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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

David Ignatius, "Deal or no deal, the Iran talks have borne fruit": Singing Joyous Paeans to Supreme Leader Obama

Obama apologist David Ignatius knows no shame.

With Iranian-backed Houthi rebels running rampant in Yemen, Iranian-backed militias committing ISIS-style atrocities in Iraq, and Syria mired in a hell imposed by Iranian-backed madman Bashar al-Assad, Ignatius, in a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Deal or no deal, the Iran talks have borne fruit," would have us know that Obama's failed negotiations with Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei in Lausanne have reaped measureless bounty. Ignatius writes:

"Whatever the endgame produces, it’s useful to focus on the process of negotiation itself, which is nearly as important as whether there’s a sustainable deal.

First, there is the fact of U.S.-Iranian engagement. For more than 18 months, Iran has been in direct talks with a power it once demonized as the 'Great Satan.' Iranian hard-liners certainly remain, but the nation that chanted in unison 'Death to America' is probably gone forever."

"[T]he nation that chanted in unison “Death to America” is probably gone forever"? Yeah, right. As recently as 10 days ago, Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei responds to chants of "Death to America" by declaring "Of course yes, death to America."

Ignatius continues:

"President Obama’s personal investment in this process is easy to forget, since so much of the heavy lifting has been done since 2013 by his tireless secretary of state, John Kerry. But it was Obama who conceptualized the outreach and pledged in his inaugural address in January 2009, in clearly decipherable code: 'To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.'"

Ah, yes, "mutual respect." Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Arab allies are livid with Obama, and as regards "mutual respect," Ignatius might also wish to contemplate the ongoing incarceration of WaPo reporter Jason Rezaian in Iran's notorious Evin Prison since July 22, 2014.

Of course, Obama the Great and Wonderful could not, according to Ignatius, have ever foreseen the disaster that befell the Muslim Middle East as the result of the Arab Spring:

"What Obama couldn’t have anticipated was how the Arab revolutions that began in 2010 would shatter regimes in Egypt, Syria, Libya and Yemen and weaken the Sunni Arab world. The Saudis and the United Arab Emirates, in particular, were terrified. Iran, fighting through its proxies, seemed to be on the march — making the idea of a regional accommodation with Tehran all but unthinkable. The Sunni world was too weak for a grand bargain."

True, if someone was stupid enough to believe the rosy reporting of would-be Middle East expert Thomas Friedman (whose recent claim that the Taliban is "Arab" required a New York Times correction at my insistence) from Tahrir Square in 2011, one might honestly believe that we would all be singing "Kumbaya" in 2015. However, one regime not shattered in 2009 was that of Supreme Leader Khamenei: Consumed with his own televised overtures to the tyrannical mullahs, Obama sat on the sidelines as Iran's Green Movement, begging for the US president's intervention, was mauled on the streets of Tehran by the Revolutionary Guards' Basij militia.

Ignatius's conclusion:

"Keep your eye on the details of the Iran nuclear negotiations as they emerge. But many of the big, transforming changes in the region are already underway."

"[B]ig, transforming changes in the region are already underway"? Oh really? In case you didn't catch it, Basij militia chief Mohammad Reza Naqdi declared earlier this week that "erasing Israel off the map" is "nonnegotiable." Yup, David, everything has changed as a result of Obama's earthshaking overtures to Tehran.

[I have asked Ignatius to correct his claim that "the nation that chanted in unison 'Death to America' is probably gone forever." Let's seee how he responds.]

J Street Advisory Council Member Marcia Freedman: Israel Should Be Replaced by Country in Which Jews Live As a "Protected Minority"

You will recall that on Sunday, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd asked, "Is Jeb [Bush] aware that he tendentiously mischaracterized J Street as having 'anti-Israeli sentiments?'" Well, Dowd should listen to J Street Advisory Council Member Marcia Freedman propose in a panel discussion during last week's J Street conference that Israel should be replaced by a state in which Jews are a minority:

"If then [Israel] were a true democracy in all respects that guaranteed and fiercely protected the rights of minorities, including the governing rights of minorities, then I think we can begin to imagine a homeland for the Jewish people in which we are a minority, because we are a protected minority, and our mission of having a homeland and a refuge for the Jews in case of need is secured by the state, no matter who is in power."

Freedman's comments were greeted by rapturous applause.

Jews should live as a "protected minority" in a Middle East state in which Muslims are the majority? Good luck to any Jew who would agree to live in such a country.

J Street is pro-Israel? Yeah, right!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Roger Cohen, "Iran Matters Most": More Hokum From the Man Who Claims Iran Is Not Totalitarian

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Iran Matters Most," Roger (Iran is "not totalitarian") calls upon the US to conclude a nuclear accord with Iran. Cohen begins:

"Do the Iran deal. Defeat the barbaric marauders of Islamic State. In the fragmenting mayhem of the Middle East, these must be the American and Western priorities."

The "barbaric marauders" of Islamic State? And what about the Islamic Republic of Iran, which stones to death women accused of adultery, hangs homosexuals, and imprisons and tortures Kurds, Baha'is, Sunni Muslims, Christians and anyone brave enough to voice opposition to the regime?

The one is any better than the other? I don't think so.

Jackson Diehl, "Obama’s next earthquake": As Part of His Legacy, Is Obama Seeking to Break Israel?

I have always believed that Obama is a radical in moderate's clothing. A moderate doesn't "hang around" with the likes of Rashid Khalidi, the Reverend Wright, and former Weatherman Bill Ayers. How the American electorate chose to ignore this "baggage," which would sink any other candidate, is a testimony to David Axelrod's public relations wizardry. Now, as we edge toward the end of Obama's second term, he is beginning to cast away some of his "moderate" disguise, particularly as he undertakes measures to ensure the enfeeblement of Israel.

Regarding Iran, Obama doesn't care if Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei responds to chants of "Death to America" by declaring "Of course yes, death to America." Obama doesn't care if Khamenei continues to call for the annihilation of Israel. And Obama doesn't care if Iran has effectively achieved suzerainty over large swaths of Iraq, Syria and Yemen. After all, Obama has dedicated what is left of his presidency to establishing the Islamic Republic of Iran, which hangs homosexuals and stones to death women accused of adultery, as a "very successful regional power."

And even as Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the former head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency, describes Obama's Middle East policy as one of "willful ignorance," Obama persists in capitulating to all of Khamenei's terms in order to reach a Swiss cheese-like arrangement in Lausanne, purportedly reining in Iran's nuclear development program.

As reported today by The New York Times in an article entitled "Iran Backs Away From Key Detail in Nuclear Deal" by David E. Sanger and Michael R. Gordonmarch, Iran is now backing away from a requirement to ship their atomic fuel to Russia, two days away from the deadline for an interim agreement. Obviously, Khamenei knows that Obama is desperate to do this deal and that he will find some new means to appease him, so as to avoid new Congressional sanctions.

But making Iran into a regional power appears to be only one of the measures being pursued by Obama in order to bring Israel to its knees. In a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Obama’s next earthquake," Jackson Diehl today tells us:

"Now Obama is contemplating going forward with a [UN] resolution that was drafted last year by Secretary of State John Kerry and his Mideast negotiations team at the State Department. The language was drawn up in response to efforts by the Palestinians and France to win support for Security Council resolutions following the collapse of Kerry’s attempt to get Israeli and Palestinian assent to a 'framework agreement.'

. . . .

Why go forward with a text that both sides would spurn? Obama’s hope would be that his initiative could win unanimous support from the Security Council and thus set the terms of reference for a future settlement, presumably under different Israeli and Palestinian leaders. He could eventually become the grandfather of Middle East peace; at a minimum, diplomats who now talk of the 'Clinton parameters' from 2000 would henceforth speak of the 'Obama framework.'

There would be other effects, of course, among them an unprecedented breach in U.S.-Israeli relations and a vast acceleration of the global movement to boycott and sanction the Jewish state in the likely event it resisted the U.N. terms. But judging from Obama’s demeanor in assailing Netanyahu last week, the president might welcome that legacy, too."

With the entire Middle East embroiled in chaos, America's Narcissist-in-Chief, convinced of his own omniscience, wishes to add the "Obama framework" to this seething cauldron? Isn't there someone in his inner circle capable of telling him that he has already done enough damage in the region, bringing American credibility and deterrent power to a unfathomable nadir?

In a New York Times op-ed entitled "The Method to Obama’s Middle East Mess," Ross Douthat claims that Obama is shifting from a "Pax Americana Model" in the Middle East to an "offshore balancing system":

"In an offshore balancing system, our clients are fewer, and our commitments are reduced. Regional powers bear the primary responsibility for dealing with crises on the ground, our military strategy is oriented toward policing the sea lanes and the skies, and direct intervention is contemplated only when the balance of power is dramatically upset."

However, if sea lanes remain important pursuant to this offshore balancing system, the Strait of Hormuz, adjoining Iran and controlling shipment of much of the world's oil, is now under Khamenei's control. Moreover, with Shiite Houthi rebels under the patronage of Iran gaining control of Yemen, the Strait of Bab al-Mandab, controlling access to the Suez Canal from the Arabian Sea, could also fall under Iran's thumb.

Yes, Obama has made a muddle of the world, and it remains to be seen if future American presidents will be able to repair the damage. Israel? It is already counting the days until Obama leaves office.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Maureen Dowd, "Ready For 45?": Care to Correct Your Cockamamie Opinion Piece, Mo?

J Street is pro-Israel?

Although The New York Times is studiously attempting not to make waves over Hillary's erased server, the reality is that we are looking at Watergate redux (the Times was also behind the curve regarding Nixon's erased tapes). Hillary is road kill, and if the Democrats nominate Elizabeth Warren in her stead, we will also be looking at a remake of the 1972 election in which only Massachusetts went for McGovern. Of course, a 2016 Republican presidential candidate still needs to be chosen, and it remains to be seen how much damage they can do to themselves in the interim.

In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Ready For 45?," Maureen Dowd considers a Jeb Bush 2016 candidacy. More specifically, she relates to Jeb's confusion as to how to deal with James ("fuck the Jews") Baker's recent J Street speech:

"At first Jeb Bush tried to distance himself from Baker distantly. He had his spokeswoman, Kristy Campbell, send an email to reporters the day after Baker — one of his foreign policy advisers and his dad’s best friend, campaign manager and secretary of state — gave President Obama some bipartisan backup on Israel. Speaking to the liberal Israel advocacy group, J Street, Baker faulted the 'diplomatic missteps and political gamesmanship' surrounding Benjamin Netanyahu. Baker’s criticism of the abrasive Israeli leader he once banned from the State Department sparked a furor among Republicans who want a loyalty oath on support for the Jewish state.

. . . .

Is Jeb aware that he tendentiously mischaracterized J Street as having 'anti-Israeli sentiments?' Opposing Netanyahu’s policies toward the Palestinians does not disqualify it as a pro-Israeli organization. On the contrary, many polls show that its views reflect the majority of American Jewish opinion."

Many polls show that the views of J Street "reflect the majority of American Jewish opinion"? Oh really? Dowd fails to provide any evidence of the veracity of this claim. Apparently, she is referring to a November 2014 poll carried out for J Street in which 800 American Jews were asked:

"Now, imagine that the U.S., Britain, Germany, France, China, Russia, and Iran reach a final agreement, which restricts Iran's enrichment of uranium to levels that are suitable for civilian energy purposes only, and places full-time international inspectors at Iranian nuclear facilities to make sure that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons. Under this agreement, the United States and our allies will reduce sanctions on Iran as Iran meets the compliance benchmarks of the agreement. Would you support or oppose this agreement?"

The problem here is that the question was not grounded in reality, as noted by multiple commentators. Obama's pending deal with Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei won't place "full-time international inspectors at Iranian nuclear facilities to make sure that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons." Heck, if an army of full-time IAEA inspectors were to be given free access to all Iranian nuclear and military facilities, making certain that no atomic bomb was in the works, now and in perpetuity, I would also favor such an agreement. However, in fact, Iran continues to refuse to allow IAEA inspectors anywhere near its top-secret Parchin military base outside of Tehran. Moreover, the proposed deal provides that the mullahs will be free within a decade to build nuclear weapons pursuant a "sunset clause."

But more to the point, does J Street have "anti-Israeli sentiments"? Dowd fails to observe that in April 2014, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations voted not to admit J Street. She also takes no note of a March 2014 Haaretz opinion piece entitled "J Street’s hypocrisy must be exposed" by Alan Dershowitz, who endorsed Obama in 2012. Describing J Street as an "American organization that calls itself pro-Israel and pro peace but that always seems to be taking positions that are anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian," the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard went on to say:

"J Street only wants people to hear views to the anti-Israel hard left of its position. It categorically refuses to allow its members to hear views that are more centrist and more pro-Israel, such as my own.

. . . .

J Street survives, and even expands, largely as the result of speaking out of two sides of its mouth. It seeks to attract centrist members by advocating the two-state solution, an aggressive stance towards peace negotiations and criticisms of Israel’s settlement policies. These are positions I fully support, and if they were J Street’s only positions, I would have joined that organization many years ago. But in an effort to expand leftward, particularly hard leftward, it has taken positions that undercut Israel’s security and that virtually no Israeli center-leftists support. It placed its imprimatur behind the despicable and mendacious Goldstone Report by bringing Richard Goldstone to Capitol Hill and introducing him to members of Congress.

. . . .

J Street’s position on Iran has been extremely troubling. It opposes the United States threatening military action, even as a last resort.

. . . .

J Street has also spoken out of both sides of its mouth on the issue of whether the Palestinian leadership should recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

. . . .

Moreover, J Street has accepted funding from sources—such as George Soros—who are openly anti-Israel, and have kept this fact secret so as not to alienate its centrist supporters."

Before claiming that Jeb mischaracterized J Street as having "anti-Israeli sentiments," Dowd should have spoken with Professor Dershowitz, who is "a bit" more knowledgeable on this topic than she is.

All of which is not to say that Dowd is completely lost at sea in this op-ed. Dowd also writes:

"U.S. Middle East policy is so muddled that, after occupying and blowing up Iraq, we are working with Shiite Iran to push back Sunni insurgents in Iraq and working with Sunnis and their Saudi Arabian allies in Yemen against a Shiite militia that has Iranian support."

As I noted in a recent blog entry entry entitled "Obama's Schizophrenic Middle East Policy in Yemen and Iraq," this is indeed the case.

Washington Post Editorial, "A reward for Iran’s noncompliance": "Father, Forgive Them, For They Know Not What They Do"

"Natanz/Netanya," Oil on canvas 130 x 190 cm © Ardyn Halter

Do you remember what I stated about Parchin, the secret Iranian military base outside of Tehran? On February 26, I wrote (my emphasis in red):

"Yesterday, in an editorial entitled "An Emerging Nuclear Deal With Iran," The New York Times claimed that "Iran’s major nuclear installations are already monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency and watched by the United States." Iran, however, is refusing access to the Parchin military base outside Tehran. I informed Andrew Rosenthal of The Times of this "error" by email, but he didn't bother responding.

Today, Robert Einhorn, serves up more nonsense in a New York Times op-ed entitled "Deterring an Iranian Nuclear Breakout," also intended to persuade us to accept Obama's pending deal with Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei. Einhorn, who, according the op-ed, is "a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution" and "served on the U.S. delegation to the Iran nuclear negotiations from 2009 to 2013," writes:

"Fortunately, even if an agreement cannot eliminate Iran’s capability to enrich uranium to weapons grade, it can prevent Iran from exercising that capability. It can do so by deterring Iran’s leaders from making the decision to break out of the agreement and produce nuclear weapons. To deter such a decision, a deal should meet three requirements.

First, it should have rigorous monitoring measures to convince Iran that any attempt to violate and break out of the agreement at either declared or covert sites would be detected very quickly. This would require intrusive verification provisions that go beyond the measures contained in the International Atomic Energy Agency’s additional protocol, including frequent access to centrifuge production facilities, detailed reporting of nuclear-related procurement and robust inspection procedures."

Ah, yes, "the rigorous monitoring measures." However, as reported by the IAEA last Thursday, the agency "remains concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear-related activities involving military-related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile." And meanwhile, Iran continues to bar the IAEA from inspecting the Parchin military base outside of Iran."

Well, it seems that somebody has woken up to the problem involving Parchin. In an editorial entitled "A reward for Iran’s noncompliance," The Washington Post writes:

"Twice, in 2007 and in 2013, Iran agreed with the IAEA on a “work plan” to clear up the military research issues. In both instances, it then stonewalled inspectors, refusing to answer questions or permit access to sites. After the agency sought access in 2011 to a military complex called Parchin, where warhead detonation tests may have been carried out, satellite surveillance revealed that Iran had demolished buildings and excavated ground in an apparent cover-up operation.

. . . .

An appropriate response to this blatant violation of agreements would be to insist that Iran complete the IAEA work plan before any long-term accord is signed or any further sanctions lifted. Inspectors need their questions answered so that they will be able to determine later whether Iran has violated the controls on its nuclear research expected to be part of a deal. Furthermore, it is vital to establish that Tehran will deliver on its commitments and that it will be held accountable if it does not."

Obama, however, has dedicated his second term as president to making Iran a "successful regional power." It doesn't bother him that Iranian-backed Houthi rebels are now overrunning Yemen, despite his declaration in September 2014, "This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years."

For those of you who are brave enough to risk losing your breakfast, have a look at a Vox article entitled "These Obama administration quotes about Yemen are almost too cringe-worthy to read" by Zack Beauchamp. An example of the quotes listed by Beauchamp:

"The truth is, you can dwell on Yemen, or you can recognize that we're one agreement away from a game-changing, legacy-setting nuclear accord on Iran that tackles what everyone agrees is the biggest threat to the region."

— A senior State Department official to Politico's Michael Crowley, March 26.

Yes, it's time for Congress to intervene. Obama and his obsequious cronies have all been infected with a lethal strain of narcissistic dementia.

Friday, March 27, 2015

David Brooks, "The Field Is Flat": Can Hillary Bring in the Black Vote?

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Field Is Flat," David Brooks would have us know of a "series of trends that may cancel out the Democratic gains with immigrants, singles and the like" in America's 2016 presidential election. Brooks explains:

  • "People tend to get more Republican as they get older, and they vote at higher rates."
  • "Democrats continue to lose support among the white working class."
  • "Democrats are now doing worse among college-educated voters."
  • "And, most significant, there are signs that Hispanic voters, at least in Sun Belt states, are getting more Republican as they move up the educational ladder."

Actually, the mechanics of the 2016 presidential election are a heck of a lot simpler than David thinks. As reported in an August 28, 2013 Washington Post article entitled "The wide racial gap in Obama’s presidential elections, in 2 charts" by Peyton M. Craighill and Sean Sullivan:

"Ninety-three percent of black voters supported President Obama in 2012, exit poll data show. By comparison, just 39 percent of white voters supported a second term for the president. The 54-point racial gap (nearly identical to the 52-point gap in Obama's first election in 2008) was the widest since 1984, when blacks were 55 points more likely than whites to back Democratic nominee Walter Mondale.

. . . .

Obama's 2012 victory was due in no small part to both strong support and strong turnout from minority voters. No other Democratic president in history had won with as large a deficit among white voters.

Blacks made history in 2012, voting at a higher rate than whites for the first time ever, Census Bureau data show. Sixty-six percent of eligible black voters cast ballots, compared to 64 percent of eligible white voters."

Or in other words, it all boils down to whether Hillary will be able to attract an overwhelming majority of African American voters in 2016, and whether they will turn out in the same numbers for her as they did for Obama. If she fails to gain this kind of support, she loses the election to her Republican opponent.

It's that simple.

[Those who read this blog know that I requested a correction of would-be Middle East expert Thomas Friedman's last Times opinion piece, and lo and behold:

"Correction: March 27, 2015

Thomas L. Friedman’s column on Wednesday incorrectly described the Taliban as an Arab movement. Most of its members are Pashtuns, not Arabs."

Will wonders never cease!]

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Fareed Zakaria, "Where George W. Bush was right": No Mention of Iran!

In a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Where George W. Bush was right," Fareed Zakaria provides explanations for "Yemen’s descent into chaos." Zakaria concludes:

"As we ally ever more closely with Yemen’s and Egypt’s dictators and engage in joint military actions with the absolute monarchy of Saudi Arabia, we should be wondering what is going on in the shadows, mosques and jails of these countries."

Hold your horses, Fareed! With Shiite Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, overrunning Yemen, how can you possibly write an op-ed without mention of Tehran's involvment in this "chaos"? (Unless of course, you don't wish to say anything that might embarrass your friend, Barack Obama, as he attempts to ink a deal with Iran, ultimately providing this tyrannical state with a nuclear weapons arsenal.)

As we "engage in joint military actions with the absolute monarchy of Saudi Arabia"? Why no mention, Fareed, of the fact that the US is currently engaged in a joint military exercise with the absolute theocrat of of the Islamic Republic of Iran, i.e. the bombing of the Iraqi city of Tikrit, which is held by ISIS, in support of an Iranian-led assault?

The reality is that Obama's Middle East strategy is proving at best incomprehensible, and at worst schizophrenic.

New York Times Editorial, "A Dangerous Escalation in Iraq": Obama Seeks to Induce Iran to Sign a Nuclear Deal

The Tuesday deadline for signing an interim nuclear arrangement between the P5+1 and Iran is fast approaching, and not surprisingly, Obama agreed to US bombing of the Iraqi city of Tikrit, which is held by ISIS, in support of an Iranian-led assault. Today, a New York Times editorial entitled "A Dangerous Escalation in Iraq" puzzles over why Obama ordered the attack:

"By ordering the bombing of the Iraqi city of Tikrit, President Obama has escalated America’s involvement in the fight against the Islamic State without providing a shred of evidence showing how it could advance American interests, or what happens once the bombs stop falling.

The strikes are part of a campaign that from the outset has been waged without the authorization from Congress required by the Constitution. Mr. Obama is pursuing the operation at the request of Iraqi officials, who said air power was needed to break a stalemate."

Stop! In fact, the bombing was ordered by Obama to induce Khamenei to sign off on the nuclear agreement. No authorization from Congress? Congress opposes the nuclear deal with Iran, and Congress, for all Obama cares, can go to hell.

The editorial continues:

"These strikes could further destabilize Iraq if the United States is seen to be siding with Shiite militias — which make up the bulk of the ground forces battling ISIS in Tikrit — over Iraq’s minority Sunnis. Yet in a sign of just how unpredictable the dynamics of the region are, some of the militias see the United States as the greater evil and are so angered by the airstrikes that they have already announced they are pulling out of the fight."

Stop! These strikes could "further destabilize" only Iraq? How about the Middle East? In fact, the entire Sunni Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the UAE, have never been more furious with Obama for assisting Iran in its efforts to achieve regional hegemony. But then again, Obama did place us on notice that he wishes to see Iran emerge as a "successful regional power":

"They have a path to break through that isolation and they should seize it. Because if they do, there's incredible talent and resources and sophistication inside of — inside of Iran, and it would be a very successful regional power that was also abiding by international norms and international rules, and that would be good for everybody. That would be good for the United States, that would be good for the region, and most of all, it would be good for the Iranian people."

Or stated otherwise, Obama is seeking a trade-off: If Iran signs the nuclear agreement, he will not stand in the way of its Middle East ambitions. However, there is a difference between standing on the sidelines and actively providing air support to what is unquestionably an Iranian-led attack upon Tikrit.

The Times editorial acknowledges:

"Until now, America has left the battle in the hands of a force of about 30,000 Iraqis led by Iran and composed mainly of Iran-backed militias; they are facing a far smaller group of ISIS jihadists. The Iraqi government and its army have been largely sidelined, having lost credibility when the army failed to stop the ISIS onslaught last year.

. . . .

Before ordering the airstrikes, Mr. Obama reportedly insisted that the Shiite militias move aside so the Iraqi Army could play a larger role, and on Thursday Iraqi special forces were reported to be advancing on Tikrit. Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp, who had been advising forces around Tikrit, reportedly left the area on Sunday."

Stop! Indeed, it's all a show, including Suleimani's "disappearance." But Obama has failed to fool anyone, particularly the Saudis and Egyptians.

The editorial concludes:

"Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the senior leader of the Shiite world, can have an important function in making the case for a more inclusive government. So can Iran, whose fitness for rejoining the international community will be judged by its willingness to cooperate on security in the region."

Stop! Iran has no desire to foster security in the region, as evidenced by its support of Houthi rebels in Yemen, who are overrunning a country which had been used by the US to launch drone strikes against ISIS and al-Qaeda, and the direct involvement of Iran's military in Syria in support of mass murderer Bashar al-Assad. Yes, the Times, which is in bed with Obama regarding the nuclear pact with Khamenei, is truly wearing its naivete on its sleeve.

John Bolton, "To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran": Sorry, Obama Has Already Surrendered

In a New York Times op-ed entitled "To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran," former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton explains that whatever nuclear "privileges" are granted to Iran pursuant to its pending agreement with the P5+1, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey will demand the same. (In my blog entry yesterday entitled "Thomas Friedman, "Look Before Leaping": Obama Gets Tough With the White House Florist," I suggested that Jordan and the UAE would also seek to begin building their own bombs.) Convinced that Iran will not forgo its nuclear weapons program regardless of the threat or implementation of international sanctions, Bolton concludes:

"The inconvenient truth is that only military action like Israel’s 1981 attack on Saddam Hussein’s Osirak reactor in Iraq or its 2007 destruction of a Syrian reactor, designed and built by North Korea, can accomplish what is required. Time is terribly short, but a strike can still succeed.

Rendering inoperable the Natanz and Fordow uranium-enrichment installations and the Arak heavy-water production facility and reactor would be priorities. So, too, would be the little-noticed but critical uranium-conversion facility at Isfahan. An attack need not destroy all of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, but by breaking key links in the nuclear-fuel cycle, it could set back its program by three to five years. The United States could do a thorough job of destruction, but Israel alone can do what’s necessary. Such action should be combined with vigorous American support for Iran’s opposition, aimed at regime change in Tehran.

Mr. Obama’s fascination with an Iranian nuclear deal always had an air of unreality. But by ignoring the strategic implications of such diplomacy, these talks have triggered a potential wave of nuclear programs. The president’s biggest legacy could be a thoroughly nuclear-weaponized Middle East."

War, or even the threat of war, is frightening. I've lived through enough of them. On the other hand, the failure to stop Iran in its tracks is reminiscent of Chamberlain's 1938 "peace for our time" Munich Agreement. Chamberlain could have said no to Hitler and saved the lives of more than 60 million people, but he didn't. Such is human nature.

Yes, Obama's pact with Khamenei is certain to bring about a Middle East nuclear arms race. Moreover, given the regimes involved, these weapons will be used - that's a promise.

Could a bomb hit the US? Absolutely. Obama's agreement does not prevent Iran from developing ICBMs.  But as John Kerry acknowledged yesterday:

"What happens if, as our critics propose, we just walk away from a plan that the rest of the world were to deem to be reasonable? That could happen. Well, the talks would collapse. Iran would have the ability to go right back spinning its centrifuges and enriching to the degree they want, if they want, if that's what they choose. And the sanctions will not hold, because those other people who deem the plan to be reasonable will walk away and say, 'You do your thing, we’ll do ours.'"

Or in other words, American foreign policy is now being dictated by Russia, China and European corporations hungry for renewed trade with Iran, i.e. Obama has already surrendered.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Obama's Schizophrenic Middle East Policy in Yemen and Iraq

If you currently go to the homepages of The New York Times and The Washington Post, you will see lead news articles informing us:

  1. With the support of Obama, the Saudi air force is attacking Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, in Yemen. As reported by WaPo in an article entitled "Saudi Arabia launches air attacks in Yemen," by : "the White House announced late Wednesday that President Obama had authorized U.S. forces­ to provide logistical and intelligence support to the operation."
  2. The US air force is attacking the Iraqi city of Tikrit, which is held by ISIS, in support of an Iranian-led assault. A New York Times article entitled "Opening New Iraq Front, U.S. Strikes ISIS in Tikrit" by Rod Nordland and Peter Bakermarch acknowledges: "For more than three weeks, the Americans had stayed on the sideline of the battle for Tikrit, wary of being in the position of aiding an essentially Iranian-led operation."
Maybe some enterprising reporter would care to ask Josh Earnest about this anomaly.

John Kerry: Sanctions Regime Cannot Be Enforced If Talks With Iran Fail

US Secretary of State John Kerry has effectively admitted that the US is agreeing to all of Iran's demands in its current negotiations over Tehran's nuclear development program, because its P5+1 partners are prepared to agree to Khamenei's demands. As reported by Iran's PressTV, Kerry told the Global Chief of Missions meeting at the State Department in Washington on Wednesday, March 25:

"What happens if, as our critics propose, we just walk away from a plan that the rest of the world were to deem to be reasonable? That could happen. Well, the talks would collapse. Iran would have the ability to go right back spinning its centrifuges and enriching to the degree they want, if they want, if that's what they choose. And the sanctions will not hold, because those other people who deem the plan to be reasonable will walk away and say, 'You do your thing, we’ll do ours.'"

Or in other words, American foreign policy is now being dictated by Russia, China and European corporations hungry for renewed trade with Iran.

Not surprisingly, this dramatic revelation is not being covered by any of America's leading media outlets.

Thomas Friedman, "Look Before Leaping": Obama Gets Tough With the White House Florist

In case you didn't notice, after six years as president of the United States, Obama is finally taking no nonsense. On Tuesday, the White House florist was reportedly "escorted from the building." But wait, there's more! "Senior White House officials" are also letting us know that Israel has been spying on Iran's nuclear talks with the US. Why should it matter that the alleged spying (the information in question was freely handed over to Israel by France, a participant in the P5+1 negotiations with Iran) and was also the product of Israeli espionage involving Iran? Moreover, why should we care that the alleged Israeli spying was discovered by American "intercepts" of official Israeli communications, i.e. US spying upon Israel? And what difference does it make that Israel shared the information in question with Obama's most feared enemy . . . Congress? Netanyahu is not going to prevent Obama from giving nuclear weapons to Iran's mullahs within a decade or less! Israel must be taught that this pussy has claws!

But what about the nuclear deal that Obama is preparing to sign with Khamenei? When Obama acolyte and would-be Middle East expert Thomas Friedman publicly expresses his doubts about the wisdom of this agreement, beware! In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Look Before Leaping," Friedman writes regarding the negative aspects of such a pact:

"Not enough attention is being paid to the regional implications — particularly what happens if we strengthen Iran at a time when large parts of the Sunni Arab world are in meltdown.

. . . .

The challenge to this argument, explains Karim Sadjadpour, a Middle East specialist at the Carnegie Endowment, is that while the Obama team wants to believe this deal could be 'transformational,' Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, 'sees it as transactional' — Iran plugs its nose, does the deal, regains its strength and doubles-down on its longstanding revolutionary principles.

. . . .

[If sanctions are lifted,] Iran would have billions of dollars more to spend on cyberwarfare, long-range ballistic missiles and projecting power across the Arab world, where its proxies already dominate four Arab capitals: Beirut, Baghdad, Damascus and Sana."

Friedman fails to mention that any such agreement with Iran will ignite a Middle East nuclear arms race. If Obama allows Iran to build it first atomic bombs within a decade pursuant to the proposed agreement's "sunset clause," Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the UAE will all immediately begin their own nuclear weapons development programs. In addition, these weapons, in a region known for its instability, will - I promise you - be used.

On the "plus side," Friedman tells us:

"[T]he ending of sanctions could open Iran to the world and bring in enough fresh air — Iran has been deliberately isolated since 1979 by its ayatollahs and Revolutionary Guard Corps — to gradually move Iran from being a revolutionary state to a normal one, and one less inclined to threaten Israel.

. . . .

Patching up the U.S.-Iran relationship could enable America to better manage and balance the Sunni Arab Taliban[*] in Afghanistan, and counterbalance the Sunni jihadists, like those in the Islamic State, or ISIS, now controlling chunks of Iraq and Syria.

. . . .

For 10 years, it was America that was overstretched across Iraq and Afghanistan. Now it will be Iran’s turn."

An agreement "could" transform Iran "from being a revolutionary state to a normal one"? Isn't that a gamble lacking any rational basis?

Patching up the U.S.-Iran relationship "could" counterbalance ISIS, "now controlling chunks of Iraq and Syria"? Friedman forgets to mention that a tyrannical Iran, which hangs homosexuals and stones to death women accused of adultery, also now effectively controls significant chunks of Iraq and Syria.

And now it will be "Iran's turn" to deal with Iraq and Afghanistan? I opposed involvement of American ground forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan, but does this mean that the US should acquiesce to Iran extending its hegemony to both these nations?

Perhaps Obama is only capable of getting tough with flower arrangers.

[*I sent the following email to Andrew Rosenthal of the Times:

"In his most recent Times op-ed entitled "Look Before Leaping," Thomas Friedman writes (my emphasis in red):

'Patching up the U.S.-Iran relationship could enable America to better manage and balance the Sunni Arab Taliban in Afghanistan, and counterbalance the Sunni jihadists, like those in the Islamic State, or ISIS, now controlling chunks of Iraq and Syria.'

The Taliban is not 'Arab' (Afghanistan is not an Arab country, although there is a very small Arab minority). In fact, the word "Taliban" means 'students' in Pashto.'

Let's see if Rosenthal responds.

Thank you, "k," for pointing out this error.]

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

David Brooks, "How to Fight Anti-Semitism": It Begins by Saying "No" to Obama's Deal With Iran

Are there three different kinds of anti-Semitism?

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "How to Fight Anti-Semitism," David Brooks differentiates between the anti-Semitism of the Middle East, Europe and the United States. According to Brooks, the anti-Semitism of the Middle East is "is a form of derangement, a flight from reality even in otherwise sophisticated people." On the other hand, Brooks would have us know that in Europe, anti-Semitism "looks like a response to alienation" and is "particularly high where unemployment is rampant." Finally, concerning the United States, Brooks says that anti-Semitism "remains an astonishingly non-anti-Semitic place," and in this regard, Brooks declares:

"In the Obama administration, there are people who know that the Iranians are anti-Semitic, but they don’t know what to do with that fact and put this mental derangement on a distant shelf. They negotiate with the Iranian leaders, as if anti-Semitism was some odd quirk, instead of what it is, a core element of their mental architecture."

Brooks, however, fails to ask how a supposedly intellectual American president can ignore this so-called "mental architecture" and seek to provide Iran's mullahs with an arsenal of nuclear weapons within a decade.

Brooks also fails to consider an op-ed entitled “Newt, Mitt, Bibi and Vladimir” by fellow Times columinist Thomas Friedman, in which Tom Terrific declared:

"I sure hope that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby."

Similarly, Brooks ignores the conduct of fellow Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. As was reported in an article entitled "Nick Kristof’s Piggishness," written by Adam Kredo for The Washington Free Beacon:

"New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof is facing criticism after retweeting a controversial message that referred to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the National Rifle Association as 'the 2 most pig like lobbies' in America.

Longtime Israel critic M.J. Rosenberg, who was dumped by the liberal Media Matters for America for his use of borderline anti-Semitic language, authored the controversial tweet Wednesday afternoon. It called to mind recently unearthed statements by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi that referred to Jews as 'pigs.'"

I would delicately suggest to Brooks that anti-Semitism in the United States, particularly in the media, can be just as sinister as the strains of this disease which exist in the Middle East and Europe. Moreover, American anti-Semitism is far "closer to home" than Brooks believes.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Denis McDonough, "Occupation That Has Lasted for 50 Years Must End": Obama Hatchetman Spews Poison at J Street Conference

Did you ever collect coins as a child? Buffalo nickels? Indian Head pennies? Well, if you scratch the rocky soil of the West Bank, you will find other coins dating back some two thousand years: coins minted by the Hasmonean dynasty following the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire, coins minted by Herod during his rule of the Kingdom of Judea; coins from the first Jewish revolt against the Romans with inscriptions reading "The Freedom of Zion; and coins from the subsequent Bar Kokhba revolt against the Romans, bearing the inscription "Year One of the Redemption of Israel." Yes, the land comprising the West Bank was the heart of the ancient Jewish homeland for millennia.

Yesterday, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, speaking at a J Street conference in Washington, said of the West Bank:

"An occupation that has lasted for 50 years must end."

But what didn't Obama's hatchetman say?

  • Did he mention historic Jewish ties to the land compromising the West Bank? Not a chance.

  • Did he mention that the West Bank was occupied by Israel after Jordan attacked Israel during the 1967 Six Day? Not a chance.

  • Did he mention that Palestinian suicide bombers crossed from the West Bank into Israel a decade ago and killed hundreds of Israeli civilians? Not a chance.

  • Did he mention the danger of Iranian-made missiles being fired from the West Bank at Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Netanya and Haifa? Not a chance.

Me? I favor a two-state solution, i.e. the creation of an independent Palestinian state that will live in peace and prosperity alongside Israel. But for there to be such a Palestinian state, both Fatah and Hamas must recognize Israel's right to exist. Hamas must repeal its charter, which rejects a negotiated settlement with Israel and calls for the murder of all Jews, not just Israelis. Fatah, among other things, must make certain that the minds of Palestinian children attending West Bank schools are not poisoned by textbooks expressing incitement against Israel and the foulest forms of anti-Semitism. And without a doubt, the West Bank must be demilitarized.

McDonough? A pity he is not demanding that Iranian calls for the annihilation of Israel must end before any nuclear arrangement with Khamenei is signed. Meanwhile, the Iranian press is gleefully reporting his J Street commentary.

Back in October 2000, Ze'ev Schiff, an Israeli journalist for the left-leaning Israeli newspaper Haaretz, said of Arafat in an article entitled "Some Lessons from the Riots," written after the onset of the Second Intifada:

"He has brought us back to recognize our strategic reality: Israel is still a nation at was, and it needs to behave like one when it weighs its options and considers the limits of its concessions."

Sadly, this reality has not changed.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Michael Hayden, Olli Heinonen and Ray Takeyh, "The Iran time bomb": Giving the Lie to Obama's Agreement With Khamenei

In a must read Washington Post opinion piece entitled "The Iran time bomb," Michael Hayden, Olli Heinonen and Ray Takeyh explain why the agreement being negotiated by Obama with Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei will not prevent the mullahs from building an atomic bomb under the noses of IAEA within a year of contravening the terms of the deal. As explained by the authors of this op-ed, a lengthy "bureaucratic process would be necessary to validate" any such violation by Iran:

  • The US director of national intelligence would only go to the president after the Energy Department and national nuclear laboratories had, over the course of months, "sniff[ed] the data to be convinced that a technical breach had occurred."
  • US determinations would then be submitted to the IAEA, which would then engage in protracted discussion with Tehran to gain access to the offending sites.
  • The IAEA's verdict would then be passed to the UN Security Council, where Russia and China would ensure lengthy deliberations.
  • Subsequent UN sanctions, if any, would be too late in coming to affect the Iranian economy, after trade and investment had returned pursuant to the terms of Obama's agreement.

In fact, the enormous likelihood is that Russia and China would veto at the UN Security Council any attempt to reinstate the sanctions.

Or stated otherwise, Obama is desperately pursuing a sham agreement, which could provide the maniacal Islamic Republic of Iran with nuclear weapons long before the pact's sunset clause kicks in at the end of a decade, freeing Tehran to pursue its nuclear weapons development program without obstruction.

Is it any wonder that France is objecting to Obama's giveaway?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

President Obama's Huffington Post Interview With Sam Stein: Obama Doesn't Want "a Chaotic Situation in the Region"

In a powder puff interview with the Huffington Post, Sam Stein asked President Obama, among other things, about last week's Israeli elections:

HUFFPOST: Switching to foreign affairs. Given Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent comments on a two-state solution in the close of his campaign, can the U.S. continue to oppose Palestinian efforts to gain statehood at the United Nations?

OBAMA: Well, I had a chance to speak to Prime Minister Netanyahu yesterday, congratulated his party on his victory. I did indicate to him that we continue to believe that a two-state solution is the only way for the long-term security of Israel, if it wants to stay both a Jewish state and democratic. And I indicated to him that given his statements prior to the election, it is going to be hard to find a path where people are seriously believing that negotiations are possible.

. . . .

But we are going to continue to insist that, from our point of view, the status quo is unsustainable. And that while taking into complete account Israel's security, we can't just in perpetuity maintain the status quo, expand settlements. That's not a recipe for stability in the region.

HUFFPOST: Is there any reason at this point to believe that he's serious about a Palestinian state?

OBAMA: Well, we take him at his word when he said that it wouldn't happen during his prime ministership, and so that's why we've got to evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don't see a chaotic situation in the region.

"Not a recipe for stability in the region"? Fascinating. Syria, Iraq and Yemen are in flames. Egypt and Lebanon teeter on the brink. Tunisia is being rocked by terrorism. Libya has become home to al-Qaeda. Or stated otherwise, something far worse than a "chaotic" situation exists throughout the region, and much of it is of Obama's own making, e.g., "leading from behind" in Libya, failing to enforce his "red line" involving Assad's use of chemical weapons against civilians in Syria, and tacitly acquiescing to Iran's military involvement in Iraq.

Nevertheless, Obama would point a finger at the West Bank, the one place where there is quiet. After all, the status quo cannot be maintained "in perpetuity."

Obama, however, ignores the fact that it is Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who is interested in maintaining the status quo. Abbas declared to Jackson Diehl in 2009:

"'I will wait for Hamas to accept international commitments. I will wait for Israel to freeze settlements,' he said. 'Until then, in the West Bank we have a good reality . . . the people are living a normal life.'"

This statement was made after Abbas refused Israeli Prime Minister Olmert's 2008 peace offer, providing the Palestinians with an independent state along the 1967 lines together with agreed upon land swaps and Palestinian control of east Jerusalem. One year later, after Netanyahu declared a 10-month settlement freeze "to restart peace talks" at the request of Obama, Abbas delayed entering negotiations until the last moment and then walked away from the discussions.

Moreover, Abbas will never see better terms than those offered by Olmert.

So will there be two-state solution while Netanyahu is prime minister? Probably not, because Abbas, who is deathly afraid of Hamas (which rejects any negotiated peace with Israel), doesn't want it.

Yes, Obama, who is more responsible than anyone for the chaos that prevails in the region, continues to wear his naivete on his sleeve.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Dana Milbank, "Can Israel remain a democracy?": Yes!

After telling us how he plunged his infant daughter into a ritual bath to convert her to Judaism, Dana Milbank, in a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Can Israel remain a democracy?, describes Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's actions leading up to Israel's elections as "monstrous." Milbank writes (my emphasis in red):

"Israel, the Jewish state, is the antidote to this fear. The Law of Return, enacted by David Ben-Gurion’s government in 1950, guarantees Israeli citizenship to all Jews who move to Israel. This was meant to guarantee that Israel would remain Jewish (Palestinians, controversially, are not granted this right) but it also meant that, after the Holocaust, and thousands of years of wandering, there was finally a place to which all Jews could go, and defend ourselves, if nowhere else was safe.

This is why Benjamin Netanyahu’s actions on the eve of this week’s Israeli elections were so monstrous. In a successful bid to take votes from far-right parties, the prime minister vowed that there would be no Palestinian state as long as he’s in charge. It was an unmasking of sorts, revealing what many suspected all along: He had no interest in a two-state solution."

Well, Dana, if you're going to accuse Netanyahu of behaving like a monster, don't you think you should tell your readers everything that he said? True, he did confirm that a Palestinian state would not arise if he was reelected as prime minister, but this declaration came after he stated (again, my emphasis in red):

"I think that anyone who is going to establish a Palestinian state today and evacuate lands today is simply giving territory to radical Islam to attack the State of Israel."

This explanation didn't find its way into Milbank's opinion piece.

Do you speak Hebrew, Dana? Did you listen to Netanyahu's interview before labelling his actions as "monstrous"? Don't you think it's incumbent upon you to provide the full context of Netanyahu's remarks? Is what Netanyahu said so incomprehensible at a time when chaos reigns in Syria, Iran is perpetually threatening Israel with annihilation, ISIS is running rampant in Iraq, and the Hamas charter continues to call for the murder of all Jews?

Moreover, in order for there to be a two-state solution, a willing partner is required. In 2008, Palestinian Authority President Abbas rejected Israeli Prime Minister Olmert's peace offer providing the Palestinians with an independent state along the 1967 lines together with agreed upon land swaps and Palestinian control of east Jerusalem. One year later, after Netanyahu declared a 10-month settlement freeze "to restart peace talks" at the request of Obama, Abbas delayed entering negotiations until the last moment and then walked away from the discussions. The reality is that Abbas, in a perpetual conflict with Hamas, is too weak to sign a peace agreement with Israel, but Netanyahu is of course the "monster."

You see, Dana, I firmly believe in a two-state solution, but not before the Palestinians, i.e. both Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza, acknowledge Israel's right to live in peace. Shouldn't Israel be allowed that much?

Did Netanyahu behave in a "monstrous" fashion? I don't think so. I would reserve that adjective for the beheading of Christian Copts by ISIS in Libya last month. Or for Assad's use of chlorine against Syrian civilians in the town of Sarmin last week. Or for the "honor killings" of Palestinian women in Gaza and the West Bank. Or for the ongoing hanging of homosexuals in Iran. But heck, Obama wants to tar and feather Netanyahu, and his media minions are obliged to indulge his wishes.

Jeffrey Goldberg, "Israel's Dangerous Predicament": Obama the Punisher

In an Atlantic article entitled "Israel's Dangerous Predicament," Jeffrey Goldberg describes Obama's threats to abandon Israel to its fate at the UN after Netanyahu had the gall to emerge victorious in Israel's parliamentary elections on Tuesday. Goldberg writes:

"It is up to Netanyahu, in the coming weeks, to show he is actually committed to preserving the possibility of a two-state solution. I would like it, of course, if the White House would cease to dump on Israel for a day or two—it would be nice if it would exhibit the same restraint it shows when talking about the actions of the Iranian regime, for instance—but, nevertheless, this is a problem largely created by Netanyahu's deep cynicism, and cast-iron obstinacy.

If the Security Council recognizes Palestine as an independent state, Netanyahu will have no time at all to get his house in order before Israel becomes a true pariah. I've been arguing for years that Netanyahu has had two choices: Arrange for the birth of a Palestinian state in an orderly, secure way, over a period of several years, or do nothing over a period of several years, and then face a sudden crisis in which Israel loses its ability to manage the situation."

Fascinating. But if the Security Council recognizes Palestine as an independent state, who is in charge? Fatah, which governs the West Bank, and which is headed by Mahmoud Abbas, now in the eleventh year of his four-year term as President of the Palestinian Authority? In 2008, Abbas rejected Israeli Prime Minister Olmert's peace offer, providing the Palestinians with an independent state along the 1967 lines together with agreed upon land swaps and Palestinian control of east Jerusalem. One year later, after Netanyahu declared a 10-month settlement freeze "to restart peace talks" at the request of Obama, Abbas delayed entering negotiations until the last moment and then walked away from the discussions. No need, of course, for Obama to force Abbas back to the negotiating table. It's all Netanyahu's fault.

Or maybe Hamas, which governs Gaza, will be in charge of the new state. The charter of Hamas, which has been designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US, calls for the murder of all Jews, not just Israelis. They will be given sway over the nascent state of Palestine? Good luck!

And just maybe if the State of Palestine is recognized by the UN Security Council, we will see another Fatah-Hamas civil war, which, the last time around, lasted from January 2006 to May 2007 and cost the lives of 600 Palestinians. After all, why should Palestine be spared the chaos of Syria and Iraq?

Go for it, Obama! Abandon Israel at the UN! Maybe you can't stand up to Putin or Khamenei, but here's your chance to go toe to toe with an ally and prove you're a man!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Fareed Zakaria, "Israel’s threat from within": Killing Israel Softly?

Do you recall Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei's November 8, 2014  tweet calling for the "annihilation" of Israel:

"This barbaric, wolflike & infanticidal regime of #Israel which spares no crime has no cure but to be annihilated."

Well, in a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Israel’s threat from within," Obama acolyte Fareed Zakaria would have us know that Iran seeks to destroy Israel, but not by means of war. Zakaria writes:

"Let me be clear. Iran’s supreme leader is a radical, anti-Western ideologue whose Twitter feed is filled with hate and hostility — and he means Israel only harm. But he is also a canny politician who has survived and thrived in Iran’s complex political system. What is the message he is sending?

Khamenei speaks often about the destruction of Israel. But he rejects doing so by means of a war. 'We recommend neither a classical war by the army of Muslim countries nor to throw migrated Jews at sea.' (It’s good to know that he is against drowning Jews en masse!) Akbar Ganji, Iran’s best-known dissident, who was jailed for criticizing Khamenei, argues that the supreme leader has been consistent in this position for years — no war, certainly not by Iran."

"No war, certainly not by Iran"? Fascinating. Consider how Hassan Nasrallah, who heads Hezbollah, Iran's proxy in Lebanon, declared in 2002: "If they [Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide." Okay, that statement was made more than a decade ago, but in the meantime, Iran has supplied Hezbollah with some 70,000 missiles, some of which are capable of striking the entirety of Israel.

Consider also how, two months ago, Iranian Revolutionary Guards General Mohammad Ali Allah-Dadi, accompanied by senior Hezbollah operatives, was killed by an Israeli strike while on a "reconnaissance" tour in the Golan Heights opposite the Israeli border. The Iranian general wasn't there on a mission to pick wild flowers.

Turning to Gaza, the covenant of Hamas, which is armed by Iran, calls for the murder of all Jews, not just Israelis. As reported in an August 5, 2014 International Business Times article entitled "Gaza Strip Crisis: Iran Admits Supplying Missile Technology to Hamas" by Vasudevan Sridharan:

"A top Iranian military official has admitted that Tehran supplied military technology to the Palestine-based militant group Hamas in its battle against Israel.

'Palestinian resistance missiles are the blessings of Iran's transfer of technology. We need to transfer defensive and military technology to Palestinians so that they can build weapons under the blockade and defend themselves,' Mohsen Rezaei, a senior official at the Expediency Discernment Council, told the state-run Arabic channel Al-Alam."

Iran plans to "annihilate" Israel by peaceful means? Only Barack Obama could possibly believe Zakaria's rubbish.

* * * *

In other news, we now know that US Secretary of State is "deeply disturbed" by reports that Assad attacked the Syrian town of Sarmin with chlorine. Kerry declared, "While we cannot yet confirm details, if true, this would be only the latest tragic example of the Assad regime's atrocities against the Syrian people, which the entire international community must condemn."

Ah yes, the international community, including Khamenei and Putin, should "condemn" the attack. That should send shudders up Assad's spine.

But whereas Kerry is "disturbed" by this latest use of chemical weapons by Assad, Obama plans to punish Netanyahu for emerging victorious in Israel's parliamentary elections by withholding support for Israel at the UN.

Go figure.

Thomas Friedman, "Bibi Will Make History": And Tom Will Continue to Write Crapola

“First, no matter what’ve you’ve heard, if you like your doctor -- or health care plan -- you can keep it.”

- President Obama

Before turning to the latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Bibi Will Make History" penned by would-be Middle East expert Thomas Friedman, allow me to let you in on several little-known facts: Politicians lie. Moreover, politicians lie to serve their own interests. Obama, Hillary and Netanyahu have all been known to bend the truth.

Now, also consider how one of Israel's most "hawkish" prime ministers, Menachem Begin, was able to make peace with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. And give some thought to how Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and not someone from Israel's center-left, evacuated Gaza. Like it or not, only Israeli politicians from the right, given their backing, have proven strong enough to make such far-reaching concessions.

Now, let's have a look at Friedman's cockamamie opinion piece . . .

Railing at Netanyahu for declaring that if reelected, there would be no Palestinian state, Friedman writes:

"Now, if there are not going to be two states for two peoples in the area between the Jordan River and Mediterranean, then there is going to be only one state — and that one state will either be a Jewish democracy that systematically denies the voting rights of about one-third of its people or it will be a democracy and systematically erodes the Jewish character of Israel."

Needless to say, Friedman makes no mention of the fact that it is Mahmoud Abbas, now in the eleventh year of his four-year term as president of the Palestinian Authority, who has stood in the way of West Bank elections for fear of his Hamas rivals.

Friedman also makes no mention of the fact that Abbas is in no hurry to attain Palestinian statehood. Abbas declared to Jackson Diehl in 2009:

"'I will wait for Hamas to accept international commitments. I will wait for Israel to freeze settlements,' he said. 'Until then, in the West Bank we have a good reality . . . the people are living a normal life.'"

This statement was made after Abbas refused Israeli Prime Minister Olmert's 2008 peace offer, providing the Palestinians with an independent state along the 1967 lines together with agreed upon land swaps and Palestinian control of east Jerusalem. One year later, after Netanyahu declared a 10-month settlement freeze "to restart peace talks" at the request of Obama, Abbas delayed entering negotiations until the last moment and then walked away from the discussions.

Finally, Friedman fails to consider that there is a middle ground between the absence of statehood and Israeli annexation of the West Bank - something that is simply not going to happen.

I favor a two-state solution and wish the Palestinians peace and prosperity, but before they are given statehood, there should be ironclad guarantees that rockets and missiles will not be fired at Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa from the West Bank. Can the Palestinians offer such guarantees as chaos runs rampant throughout the Muslim Middle East? Not likely.

But more to the point, if such ironclad guarantees were to be offered, I would not be surprised if Netanyahu, who is more intimately acquainted with the demographics of the West Bank than Tom Terrific, would again change his position regarding a two-state solution. Such is the nature of politicians.

[It happened sooner than expected: In an interview with NBC, Netanyahu today declared: "I don’t want a one-state solution. I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution." What a surprise ! . . . not.]

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Washington Post Editorial, "Who loses as Netanyahu wins?": The Answer Is Obama

After The New York Times threw a hissy fit over the results of Israel's democratic elections on Tuesday, The Washington Post is providing its own assessment of the Likud victory. In an editorial entitled "Who loses as Netanyahu wins?," WaPo concludes:

"Israelis remain strongly pro-American. But Mr. Netanyahu has proved that it is possible for an Israeli leader to campaign against the U.S. president and still win reelection. That doesn’t bode well for either U.S.-Israeli relations or for Mr. Obama’s ability to achieve his goals in the Middle East."

Sorry, girls and boys, but you've got the story all wrong. Netanyahu did not campaign against Obama, who wants to provide the mullahs with unrestricted access to an arsenal of atomic bombs within a decade. Rather, Netanyahu was campaigning against threats of annihilation from Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei.

Netanyahu's election doesn't "bode well" for "Obama’s ability to achieve his goals in the Middle East"? Excuse me, but what are those goals? Obama declared that he wishes to allow Iran, which stones to death women and hangs homosexuals, to become a "very successful regional power." Shouldn't there be someone brave enough to say "no" to America's president, who is only now beginning to show his true radical colors?

And as long as we're on the topic of Obama's Middle East goals, perhaps someone could explain to me his goals regarding Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Qatar, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Kurdistan. It's not clear to me . . . or anyone else for that matter.

Regarding Netanyahu's assertion that if reelected, there would be no Palestinian state, it should be pointed out that Mahmoud Abbas is also in no hurry to attain Palestinian statehood. Abbas declared to Jackson Diehl in 2009:

"'I will wait for Hamas to accept international commitments. I will wait for Israel to freeze settlements,' he said. 'Until then, in the West Bank we have a good reality . . . the people are living a normal life.'"

In fact, nothing has changed for Abbas since that time, and this logic, premised upon survival and the suppression of his Hamas rivals, still guides Abbas, who is in the eleventh year of his four-year term as president of the Palestinian Authority.

Sure, I favor a two-state solution and wish the Palestinians peace and prosperity, but before they are given statehood, there should be ironclad guarantees that rockets and missiles will not be fired at Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa from the West Bank.

For me and many other Israelis, it's simply a matter of survival.

Thomas Friedman, "Go Ahead, Ruin My Day": Sorry, Tom, Obama Decided the Election in Favor of Bibi

Definition of "Schadenfreude"

"A feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people."

- Merriam-Webster Dictionary

It should come as no surprise that would-be Middle East expert Thomas Friedman is devastated by Netanyahu's victory in Israel's parliamentary elections. What a shame! . . . not. Writing about Israel, Iran and Iraq in a New York Times op-ed entitled "Go Ahead, Ruin My Day," Friedman begins by commenting upon Netanyahu's success:

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party pretty well trounced the Labor Party leader, Isaac Herzog, in the race to form Israel’s next government. Netanyahu clearly made an impressive 11th-hour surge since the pre-election polls of last week. It is hard to know what is more depressing: that Netanyahu went for the gutter in the last few days in order to salvage his campaign — renouncing his own commitment to a two-state solution with the Palestinians and race-baiting Israeli Jews to get out and vote because, he said, too many Israeli Arabs were going to the polls — or the fact that this seemed to work.

To be sure, Netanyahu could reverse himself tomorrow. As the Yediot Ahronot columnist Nahum Barnea wrote: Netanyahu’s promises are like something 'written on ice on a very hot day.' But the fact is a good half of Israel identifies with the paranoid, everyone-is-against-us, and religious-nationalist tropes Netanyahu deployed in this campaign. That, along with the fact that some 350,000 settlers are now living in the West Bank, makes it hard to see how a viable two-state solution is possible anymore no matter who would have won."

Well, it should come as no surprise that Friedman is mistaken on all counts.

Israeli polls are notoriously inaccurate, and I am dubious whether Netanyahu's Likud Party went from a four parliamentary seat deficit to a six seat advantage over Herzog's Labor Party owing to anything Bibi said over the past several days.

But more to the point, I am not religious, I don't live in the West Bank, I believe in a two-state solution (if ever the Palestinians will accept this), and I detest the lifestyle and shenanigans of Bibi; however, I voted yesterday for the Likud for the first time in my life, albeit with a clothespin over my nose. Why? Simple. I believe that there has been a resurgence of anti-Semitism around the globe, and I am convinced that Iran poses an existential threat to Israel. When Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei tells me that he wishes to annihilate Israel, I believe him. On the other hand, I don't think that everyone is against us. Canada is not against Israel. The Czech Republic is not against Israel. Obama, on the other hand, is against Israel, as evidenced by the fact that he is willing to give Iran the unrestricted right to manufacture an arsenal of nuclear weapons within a decade.

If someone wishes to argue that Obama is not against Israel, I suggest that they ask The Los Angeles Times to release the video of Obama speaking at a 2003 going-away party honoring Rashid Khalidi. It's just not going to happen. I have always argued that Obama is a radical in moderate clothing, but with less than two years remaining of his second term, the disguise is slipping away.

So why vote this time for the Likud instead of Labor? Because Israel's back is up against the wall, and I have serious doubts whether Herzog has the gumption to stand up to Obama concerning Iran. Was I alone yesterday, voting for the Likud for reasons of survival? Not a chance, as I learned after speaking with friends at the polling station. It turns out that none other than Obama decided the election in favor of Bibi.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Roger Cohen, "Israel’s Vote Without Victory"*: Do You Remember "Dewey Defeats Truman"?

[* The title of the op-ed has now been changed to "An Uneasy Coalition for Israel."]

Do you remember the famous pictures of Harry Truman holding up a copy of The Chicago Tribune declaring "Dewey Defeats Truman"? Well, none other than Roger ("Iran is not totalitarian") Cohen has managed to provide us with his own special revival of this journalistic debacle. In a New York Times op-ed entitled "Israel’s Vote Without Victory," Cohen writes:

"If the Israeli election was above all a referendum on the leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he did not lose it. After accumulating nine years in office over three terms, that is a measure of his political guts, however limited his political achievements.

Nor, however, did he win it, according to early exit polls, and a long season of Israeli uncertainty now looks inevitable, despite the cries of victory from Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud Party.

. . . .

But many Israelis are tired of Netanyahu’s games; they embrace a different idea of Israel.

. . . .

As with Churchill’s words on democracy, a national unity coalition now looks like the worst form of government for Israel except for all the others. It could curtail Netanyahu’s hubris while giving Herzog heft, a desirable double whammy."

However, with 95 percent of the vote tallied, Netanyahu's Likud currently leads Herzog's Zionist Union by five parliamentary seats, and Netanyahu is almost certainly assured of forming the next government in Israel.

As always, nice work, Roger!

Washington Post Editorial, "An anniversary of horrors in Syria": Where's Samantha Power?

In an important editorial entitled "An anniversary of horrors in Syria," The Washington Post describes the horrors that Bashar al-Assad has perpetrated against the civilian population of Syria:

"Since Bashar al-Assad’s regime first responded to the peaceful demonstrators with gunfire, 6 percent of the prewar population of 20 million have been killed or wounded, and another 23 percent have left the country — including 4 million who live as refugees, according to a U.N.-supported study released last week. Outside of Damascus, most major cities have been reduced to rubble; a study of satellite images shows that 83 percent of the country’s electric lighting has been eliminated."

The indifference of the Obama administration to the aforesaid? As noted by the editorial:

"The Obama administration, which once proclaimed the prevention of genocide a national security priority, has not even pretended to have a strategy for Syria since the collapse of a peace conference in Geneva 13 months ago.

. . . .

Secretary of State John F. Kerry created a stir over the weekend when he appeared to suggest that the administration is now open to negotiating with Mr. Assad.

. . . .

Mr. Kerry’s statements reflected the administration’s real policy, which is to wash its hands of Syria while hoping it can separately strike a deal with Iran on its nuclear program and collaborate with it to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq. At best, Syria’s continued agony will be the price for progress elsewhere in the Middle East. More likely, the Assad regime’s unchecked slaughter will continue to destabilize the region."

Or stated otherwise, the Obama administration is willing to stand idly by as Assad continues to slaughter innocents, in order to reach a deal providing Assad's patron, Khamenei, who sanctions the stoning to death of women and the hanging of homosexuals, with an arsenal of atomic bombs within a decade.

Why haven't we heard more from Samantha Power, Obama's ambassador to the UN, concerning the nightmare in Syria? Isn't she supposed to be dedicated to the prevention of genocide and atrocities? Note how Power, who labelled Hillary Clinton a "monster" in 2008, declared in 2014 that Hillary as president would be "awesome." At some point, almost all of us must weigh career advancement versus personal integrity, and Power is obviously no exception.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Jackson Diehl, "A deal bigger than Iran": My Query, Would Obama Have Inked a Deal With Hitler?

What are the intentions of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Supreme Leader Khamenei regarding Israel and world Jewry? Actually, they are fairly obvious. Khamenei, in a recent tweet, called for the annihilation of Israel. Iran holds annual cartoon competitions mocking the Holocaust. Iran was responsible for the bombing of the Jewish community center in distant Buenos Aires in 1994, which killed 85 people. Hassan Nasrallah, who heads Hezbollah, the Iranian proxy in Lebanon, declared in 2002: "If they [Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide." And the covenant of Hamas, which is armed by Iran, calls for the murder of all Jews, not just Israelis.

Obama would have us ignore these declarations and the actions of Iran and its proxies, as he seeks to finalize an agreement with Iran, providing the mullahs with a nuclear arsenal within 10 years (seven years if Tehran has its way in the negotiations). Obama either believes, or would have us believe, that Iranian President Rouhani is a "moderate," who needs support in a purported battle with Iranian "hardliners." Do you recall Obama's "historic" 15-minute phone call to Rouhani in September 2013, while Rouhani was en route from the United Nations to the airport? Well, the Iranian poet Hashem Shaabani was subsequently hanged in January 2014 after the "moderate" Rouhani approved the death sentence.

What do I think when someone threatens to kill me? Unlike Obama, I believe him. On the other hand, it is also possible that a narcissistic Obama, who listened apathetically to the anti-Semitic harangues of the Reverend Wright for 20 years without objection, doesn't care about threats to Israel or world Jewry.

Query: Do Iranian threats to annihilate Israel apply only to Israel and the Jews? I don't think so. While campaigning for Iran's presidency, the "moderate" Rouhani declared on May 8, 2013 in the city of Karaj:

"We need to express 'Death to America' with action. Saying it is easy."

Apparently, Obama would also discount this threat.

In a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "A deal bigger than Iran," Jackson Diehl concludes:

"The point is that Obama’s negotiations with Iran are not just about whether it will obtain a nuclear weapon; they are about the future of the Middle East. Notwithstanding the White House spin, the outcome is unlikely to lead to war in the near future. But it may determine who wins the long-term contest for influence between the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf."

Diehl is wrong. First, Iran is already involved in wars throughout the Middle East: in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Moreover, the consequences of an Obama deal with Khamenei are anything but "long-term." Does Diehl honestly believe that Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE will stand idly by as Iran develops an arsenal of ICBMs (such development does not even fall within the framework of the P5+1's discussions with Iran)? If Obama is responsible for inking a deal with Iran that gives the mullahs nuclear weapons within a decade, these nations will also be certain to initiate nuclear weapons development programs of their own. And if in a decade, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey all have atomic weapons, I can promise you that they will be used. After all, there have been dozens of Middle East conflicts over the past several decades not even including wars involving Israel.

In the event of a Sunni/Shiite conflict, might a nuclear-tipped Iranian ICBM also fall on New York or Washington, thus speeding the coming of the Mahdi, who will will lead Shiite Muslim armies to victory over infidels in the final days? You would have to be quite naive to discount this possibility. After all, Iran is a country that stones to death women and hangs homosexuals.

Now back to the question posed in the title of this blog entry: If the year was 1938 and Obama stood in the place of British Prime Minister Chamberlain, would America's president have sought "peace for our time"? Would he have found Nazi "moderates" with whom to talk? Would he have signed a conciliatory deal with Hitler? I'm certain of it. In fact, during his 2013 second inaugural address, Obama declared (my emphasis in red):

"And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice — not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity; human dignity and justice."

The way to attain "peace in our time" is to reach out to monsters who sentence poets to death? Again, I don't think so. Instead, you stop them in their tracks while you still can.