12 issues.

As veteran nuclear expert David Albright points out, that makes future verification impossible — how can you determine what’s been illegally changed or added if you have no baseline? Worse, there’s been no mention of the only verification regime with real teeth — at-will, unannounced visits to any facility, declared or undeclared. The joint European-Iranian statement spoke only of “enhanced access through agreed procedures,” which doesn’t remotely suggest anywhere/anytime inspections. And on Thursday, Iran’s supreme leader ruled out any “extraordinary supervision measures.”

The IAEA hasn’t been allowed to see the Parchin weaponization facility in 10 years. And the massive Fordow complex was disclosed not by the IAEA but by Iranian dissidents.

Yet even if violations are found, what then? First, they have to be certified by the IAEA. Which then reports to the United Nations, where Iran has the right to challenge the charge. Which then has to be considered, argued and adjudicated. Which then presumably goes to the Security Council where China, Russia and sundry anti-Western countries will act as Iran’s lawyers. Which all would take months — after which there is no guarantee that China and Russia will ratify the finding anyway.

As for the “snapback” sanctions — our last remaining bit of pressure — they are equally fantastic. There’s no way sanctions will be re-imposed once they have been lifted. It took a decade to weave China, Russia and the Europeans into the current sanctions infrastructure. Once gone, it doesn’t snap back. None will pull their companies out of a thriving, post-sanctions Iran. As Kissinger and Shultz point out, we will be fought every step of the way, leaving the United States, not Iran, isolated.

Obama imagines that this deal will bring Iran in from the cold, tempering its territorial ambitions and ideological radicalism. But this defies logic: With sanctions lifted, its economy booming and tens of billions injected into its treasury, why would Iran curb rather than expand its relentless drive for regional dominance?

An overriding objective of these negotiations, as Obama has said, is to prevent the inevitable proliferation — Egypt, Turkey, the Gulf states — that would occur if Iran went nuclear. Yet the prospective agreement is so clearly a pathway to an Iranian bomb that the Saudis are signaling that the deal itself would impel them to go nuclear.

You set out to prevent proliferation and you trigger it. You set out to prevent an Iranian nuclear capability and you legitimize it. You set out to constrain the world’s greatest exporter of terror threatening every one of our allies in the Middle East and you’re on the verge of making it the region’s economic and military hegemon.

What is the alternative, asks the president? He’s repeatedly answered the question himself: No deal is better than a bad deal.

Click here for original source.

The “historic” agreement that ignores history

No-one agrees on what was agreed with Iran, but in any case the precedents are hardly encouraging.

Globes (April 12) — By this time hordes of commentators have chewed over Mr. Obama’s “historic” agreement. Some aspects, however, have been overlooked or misinterpreted:

1. It is not an agreement. It is a “framework” for an eventual agreement to be forged in the period between now and June 30th when the actual “agreement” is to be signed.

2. There is no agreement as to what was agreed. At least three versions of the framework are in circulation: that of the State Department, that of the French and that of the Iranians. They disagree fundamentally on what was agreed.

3. Why does Iran need all those “research and development” nuclear facilities that were apparently agreed to by the six negotiating powers? For nuclear power? That technology is many decades old and can be bought off the shelf from the Russians, the French, the Americans or elsewhere. For medical research? That would require one small facility. Then what for? Why, for the development of the capacity to make nuclear weapons, of course. There is no other possible use.

4. Military facilities are left out of the “agreement”. Why? Military facilities can be used to achieve nuclear “breakout” as well as civilian facilities.

5. Finally, according to the State Department version, Iran will achieve nuclear breakout within two to three months. Come again? If they are right that means that the Iranians will achieve breakout BEFORE June 30th! So what is the point of the whole exercise?

In 1994 President Clinton made a television address from the White House remarkably similar in wording to that of Mr. Obama following the Lausanne meetings. What was it about? It celebrated an “agreement” reached with North Korea to end that country’s nuclear weapons program. Subsequently North Korea violated every aspect of that agreement with impunity, and is now a nuclear power.

The same will happen again with Iran unless (1) sanctions are maintained and strengthened leading to regime change in Iran or (2) military force is used to destroy or seriously damage Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The alternative is living (or dying) with a nuclear weapons-capable fanatical, tyrannical, aggressive regime much more dangerous for the rest of the world than North Korea will ever be.

Too bad the meetings weren’t held in the holy city of Qom. In that case the comparison with the betrayal of Czechoslovakia by the British and French in 1938 would have been even more perfect. That famous meeting, leading to an “historic” agreement, was of course, held in Munich, birthplace of the Nazi Party.

Norman A. Bailey, Ph.D., is Adjunct Professor of Economic Statecraft at The Institute of World Politics, Washington, DC, and teaches at the Center for National Security Studies and Geostrategy, University of Haifa.

Click here for original source.

Dershowitz: Supporters of deal are strengthening Iran’s negotiating position

Alan Dershowitz is an American lawyer, jurist, author, and political commentator. He is a scholar on United States constitutional law and criminal law. He spent most of his career at Harvard Law School where in 1967, at the age of 28, he became the youngest full professor of law in its history.

2994By Alan Dershowitz for The Jerusalem Post (March 11) — Despite repeating the mantra that “no deal is better than a bad deal” with Iran, the United States seems to be negotiating on the basis of a belief that the worst possible outcome of the current negotiations is no deal. Many supporters of the deal that is now apparently on the table are arguing that there is no realistic alternative to this deal. That sort of thinking out loud empowers the Iranian negotiators to demand more and compromise less, because they believe—and have been told by American supporters of the deal—that the United States has no alternative but to agree to a deal that is acceptable to the Iranians.

A perfect example of this mindset was the Fareed Zakaria Show this past Sunday on CNN. He had a loaded panel of two experts and a journalist favoring the deal and one journalist opposed. This followed Zakaria’s opening essay in favor of the deal. All those in favor made the same point: that this deal is better than no deal, and that any new proposal—say to condition the sunset provision on Iran stopping the export of terrorism and threatening to destroy Israel—is likely to be rejected by Iran, and is therefore, by definition, “irrational” or “unproductive,” because it would result in no deal.

The upshot of this position is that Iran essentially gets a veto over any proposal, but the United States does not get to make new proposals. If it were true that this deal is better than no deal, it would follow that any proposed change in this deal that Iran doesn’t like is a non-starter.

That’s why Netanyahu’s reasonable proposal that the sunset provision be conditioned on changes in Iranian actions and words has been poo-pooed by the so called “experts.” They haven’t tried to respond on the merits. Instead they are satisfied to argue that Iran would never accept such conditions, and therefore the proposal should be rejected as a deal breaker.

This is the worst sort of negotiation strategy imaginable: telling the other side that any proposal that is not acceptable to them will be taken off the table, and that any leader who offers it will be attacked as a deal breaker. This approach—attacking Netanyahu without responding to his proposal on their merits—characterizes the approach of the administration and its supporters.

We will now never know whether Iran might have accepted a conditional sunset provision because the advocates of the current deal, both inside and outside the administration, have told Iran that if they reject this proposal, it will be withdrawn, because it endanger the deal. What incentive would the Iranians then have to consider this proposal on its merits? None!

The current mindset of the deal’s advocates is that the United States needs the deal more than the Iranians do. That is why the United States is constantly leaking reports that the Mullahs may be reluctant to sign even this one-sided deal which has shifted perceptibly in favor of the Iranian position over the past several months. But the truth is that Iran, which is suffering greatly from the combination of sanctions and dropping oil prices, needs this deal—a deal that would end sanctions and allow it unconditionally to develop nuclear weapons within ten years. That doesn’t necessarily mean they will accept it. They may push for even more compromises on the part of the United States. The reality is that we are in a far stronger negotiating positon that advocates of the deal have asserted, but we are negotiating from weakness because we have persuaded the Iranians that we need the deal—any deal—more than they do.

Most Israelis seem to be against the current deal, especially the unconditional sunset provision. Author David Grossman, a left-wing dove who is almost always critical of Netanyahu, has accused the United States of “criminal naiveté.” He opposes Netanyahu’s reelection but urges the world to listen to what Netanyahu told Congress.

“But what [Netanyahu] says about Iran and the destructive part it is playing in the Middle East cannot and should not be ignored,” Grossman said. “Netanyahu is right when he says that according to the emerging deal there is nothing to prevent the Iranians from developing a nuclear bomb once the deal expires in another 10 years, and on this matter there is no difference in Israel between Left and Right.”

There are considerable differences, however, between the Obama administrations’ negotiating position and the views of most Israelis, Saudis, Emirates, Egyptians and Jordanians—as well as most members of our own Congress. We can get a better deal, but supporters of a deal must abandon their unhelpful public claims that the current deal is the best we can get.

Click here for original source.

Poll: 84% of Americans oppose terms of Iran nuclear deal

Majority of US voters support using military action to stop Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons, Fox News survey finds.

Netanyahu Congress Speech March 2015The Times of Israel (March 9) — The majority of Americans do not believe the Obama administration has been aggressive enough in its effort to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, and overwhelmingly reject the terms outlined in the prospective deal it is pursuing with Tehran, a poll found recently.

According to a survey conducted ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s March 3 speech to the US Congress, 57 percent of American voters asked said that the United States was not doing enough to stop Iran from advancing toward a nuclear bomb.

The poll, commissioned by Fox News, found 84% of voters thought it was a bad idea to allow the Iranians to obtain nuclear weapons in 10 years, in return for agreeing to freeze their program now.

Some 55% of the 1,011 polled said it would be a “disaster” if Iran obtained nuclear weapons, while 40% categorized it as “a problem that could be managed.”

Last week, Netanyahu delivered a speech to US lawmakers warning of the dangers posed by Tehran’s apparent pursuit of nuclear weapons.

In his speech, Netanyahu called the emerging deal “very bad” and said it “paves the path” for Iran to get a bomb.

The poll found 56% of voters thought it was a good idea for House Speaker John Boehner to independently invite Netanyahu to Washington to address lawmakers without the approval of the White House, versus 27% who disagreed with the move. Fifty-five percent also agreed with the Israeli prime minister.

… Nearly two thirds of voters (65%) said they supported the US using military force if necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Some 41% thought the Obama administration “is not supportive enough” of Israel, while another 35% say the Washington’s support is “just right.”

Finally, a 59% majority said that Obama was a weak negotiator with foreign leaders, up from 54% from last year.

The poll was carried out by Republican and Democratic research groups and had a margin of error of three percentage points.

Click here for original source.

Krauthammer: Netanyahu’s Churchillian warning

By Charles Krauthammer for the Washington Post (March 5):

Netanyahu Congress Speech March 2015

Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress was notable in two respects. Queen Esther got her first standing O in 2,500 years. And President Obama came up empty in his campaign to preemptively undermine Netanyahu before the Israeli prime minister could present his case on the Iran negotiations.

On the contrary. The steady stream of slights and insults turned an irritant into an international event and vastly increased the speech’s audience and reach. Instead of dramatically unveiling an Iranian nuclear deal as a fait accompli, Obama must now first defend his Iranian diplomacy.

In particular, argues The Post, he must defend its fundamental premise. It had been the policy of every president since 1979 that Islamist Iran must be sanctioned and contained. Obama, however, is betting instead on detente to tame Iran’s aggressive behavior and nuclear ambitions.

For six years, Obama has offered the mullahs an extended hand. He has imagined that with Kissingerian brilliance he would turn the Khamenei regime into a de facto U.S. ally in pacifying the Middle East. For his pains, Obama has been rewarded with an Iran that has ramped up its aggressiveness in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Yemen, and brazenly defied the world on uranium enrichment.

He did the same with Russia. He offered Vladimir Putin a new detente. “Reset,” he called it. Putin responded by decimating his domestic opposition, unleashing a vicious anti-American propaganda campaign, ravaging Ukraine and shaking the post-Cold War European order to its foundations.

Like the Bourbons, however, Obama learns nothing. He persists in believing that Iran’s radical Islamist regime can be turned by sweet reason and fine parchment into a force for stability. It’s akin to his refusal to face the true nature of the Islamic State, Iran’s Sunni counterpart. He simply can’t believe that such people actually believe what they say.

That’s what made Netanyahu’s critique of the U.S.-Iran deal so powerful. Especially his dissection of the sunset clause. In about 10 years, the deal expires. Sanctions are lifted and Iran is permitted unlimited uranium enrichment with an unlimited number of centrifuges of unlimited sophistication. As the Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens points out, we don’t even allow that for democratic South Korea.

The prime minister offered a concrete alternative. Sunset? Yes, but only after Iran changes its behavior, giving up its regional aggression and worldwide support for terror.

Netanyahu’s veiled suggestion was that such a modification — plus a significant reduction in Iran’s current nuclear infrastructure, which the Obama deal leaves intact — could produce a deal that “Israel and its [Arab] neighbors may not like, but with which we could live, literally.”

Obama’s petulant response was: “The prime minister didn’t offer any viable alternatives.” But he just did: conditional sunset, smaller infrastructure. And if the Iranians walk away, then you ratchet up sanctions, as Congress is urging, which, with collapsed oil prices, would render the regime extremely vulnerable.

And if that doesn’t work? Hence Netanyahu’s final point: Israel is prepared to stand alone, a declaration that was met with enthusiastic applause reflecting widespread popular support.

It was an important moment, especially because of the libel being perpetrated by some that Netanyahu is trying to get America to go to war with Iran. This is as malicious a calumny as Charles Lindbergh’s charge on Sept. 11, 1941, that “the three most important groups who have been pressing this country toward war are the British, the Jewish and the Roosevelt administration.”

In its near-70 year history, Israel has never once asked America to fight for it. Not in 1948 when 650,000 Jews faced 40 million Arabs. Not in 1967 when Israel was being encircled and strangled by three Arab armies. Not in 1973 when Israel was on the brink of destruction. Not in the three Gaza wars or the two Lebanon wars.

Compare that to a very partial list of nations for which America has fought and for which so many Americans have fallen: Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Vietnam, Korea, and every West European country beginning with France (twice).

Change the deal, strengthen the sanctions, give Israel a free hand. Netanyahu offered a different path in his clear, bold and often moving address, Churchillian in its appeal to resist appeasement. This was not Churchill of the 1940s, but Churchill of the 1930s, the wilderness prophet. Which is why for all its sonorous strength, Netanyahu’s speech had a terrible poignancy. After all, Churchill was ignored.

Click here for original source.

Dershowitz: The White House must respond to Netanyahu’s important new proposal

US President walking into the White House. (photo credit: OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO / PETE SOUZA)

US President walking into the White House. (photo credit: OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO / PETE SOUZA)

The Jerusalem Post (March 4) — I was in the House gallery when Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a logical and compelling critique of the deal now on the table regarding Iran’s ambitions to obtain nuclear weapons.  He laid out a new fact-based proposal that has shifted the burden of persuasion to the White House.

His new proposal is that “If the world powers are not prepared to insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal is signed, at the very least they should insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal expires.”  His argument is that without such a precondition, the ten-year sunset provision paves, rather than blocks, the way to an Iranian nuclear arsenal, even if Iran were to continue to export terrorism, to bully nations in the region and to call for the extermination of Israel.

With logic that seems unassailable, Netanyahu has said that the alternative to this bad deal is not war, but rather “a better deal that Israel and its neighbors might not like, but which we could live with, literally.”  Netanyahu then outlined his condition for a better deal:  namely that before the sun is allowed to set on prohibiting Iran from developing nuclear weapons, the mullahs must first meet three conditions:  stop exporting terrorism, stop intruding in the affairs of other countries, and stop threatening the existence of Israel.

If the mullahs reject these three reasonable conditions, it will demonstrate that they have no real interest in joining the international community and abiding by its rules.  If they accept these conditions, then the sunset provision will not kick in automatically but will require that Iran demonstrate a willingness to play by the rules, before the rules allow it to develop nuclear weapons.

Instead of attacking the messenger, as the White House has done, the Administration now has an obligation to engage with Netanyahu in the marketplace of ideas, rather than in a cacophony of name-calling, and to respond to Netanyahu’s argument on its merit.  There may be persuasive responses, but we have not yet heard them.

The decision to accept or reject a deal with Iran over its nuclear weapons program may be the most important foreign policy issue of the 21st Century.  Many members of Congress, perhaps most, agree with the Prime Minister of Israel, rather than with the President of the United States on this issue.  Under our system of separation of powers, Congress is a fully co-equal branch of the government, and no major decision of the kind involved in this deal should be made over its opposition.   Perhaps the President can persuade Congress to support this deal, but it must engage with, rather than ignore, our duly elected representatives of the people.

The Administration and its supporters, particularly those who boycotted the Prime Minister’s speech, focus on the so-called lack of protocol by which Netanyahu was invited by the Speaker of the House.  Imagine, however, the same protocol for a speaker who favored rather than opposed the current deal.  The White House and its supporters would be welcoming a Prime Minister who supported the President’s deal, as they did British Prime Minister David Cameron, when he was sent in to lobby the Senate in favor of the Administration’s position.  So the protocol issue is largely a pretext.  The Administration is upset more by the content of Netanyahu’s speech than by the manner in which he received the invitation.

This is too important an issue to get sidetracked by the formalities of protocol.  The speech has now been given.  It was a balanced speech that included praise for the President, for the Democrats, for Congress and for the American people.  Prime Minister Netanyahu was at his diplomatic best.  In my view, he was also at his substantive best in laying out the case against the Administration’s negotiating position with regard to Iran, especially the unconditional sunset provision.

The Administration must now answer one fundamental question:  why would you allow the Iranian regime to develop nuclear weapons in ten years, if at that time they were still exporting terrorism, bullying their Arab neighbors and threatening to exterminate Israel?  Why not, at the very least, condition any “sunset” provision on a change in the actions of this criminal regime?  The answer may be that we can’t get them to agree to this condition.  If that is the case then this is indeed a bad deal that is worse than no deal.  It would be far better to increase economic sanctions and other pressures, rather than to end them in exchange for a mere postponement of Iran obtaining a nuclear arsenal.

There may be better answers, but the ball is now in Obama’s court to provide them, rather than to avoid answering Netanyahu’s reasonable questions by irrelevant answers about “protocol” and personal attacks on the messenger.  Israel deserves better.  The world deserves better.  The American people deserve better.  And Congress deserves better.

An unconditional sunset provision is an invitation to an Iran that continues to export terrorism, bully neighbors and threaten Israel—but with a nuclear arsenal to terrorize the entire world.  This would be “a game changer”, to quote President Obama’s words from several years ago, when he promised that he would never allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons.  Suddenly, “never” has become “soon.”  Congress should insist that any provision allowing Iran to develop nuclear weapons after ten years must at the very least be conditioned on a significant change of behavior by the world’s most dangerous regime.

Click here for original source.

Video & Transcript: Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Full Speech To Congress

Netanyahu to Congress: Emerging deal would lead to a nuclear Iran and inevitable war

Netanyahu Congress Speech March 2015Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the US Congress on Tuesday, saying that the current deal being formulated by the P5+1 group of world powers and Tehran would inevitably lead to a nuclear Iran and war.

The US has said over the past year that no deal with Iran is better than a bad deal, Netanyahu told the assembled American lawmakers.”Well this is a bad deal. A very bad deal.”

Netanyahu said that the alternative to this deal was not war, as some have posited, “but a better deal.”

“The days of the Jewish people remaining passive in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over!” Netanyahu said to rousing applause.

The Israeli leader said that the Western powers’ emerging deal with Iran would all but guarantee that Tehran gets nuclear weapons.

Any deal would include concessions that would leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure, he said. “Not a single nuclear facility would be demolished,” according to the terms of the deal, Netanyahu added.

Their breakout time would be a year by US assessments and even shorter by Israeli assessments, he said.

He said that nuclear inspectors in North Korea had not been able to stop Pyongyang from getting nuclear weapons and they would not be able to stop Tehran either.

Netanyahu said that sanctions against Iran should not be lifted until Tehran stops aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East, stops supporting terrorism around the world and stops threatening to annihilate Israel, “the one and only Jewish state.”

He recalled the story of Purim in which Persians tried to wipe out the Jews, saying that the people were saved by Esther speaking out.

Today, Iranian Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is trying to wipe out the Jews, he said. “He spews the worst kind of anti-Semitic hatred. He tweets that Israel must be destroyed.”

He rejected Iran’s claim that it opposes Israel only, and not Jews, by quoting Iranian ally, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah: “‘If all Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the problem of chasing them around the world.'”

“We must all stand together to stop Iran’s march of conquest subjugation and terror,” Netanyahu said to applause.

He rejected the notion that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was a moderate, saying that the regime is as extremist as ever.

“The ideology of Iran’s regime is deeply rooted in militant Islam and therefore it will always be an enemy of the US. The fact that Iran and the US have a common enemy in Islamic State doesn’t make Iran a friend of America,” he said.

“To defeat ISIS and let Iran get nuclear weapons would be to win the battle and lose the war,” he said. “We can’t let that happen.”

Netanyahu said he regretted that some saw his visit to Washington as political. “That was never my intention,” the prime minister said.

“I know that no matter what side of the aisle you sit, you stand with Israel,” Netanyahu said to applause.

He said that the US-Israel alliance must remain above politics. The prime minister said that he had called US President Barack Obama a number of times in Israel’s hour of need, and he had obliged. He thanked the US president for all of the support he had provided Israel.

“This Capitol dome helped build our Iron Dome,” Netanyahu said.

 

Full video of the speech:

YouTube Preview Image

Click here for the complete transcript of the speech.

Krauthammer: The fatal flaw in the Iran deal

Charles Krauthammer is right on the money as usual.

The Washington Post (Feb 27) — A sunset clause?

Nic6421546-1410The news from the nuclear talks with Iran was already troubling. Iran was being granted the “right to enrich.” It would be allowed to retain and spin thousands of centrifuges. It could continue construction of the Arak plutonium reactor. Yet so thoroughly was Iran stonewalling International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors that just last Thursday the IAEA reported its concern “about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed . . . development of a nuclear payload for a missile.”

Bad enough. Then it got worse: News leaked Monday of the elements of a “sunset clause.” President Obama had accepted the Iranian demand that any restrictions on its program be time-limited. After which, the mullahs can crank up their nuclear program at will and produce as much enriched uranium as they want.

Sanctions lifted. Restrictions gone. Nuclear development legitimized. Iran would reenter the international community, as Obama suggested in an interview in December, as “a very successful regional power.” A few years — probably around 10 — of good behavior and Iran would be home free.

The agreement thus would provide a predictable path to an Iranian bomb. Indeed, a flourishing path, with trade resumed, oil pumping and foreign investment pouring into a restored economy.

Meanwhile, Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile program is subject to no restrictions at all. It’s not even part of these negotiations.

Why is Iran building them? You don’t build ICBMs in order to deliver sticks of dynamite. Their only purpose is to carry nuclear warheads. Nor does Iran need an ICBM to hit Riyadh or Tel Aviv. Intercontinental missiles are for reaching, well, other continents. North America, for example.

Such an agreement also means the end of nonproliferation. When a rogue state defies the world, continues illegal enrichment and then gets the world to bless an eventual unrestricted industrial-level enrichment program, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is dead. And regional hyperproliferation becomes inevitable as Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and others seek shelter in going nuclear themselves.

Wasn’t Obama’s great international cause a nuclear-free world? Within months of his swearing-in, he went to Prague to so declare. He then led a 50-party Nuclear Security Summit, one of whose proclaimed achievements was having Canada give up some enriched uranium.

Having disarmed the Canadian threat, Obama turned to Iran. The deal now on offer to the ayatollah would confer legitimacy on the nuclearization of the most rogue of rogue regimes: radically anti-American, deeply jihadist, purveyor of terrorism from Argentina to Bulgaria, puppeteer of a Syrian regime that specializes in dropping barrel bombs on civilians. In fact, the Iranian regime just this week, at the apex of these nuclear talks, staged a spectacular attack on a replica U.S. carrier near the Strait of Hormuz.

Well, say the administration apologists, what’s your alternative? Do you want war?

It’s Obama’s usual, subtle false-choice maneuver: It’s either appeasement or war.

It’s not. True, there are no good choices, but Obama’s prospective deal is the worst possible. Not only does Iran get a clear path to the bomb but it gets sanctions lifted, all pressure removed and international legitimacy.

There is a third choice. If you are not stopping Iran’s program, don’t give away the store. Keep the pressure, keep the sanctions. Indeed, increase them. After all, previous sanctions brought Iran to its knees and to the negotiating table in the first place. And that was before the collapse of oil prices, which would now vastly magnify the economic effect of heightened sanctions.

Congress is proposing precisely that. Combined with cheap oil, it could so destabilize the Iranian economy as to threaten the clerical regime. That’s the opening. Then offer to renew negotiations for sanctions relief but from a very different starting point — no enrichment. Or, if you like, with a few token centrifuges for face-saving purposes.

And no sunset.

That’s the carrot. As for the stick, make it quietly known that the United States will not stand in the way of any threatened nation that takes things into its own hands. We leave the regional threat to the regional powers, say, Israeli bombers overflying Saudi Arabia.

Consider where we began: six U.N. Security Council resolutions demanding an end to Iranian enrichment. Consider what we are now offering: an interim arrangement ending with a sunset clause that allows the mullahs a robust, industrial-strength, internationally sanctioned nuclear program.

Such a deal makes the Cuba normalization look good and the Ukrainian cease-fires positively brilliant. We are on the cusp of an epic capitulation. History will not be kind.

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Dershowitz: The appalling talk of boycotting Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses US Congress in 2011. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses US Congress in 2011. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The Jerusalem Post (Feb 28) — As a liberal Democrat who twice campaigned for US President Barack Obama, I am appalled that some Democratic members of Congress are planning to boycott the speech of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on March 3 to a joint session of Congress.

At bottom, this controversy is not mainly about protocol and politics – it is about the constitutional system of checks and balances and the separation of powers. Under the Constitution, the executive and legislative branches share responsibility for making and implementing important foreign-policy decisions. Congress has a critical role to play in scrutinizing the decisions of the president when these decisions involve national security, relationships with allies, and the threat of nuclear proliferation.

Congress has every right to invite, even over the president’s strong objection, any world leader or international expert who can assist its members in formulating appropriate responses to the current deal being considered with Iran regarding its nuclear-weapons program. Indeed, it is the responsibility of every member of Congress to listen to Netanyahu, who probably knows more about this issue than any world leader, because it threatens the very existence of the nation state of the Jewish people.

Congress has the right to disagree with the prime minister, but the idea that some members of Congress will not give him the courtesy of listening violates protocol and basic decency to a far greater extent than anything Netanyahu is accused of doing for having accepted an invitation from Congress.

Recall that Obama sent British Prime Minister David Cameron to lobby Congress with phone calls last month against conditionally imposing new sanctions on Iran if the deal were to fail. What the president objects to is not that Netanyahu will speak to Congress, but the content of what he intends to say.

This constitutes a direct intrusion on the power of Congress and on the constitutional separation of powers.

Not only should all members of Congress attend Netanyahu’s speech, but Obama – as a constitutional scholar – should urge members of Congress to do their constitutional duty of listening to opposing views in order to check and balance the policies of the administration.

Whether one agrees or disagrees with Speaker John Boehner’s decision to invite Netanyahu or Netanyahu’s decision to accept, no legal scholar can dispute that Congress has the power to act independently of the president in matters of foreign policy. Whether any deal with Iran would technically constitute a treaty requiring Senate confirmation, it is certainly treaty-like in its impact.

Moreover, the president can’t implement the deal without some action or inaction by Congress.

Congress also has a role in implementing the president’s promise – made on behalf of the American nation as a whole – that Iran will never be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.

That promise seems to be in the process of being broken, as reports in the media and Congress circulate that the deal on the table contains a sunset provision that would allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons after a certain number of years.

Once it became clear that Iran will eventually be permitted to become a nuclear-weapon power, it has already become such a power for practical purposes.

The Saudis and the Arab emirates will not wait until Iran turns the last screw on its nuclear bomb. As soon as this deal is struck, with its sunset provision, these countries would begin to develop their own nuclear-weapon programs, as would other countries in the region. If Congress thinks this is a bad deal, it has the responsibility to act.

Another reason members of Congress should not boycott Netanyahu’s speech is that support for Israel has always been a bipartisan issue. The decision by some members to boycott Israel’s prime minister endangers this bipartisan support.

This will not only hurt Israel, but will also endanger support for Democrats among pro-Israel voters. I certainly would never vote for or support a member of Congress who walked out on Israel’s prime minister.

One should walk out on tyrants, bigots, and radical extremists, as the United States did when Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied the Holocaust and called for Israel’s destruction at the United Nations. To use such an extreme tactic against our closest ally, and the Middle East’s only vibrant democracy, is not only to insult Israel’s prime minister, but to put Israel in a category in which it does not belong.

So let members of Congress who disagree with the prime minister’s decision to accept Boehner’s invitation express that disagreement privately and even publicly, but let them not walk out on a speech from which they may learn a great deal and which may help them prevent the president from making a disastrous foreign- policy mistake.

Inviting a prime minister of an ally to educate Congress about a pressing foreign-policy decision is in the highest tradition of our democratic system of separation of powers and checks and balances.

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The Cause of Terror? It’s Not Poverty

So it turns out the Obama Administration does have a strategy for combating terrorists: give them jobs.

ISIS brutalityIsraelNationalNews (Feb 22) — In a remarkable exchange with MSNBC’s “Hardball” host Chris Matthews on February 16, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said: “We cannot kill our way out of this war. We need in the medium to longer term to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it’s a lack of opportunity for jobs, whether–we can work with countries around the world to help improve their governance. We can help them build their economies so they can have job opportunities for these people.”

Yet study after study of the motives of Arab and Muslim terrorists during the past two decades has found exactly the opposite

Between 1996 and 1999, relief worker Nasra Hassan interviewed nearly 250 Palestinians who either attempted to carry out suicide bombings, or trained others for such attacks, or were related to deceased bombers. She reported (in The New Yorker): “None of [the bombers] were uneducated, desperately poor, simple-minded, or depressed. Many were middle class and, unless they were fugitives, held paying jobs…Two were the sons of millionaires.”

The attacks on September 11, 2001, focused new attention on the causes of Islamic terrorism. The New York Times reported that the personal details concerning the hijackers had “confounded the experts.”

“They were adults with education and skill, not hopeless young zealots,” the Times said of the attackers. “At least one left behind a wife and young children…They were not reckless young men facing dire economic conditions and dim prospects, but men as old as 41 enjoying middle class lives.”

In 2002, Prof. Alan Krueger of Princeton and Prof. Jitka Maleckova of Prague’s Charles University studied the lives of 129 Lebanese Hezbollah terrorists who were killed in attacks on Israel. They found that as compared to other Lebanese, the Hezbollah members “were less likely to come from poor families and were significantly more likely to have completed secondary education.”

That same year, the Muslim writer Hala Jaber spent four days with Fatah’s Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade, which organized a number of suicide bombings. She found that their members were “educated [and] middle class.”

In 2004, Prof. Alberto Abadie of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government undertook a study of terrorists’ motives. When he started, he thought that “it was a reasonable assumption that terrorism has its roots in poverty.” By the time he was done, he had concluded that there is “no significant relationship” between the economic conditions in a given country and the rise of terrorists there.

So why is a State Department spokeswoman presenting job creation in the Arab world as the centerpiece of the administration’s strategy for combating ISIS?

And why do President Obama and his aides still stubbornly cling to the utterly unscientific idea that poverty causes terrorism?

Because in their hearts, they want to believe that we hold the key to ending terrorism in our own hands , so that ISIS can somehow be defeated non violently. That if we just give them enough financial aid (over $10-billion to the Palestinian Authority alone since 1994), they’ll stop stoning and bombing and burning and beheading us.

That’s what they think. But the evidence says otherwise.

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Krauthammer: Why did the Islamic State burn the Jordanian pilot alive?

Charles Krauthammer, a syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor is right on the money as usual.

“Does the barbarism have a logic?” for the Washington Post (Feb 6):

jordan-pilot-tributesWhy did they do it? What did the Islamic State think it could possibly gain by burning alive a captured Jordanian pilot?

I wouldn’t underestimate the absence of logic, the sheer depraved thrill of a triumphant cult reveling in its barbarism. But I wouldn’t overestimate it either. You don’t overrun much of Syria and Iraq without having deployed keen tactical and strategic reasoning.

So what’s the objective? To destabilize Jordan by drawing it deeply into the conflict.

At first glance, this seems to make no sense. The savage execution has mobilized Jordan against the Islamic State and given it solidarity and unity of purpose.

Yes, for now. But what about six months hence? Solidarity and purpose fade quickly. Think about how post-9/11 American fervor dissipated over the years of inconclusive conflict, yielding the war fatigue of today. Or how the beheading of U.S. journalists galvanized the country against the Islamic State, yet less than five months later, the frustrating nature of that fight is creating divisions at home.

Jordan is a more vulnerable target because, unlike the U.S., it can be destabilized. For nearly a century Jordan has been a miracle of stability — an artificial geographic creation led by a British-imposed monarchy, it has enjoyed relative domestic peace and successful political transitions with just four rulers over four generations.

Compared to Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, similarly created, Jordan is a wonder. But a fragile one. Its front-line troops and special forces are largely Bedouin. The Bedouin are the backbone of the Hashemite monarchy, but they are a minority. Most of the population is non-indigenous Palestinians, to which have now been added 1.3 million Syrian refugees, creating major social and economic strains.

Most consequential, however, is the Muslim Brotherhood with its strong Jordanian contingent — as well as more radical jihadist elements, some sympathetic to the Islamic State. An estimated 1,500 Jordanians have already joined the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Others remain home, ready to rise when the time is right.

The time is not right today. Jordanian anger is white hot. But the danger is that as the Jordanians attack — today by air, tomorrow perhaps on the ground — they risk a drawn-out engagement that could drain and debilitate the regime, one of the major bulwarks against radicalism in the entire region.

We should be careful what we wish for. Americans worship at the shrine of multilateralism. President Obama’s Islamic State strategy is to create a vast coalition with an Arab/Kurdish vanguard and America leading from behind with air power.

The coalition is allegedly 60 strong. (And doing what?) Despite administration boasts, the involvement of the Arab front line — Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates — has been minimal and symbolic. In fact, we’ve just now learned that the UAE stopped flying late last year.

The Obama policy has not fared terribly well. Since the policy was launched, the Islamic State has nearly doubled its Syrian domain. It’s hard to see a ­Jordanian-Saudi force succeeding where Iraq’s Shiite militias, the Iraqi military, the Kurds and U.S. airpower have thus far failed.

What’s missing, of course, are serious boots on the ground, such as Syria’s once-ascendant non-jihadist rebels, which Obama contemptuously dismissed and allowed to wither. And the Kurds, who are willing and able to fight, yet remain scandalously undersupplied by this administration.

Missing most of all is Turkey. It alone has the size and power to take on the Islamic State. But doing so would strengthen, indeed rescue, Turkey’s primary nemesis, the Iranian-backed Bashar al-Assad regime in Damascus.

Turkey’s price for entry was an American commitment to help bring down Assad. Obama refused. So Turkey sits it out.

Why doesn’t Obama agree? Didn’t he say that Assad must go? The reason is that Obama dares not upset Assad’s patrons, the Iranian mullahs, with whom Obama dreams of concluding a grand rapprochement.

For Obama, this is his ticket to Mt. Rushmore. So in pursuit of his Nixon-to-China Iran fantasy, Obama eschews Turkey, our most formidable potential ally against both the Islamic State and Assad.

What’s Obama left with? Fragile front-line Arab states, like Jordan.

But even they are mortified by Obama’s blind pursuit of detente with Tehran, which would make the mullahs hegemonic over the Arab Middle East. Hence the Arabs, the Saudis especially, hold back from any major military commitment to us. Jordan, its hand now forced by its pilot’s murder, may now bravely sally forth on its own. But at great risk and with little chance of ultimate success.

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Krauthammer: Iran’s emerging empire

By Charles Krauthammer, syndicated columnists and Fox News contributor, for the Washington Post (Jan 22):

While Iran’s march toward a nuclear bomb has provoked a major clash between the White House and Congress, Iran’s march toward conventional domination of the Arab world has been largely overlooked. In Washington, that is. The Arabs have noticed. And the pro-American ones, the Gulf Arabs in particular, are deeply worried.

This week, Iranian-backed Houthi rebels seized control of the Yemeni government, heretofore pro-American. In September, they overran Sanaa, the capital. On Tuesday, they seized the presidential palace. On Thursday, they forced the president to resign.

The Houthis have local religious grievances, being Shiites in a majority Sunni land. But they are also agents of Shiite Iran, which arms, trains and advises them. Their slogan — “God is great. Death to America. Death to Israel” — could have been written in Persian.

Why should we care about the coup? First, because we depend on Yemen’s government to support our drone war against another local menace, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). It’s not clear if we can even maintain our embassy in Yemen, let alone conduct operations against AQAP. And second, because growing Iranian hegemony is a mortal threat to our allies and interests in the entire Middle East.

In Syria, Iran’s power is similarly rising. The mullahs rescued the reeling regime of Bashar al-Assad by sending in weapons, money and Iranian revolutionary guards, as well as by ordering their Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, to join the fight. They succeeded. The moderate rebels are in disarray, even as Assad lives in de facto coexistence with the Islamic State, which controls a large part of his country.

Iran’s domination of Syria was further illustrated by a strange occurrence last Sunday in the Golan Heights. An Israeli helicopter attacked a convoy on the Syrian side of the armistice line. Those killed were not Syrian, however, but five Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon and several Iranian officials, including a brigadier general.

What were they doing in the Syrian Golan Heights? Giving “crucial advice,” announced the Iranian government. On what? Well, three days earlier, Hezbollah’s leader had threatened an attack on Israel’s Galilee. Tehran appears to be using its control of Syria and Hezbollah to create its very own front against Israel.

The Israelis can defeat any conventional attack. Not so the very rich, very weak Gulf Arabs. To the north and west, they see Iran creating a satellite “Shiite Crescent” stretching to the Mediterranean and consisting of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. To their south and west, they see Iran gaining proxy control of Yemen. And they are caught in the pincer.

The Saudis are fighting back the only way they can — with massive production of oil at a time of oversupply and collapsing prices, placing enormous economic pressure on Iran. It needs $136 oil to maintain its budget. The price today is below $50.

Yet the Obama administration appears to be ready to acquiesce to the new reality of Iranian domination of Syria. It has told the New York Times that it is essentially abandoning its proclaimed goal of removing Assad.

For the Saudis and the other Gulf Arabs, this is a nightmare. They’re engaged in a titanic regional struggle with Iran. And they are losing — losing Yemen, losing Lebanon, losing Syria and watching post-U.S.-withdrawal Iraq come under increasing Iranian domination.

The nightmare would be hugely compounded by Iran going nuclear. The Saudis were already stupefied that Washington conducted secret negotiations with Tehran behind their backs. And they can see where the current talks are headed — legitimizing Iran as a threshold nuclear state.

Which makes all the more incomprehensible President Obama’s fierce opposition to Congress’ offer to strengthen the American negotiating hand by passing sanctions to be triggered if Iran fails to agree to give up its nuclear program. After all, that was the understanding Obama gave Congress when he began these last-ditch negotiations in the first place.

Why are you parroting Tehran’s talking points, Mr. President? asks Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez. Indeed, why are we endorsing Iran’s claim that sanctions relief is the new norm? Obama assured the nation that sanctions relief was but a temporary concession to give last-minute, time-limited negotiations a chance.

Twice the deadline has come. Twice no new sanctions, just unconditional negotiating extensions.

Our regional allies — Saudi Arabia, the other five Gulf states, Jordan, Egypt and Israel — are deeply worried. Tehran is visibly on the march on the ground and openly on the march to nuclear status. And their one great ally, their strategic anchor for two generations, is acquiescing to both.

Read more from Charles Krauthammer’s archive, follow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook.

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Rouhani adviser: Islamic State crisis coupled with US’s ‘weakest president’ could mean nuclear deal

Negotiating team member quoted by Iranian media says deadline extension not on the table.

ShowImageJerusalem Post (Oct 28) — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s adviser, Ali Younesi, said that the combination of the Islamic State crisis and “the weakest president the US has ever had” provide an opportunity for a nuclear agreement on its terms.

According to a report by MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute), Iran’s pragmatic camp, led by Rouhani’s mentor Hashemi Rafsanjani, is “pressuring the Obama administration to reach a comprehensive agreement with Iran on the latter’s terms.”

According to this view, “the Obama administration desperately needs a substantial achievement to show for its term in office, and therefore this is the time to pressure it.”

Younesi, Rouhani’s adviser on religious minorities, told Iran’s Fars News Agency earlier this month: “I am not so optimistic about the nuclear negotiations, but both sides do want it to yield results. The Americans want this more than other countries. Some ostensibly friendly countries, like Russia and China, do not want it to yield results at all…

[but] America does, because, if Obama fails to achieve this, he will have no achievements whatsoever.”

Younesi went on to add, “Obama is the weakest president the US has ever had, because he has suffered humiliating defeat in this region, and his term in office saw the coming of the Islamic awakening that dealt the Americans the greatest defeat.”

“It is during Obama’s term in office that terrorism spread to the greatest extent. During these eight years, America suffered immense defeat, and that is why he wants to reach an agreement [with Iran]. But he is very influenced by the Congress and the Zionist lobby… ” Younesi then said, according to the report, “ISIS [Islamic State] poses a great danger to the Islamic world and to the world at large. We must minimize this danger and force the Americans to meet our demands in the nuclear agreement, in a manner that guarantees the interests of the Islamic Republic.”

“If this does not happen during Obama’s term, who knows when [such an opportunity] will come again,” commented Younesi.

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Israel’s minister of intelligence: Don’t Make a Bad Deal With Iran

By Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s minister of intelligence, for the New York Times (Oct 20):

.JERUSALEM — Israel is deeply concerned about the trajectory of the ongoing negotiations concerning Iran’s nuclear program. The talks are moving in the wrong direction, especially on the core issue of uranium enrichment.

Although Iran has modified its tone recently, there have hardly been any changes of substance since the soft-spoken president, Hassan Rouhani, took over the reins from his aggressive predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Neither administration has budged from the insistence that Iran should retain most of the 9,400 operational centrifuges it deploys to enrich uranium, as well as its nearly completed nuclear reactor in Arak, which could produce plutonium in the future.

Iran has softened its inflammatory anti-Western rhetoric and shown some flexibility on less important issues but we must not be duped by these gestures. President Obama must stand by his declaration that no deal with Iran is better than a bad deal.

Israel also worries that the ongoing campaign against the Islamic State will come at the expense of the critical struggle against Iran’s nuclear program.

Fighting the Islamic State is vital and Israel unequivocally supports the global effort to prevent the formation of a new Islamic caliphate in the Middle East. But even more important is the imperative to preclude the already existing Islamic Republic of Iran — with its infamous track record of sponsoring terrorist groups, abusing human rights, calling for Israel’s destruction, and lying unabashedly for almost 20 years about its nuclear program — from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.

Many experts argue that because a deal with Iran would necessarily include some restrictions on the Iranian nuclear project, an imperfect agreement is better than no agreement. They are wrong.

That’s because Iran has already made considerable progress in its attempt to advance toward nuclear weapons. An agreement that allows Iran to continue circling in a holding pattern will resemble what happened with North Korea after the 2007 agreement left large parts of Pyongyang’s nuclear capabilities intact, which enabled the North Koreans to produce several nuclear weapons in the following years. Under such conditions, nothing will stop Iran’s mullahs from landing, sooner or later, at their ultimate destination.

Second, a flawed deal would hand Iran practical advantages in return for almost nothing. In return for an insignificant and temporary reduction of its enrichment capacities, Iran stands to reap $100 billion per year when the sanctions are lifted; gain formal legitimacy for its uranium enrichment activities; and, despite its history of nuclear fraud and concealment, preserve the capability to produce nuclear weapons at a time it deems appropriate. Three factors will determine the breakout time needed for Iran to produce nuclear weapons: the quantity and quality of its remaining operational centrifuges; the amount of 3.5 percent enriched uranium that it is permitted to stockpile; and the final destiny of its remaining centrifuges and their infrastructure. The international community must have full and complete clarity on these fundamental issues.

Finally, a bad deal would pave the road to nuclear proliferation and herald the dawn of a nuclear arms race in the unstable Middle East. Other countries in the region will rush to build equivalent enrichment programs, which the international community will no longer be able to resist in good conscience, and which will drastically increase the risk of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of radical Islamists.

This actually leaves the negotiators with only two real options at the moment: a bad deal, or no deal at all. Barring a surprising change in Iran’s negotiating stance, there is zero chance of reaching a satisfactory good deal before the Nov. 24 deadline.

Choosing the “no deal” option will very likely produce extra pressure — including some new sanctions — on Iran and, subsequently, might pave the way for a better deal in the near future.

Standing our moral ground will transmit a clear message to the leaders in Tehran that the only way to escape mounting pressure will be through ultimately making the necessary significant compromises.

Not reaching a nuclear deal at this stage must not be considered a failure. It can even be regarded a qualified success, since it would represent the integrity of an international community adhering to its principles rather than sacrificing the future of global security because it is distracted by the worthy fight against Islamic State terrorists.

The 2003 war in Iraq came at the expense of blocking a greater threat: Iran’s nuclear project, which was then only in its embryonic stage. The international community must not repeat this mistake in 2014. The Islamic Republic of Iran remains the world foremost threat. We must guarantee that it never obtains nuclear weapons.

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Armed contractor with criminal record was on elevator with Obama in Atlanta

Obama_Ebola-0d8ec-6713Washington Post (Oct 2) — A security contractor with a gun and three convictions for assault and battery was allowed on an elevator with President Obama during a Sept. 16 trip to Atlanta, violating Secret Service protocols, according to three people familiar with the incident.

Obama was not told about the lapse in his security, these people said. The Secret Service director, Julia Pierson, asked a top agency manager to look into the matter but did not refer it to an investigative unit that was created to review violations of protocol and standards, according to two people familiar with the handling of the case who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The incident, which took place when Obama visited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to discuss the U.S. response to the Ebola crisis, rattled Secret Service agents assigned to the president’s protective detail.

The private contractor first aroused the agents’ concerns when he acted oddly and did not comply with their orders to stop using a cellphone camera to record the president in the elevator, according to the people familiar with the incident.

When the elevator opened, Obama left with most of his Secret Service detail. Some agents stayed behind to question the man and then used a national database check that turned up his criminal history.

When a supervisor from the firm providing security at the CDC approached and discovered the agents’ concerns, the contractor was fired on the spot. Then the contractor agreed to turn over his gun — surprising agents, who had not realized that he was armed during his encounter with Obama.

Extensive screening is supposed to keep people with weapons or criminal histories out of arm’s reach of the president. But it appears that this man, possessing a gun, came within inches of the president after undergoing no such screening.

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Accused White House Intruder to Appear in Court

0Associated Press (Sep 22) — Investigators found more than 800 rounds of ammunition, a machete and two hatchets in the car of the former soldier accused of scaling the White House fence and sprinting inside while carrying a knife, a federal prosecutor said Monday. President Barack Obama was “obviously concerned” about the weekend incident, a spokesman said.

The Secret Service increased security around the famous grounds on Pennsylvania Avenue in the nation’s capital, some guards openly holding weapons, others escorting dogs. There was talk of expanding the security zone beyond the current area as a major investigation began into the question of how the man managed to get to the building without being stopped.

On Monday evening, a temporary, second layer of fence was set up along the north side of the White House, in an apparent attempt to deter additional fence-jumping incidents

Forty-two-year-old Omar J. Gonzalez of Copperas Cove, Texas, faces charges of entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon. He had been arrested earlier in the summer in Virginia with a carful of weapons, authorities said, and a federal prosecutor said Monday in court that Gonzalez had had a map then with the White House circled.

Authorities ran into Gonzalez again, less than a month ago on Aug. 25, when he was stopped while walking along the south fence of the White House, his car parked nearby. He had a hatchet in a rear waistband but no firearms, a federal prosecutor said at Monday’s hearing. Gonzalez gave permission to search his car and was not arrested.

Friday evening, Obama and his family had left the White House for Camp David when the incident occurred. Gonzalez was seized just inside the building’s front door. No guns were found in his car.

In court, Gonzalez, with a gray beard, a shaved head and dressed in a standard prison orange jumpsuit, listened impassively as the prosecutor spoke. He could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted of illegally entering a restricted area with a dangerous weapon.

The Army said he served from 1997 until his discharge in 2003, and again from 2005 to December 2012, when he retired due to disability.

Obama, asked about the incident at the White House, said, “The Secret Service does a great job, and I’m grateful for the sacrifices that they make on my behalf — and my family’s behalf.”

But spokesman Josh Earnest said the president was “obviously concerned” about what had happened.

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