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Will Republicans Protest and Litigate to Stop Iran Nuclear Pact?

stop iran rally september 9thWhere there were five undeclared Democrat Senators on the cusp of reconvening Congress, today there is only one, Ms. Cantwell from Washington State. Three Democrat Senators: Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Ron Wyden of Oregon and Gary Price of Michigan declared for the President’s position. Two of the three Democrat Senators who declared for the President position, Blumenthal and Wyden are up for re-election in 2016, while Price is not. The lone Democrat who joined with the Republican majority to oppose the Iran Pact is West Virginia Senator, Joe Manchin.

In a statement released by his office, Manchin said, “I believe that to be a super power, you must possess super diplomatic skills, and I believe that we can use these skills to negotiate a better deal.”

That leaves possibly 58 Senators, 54 Republicans and four Democrats opposing the Iran nuclear pact. That is two shy of the required 60 votes for cloture under the current Senate Rule 22 to cut off a filibuster. A vote on the majority resolutions rejecting the Iran pact could be scheduled as early as Thursday. That is, if the promised filibuster led by Senator Minority Democrat Leader Reid doesn’t stop the vote first.

Reid unleashed the filibuster option on Saturday, September 5th. White House Spokesperson Josh Earnest said Tuesday, September 8th:

It would be a little ironic for now Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to express concerns about a tactic that he, himself, employed on countless occasions. The other thing that I’ll point out is that the 60 vote threshold is actually one that was approved by the 98 senators who voted for the Corker-Cardin legislation back in the spring.

Opponents of the Iran nuclear pact circulated a letter on Capitol Hill today signed by 15 governors including  four  Republican hopefuls; Jindal of Louisiana, Christie of New Jersey, Kasich of Ohio and Walker of Wisconsin.  Republican majority and other opponents of the filibuster floor maneuver by minority Democrats criticize it for denying an up or down vote on the measure that Americans in leading polls taken by a 2 to 1 margin have urged Congress to reject the Iran deal.  Harvard law professor emeritus, Alan Dershowitz, author of The Case Against the Iran Deal said in a Steve Malzberg Show interview on NewsMax TV, September 3, 2015:

As an opponent of the deal, a filibuster would be a good result because it would deny legitimacy to the deal. The American public is not going to accept a deal that was filibustered. Let’s remember what a filibuster is. It was a southern strategy designed to undo democracy and to offend equality.

Dershowitz drew attention to the quandary that Israel and PM Netanyahu would face if the Iran pact was approved:

I know Benjamin Netanyahu. I’ve known him since 1973. He is not going to sit back and allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons.

This deal makes it much harder for Israel to defend its people.

In a Washington Post opinion article by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), member of the House Permanent Intelligence Committee, and Constitutional lawyer, David B. Rivkin, Jr.  Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies argued that the failure to deliver a side deal might void the Iran pact. Further they raised the prospect of   possible litigation against the President on the grounds that the he didn’t deliver the requisite information. They were especially concerned about the IAEA side agreements with Iran to prepare a Road Map on prior military developments. Aversion of which was leaked with provisions for self inspection at the military site of Parchin, Iran.  That Road Map is a condition for release of $100 billion in sequestered funds held by US and foreign financial institutions.    Switzerland has already released their sanctions and Russia and China are poised to release their holdings. The EU3 component of the P5+1 are already in discussions with Tehran over billions of trade deals preventing a possible snap back of sanctions should Iran be found cheating on a sneak out to a nuclear weapon.  A weapon that some believe it may already have and be able to possibly via a satellite launch.

The Pompeo- Rivkin Washington Post opinion was earlier supported by Jerome Marcus, Esq. in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, An Informed Vote on the Iran Deal.”  Marcus suggested  based on his experience as a young lawyer assisting former State Department counsel, Abraham Sofaer in the Reagan era,   executive agreements like JCPOA with far reaching implications should be treated as if it was a treaty.  Marcus concluded:

The lesson for today is clear: When a legislative body is deciding whether to approve an international agreement, especially one as important as the recent nuclear agreement with Iran, its members have the right to access the agreement’s negotiating record. Members of Congress should demand that record now, and they should examine it, before they cast their votes.

To bring such a suit Dr. Robert B. Sklaroff and Lee S. Bender, Esq. suggested in a FrontpageMagazine article that the Senate Majority Leader, McConnell should undertake the following steps:

Emergency Prescription for Senate:  [1]—Pass rule that abolishes the filibuster; [2]—Pass resolution declaring the Iran nuke deal to be a “treaty”; [3]—Defeat the deal; and [4]—Sue President Obama to enjoin him from implementing the deal.

The procedures for initiating the first critical step, achieving cloture cutting off the threatened filibuster, are contained in two relevant Congressional Research Service reports; Considerations for Changes in Senate Rules by Richard S. Beth, January 2013 and Filibusters and Cloture by Beth and Valerie Heitschusen, December 2014.

Sklaroff heard Dershowitz at a presentation in Cherry Hill, New Jersey on September 2nd.  He reported on Dershowitz’s remarks and response:

On September 2, Dershowitz, at the Jewish Community Center in Cherry Hill, N.J., amplified on this viewpoint, quoting Federalist 64:  “The power of making treaties is an important one, especially as it relates to war, peace, and commerce; and it should not be delegated but in such a mode, and with such precautions, as will afford the highest security that it will be exercised by men the best qualified for the purpose, and in the manner most conducive to the public good.”

When I [discussed] with him the necessity to sue Obama, he initially raised concern that this would be discarded as a “political question.” “Who would sue?” he asked rhetorically. “Senator McConnell!” said I. “Well, it’s a possibility, because he would have standing, representing the Senate.”

Has such a suit been brought by the Senate against President Obama and the Supreme Court ruled on the matter of executive overreach of lawful authorities?   There is the example of the Supreme Court   June 2014 unanimous ruling against the President for his three day recess appointment of National Labor Relations Board and Consumer Protection officials in 2012 that required approval by  the Senate.  The original matter was brought by a Washington State bottler and a decision rendered in the DC US Circuit Court of Appeals by Judge David B. Sentelle. Note the comments of the Republican Counsel for the Senate and then Senate Majority Leader Reid from a Washington Post article:

Miguel Estrada, who represented Senate Republicans in the case, called the ruling a victory for the Senate. “The Supreme Court reaffirmed the Senate’s power to prescribe its own rules, including the right to determine for itself when it is in session, and rejected the President’s completely unprecedented assertion of unilateral appointment power,” he said.

But Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) blamed Senate Republicans for denying nominees a chance to be confirmed through a vote of the full chamber. “President Obama did the right thing when he made these appointments on behalf of American workers.”

Tomorrow, September 9, 2015, Democrat Presidential front runner Hillary Clinton former Secretary of State, embroiled in a private email server controversy, will make the case for support of the President’s position.  She has previously gone on record saying:

The Europeans, the Russians, the Chinese, they’re gonna say we agreed with the Americans, I guess their president can’t make foreign policy. That’s a very bad signal to send.

Clinton will be a minor distraction from the Tea Party Patriots (TPP) Stop Iran Now Rally chaired by Jenny Beth Martin on the West Lawn of the US Capitol Building with a cast of media luminaries in the opposition camp.  The event is co-sponsored by TPP, Zionist Organization of America and the Center for Security Policy. The roster of those speaking includes TPP head Martin, Republican Presidential front runner Donald Trump, fellow Presidential hopeful Ted Cruz (R-TX), Conservative talk show Hosts Glen Beck and Mark Levin, David Bossie of Citizens United, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), Chairman of the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus, former CIA-director, Ambassador R. James Woolsey, Chairman of the FDD, Frank Gaffney of the CSP, Sarah Stern of EMET and Mort Klein of the ZoA. This will be a media spectacle.

Late this afternoon, my colleague at 1330amWEBY Mike Bates, host of “Your Turn”, and I reviewed these developments.  Listen to the WEBY audio segment here.  Bates observed that the motivation behind these political maneuverings was President Obama’s objective all along to bolster Iran’s position in the Middle East as a recognized nuclear threshold state threatening traditional support for Allies in the region, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Egypt. Bates thought the Reid filibuster play was simply a travesty of politics as usual in Washington.   In turn we both discussed the strange case of Florida US. Representative and Democratic National Committee head, Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, who has infuriated segments of her large but divided Jewish constituency.  In her public statement she said tearfully that from her “Jewish heart” the Iran pact, as defective as it is, was the correct thing to do.  We concurred that the filibuster if not upended by a Republican cloture to force an up or down vote would enable her and other Democrat colleagues up for re-election in 2016 to claim that there was never a vote. Political cover that comes at a high price of Iran receiving tens of billions now with promises of trillions in economic trade benefits. All while harboring secret development of nuclear weapons threatening the U.S. and Israel.

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EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Does Obama’s Presidential Directive Mandate Outreach to Islamists?

Waleed Sharaby, is a secretary-general of the Egyptian Revolutionary Council   State Department  1-1-27-15(1)

Waleed Sharaby, Secretary General of the Egyptian Revolutionary Council Flashes Rabia MB resistance sign. U.S. State Department Jan. 27, 2015 Source: Facebook screenshot.

Our NER colleague Dr. Richard L. Rubenstein has called Obama, “the most radical American President, ever”. That was in an interview we conducted with him in 2010 that went viral on YouTube. One of the reasons for Dr. Rubenstein’s assessment was the extent to which the President had surrounded himself with like minded senior staff and advisers who condoned outreach to the Muslim Ummah. That was evident early in his first Administration given a trip to Ankara in April 2009, followed by his address at Cairo University in June where he declared a new foreign policy accommodating the concept of Islamist Democracy.  Dr. Rubenstein’s major book on Jihad and Genocide elucidated the anti-Democratic underpinning of Qur’anic doctrine.  Especially concerning him were the Muslim Brotherhood and derivatives, Al Qaeda, Hamas and the Shia Mahdist apocalyptic doctrine espoused by the Islamic Regime in Iran.  A revolutionary Islamist regime bent on achieving nuclear hegemony and possible destruction of Israel.  He also ascribed the President’s willingness to accommodate these views because of his early introduction to Islam as the adopted son of an Indonesian oil executive in his late mother’s second marriage. Rubenstein’s prescient analysis depicted President Obama accommodating Islamist movements as a peculiar form of demopathy, using both violent and civilizational jihad.  That is reflected in his Presidential Policy and Study Directives.

Dan Greenfield  delved into the underpinnings of the Obama radical accommodation of Islamism in a Frontpage Magazine article published on June 8, 2015 entitled, “Directive 11: Obama’s Secret Islamist Plan”:

Directive 11 brought together activists and operatives at multiple agencies to come up with a “tailored” approach for regime change in each country. The goal was to “manage” the political transitions. It tossed aside American national security interests by insisting that Islamist regimes would be equally committed to fighting terrorism and cooperating with Israel. Its greatest gymnastic feat may have been arguing that the best way to achieve political stability in the region was through regime change.

What little we know about the resulting classified 18-page report is that it used euphemisms to call for aiding Islamist takeovers in parts of the Middle East. Four countries were targeted. Of those four, we only know for certain that Egypt and Yemen were on the list. But we do know for certain the outcome.

Egypt fell to the Muslim Brotherhood, which collaborated with Al Qaeda, Hamas and Iran, before being undone by a counterrevolution. Yemen is currently controlled by Iran’s Houthi terrorists and Al Qaeda.

We have witnessed what the secretive Presidential Directive 11 has achieved in public and private meetings with radical Muslim Brotherhood clerics and leaders, both during and following the Arab Spring revolt in these countries from 2010 to the present. To facilitate the objectives of Directive 11 Obama had brought onto his White House and Department staffs members of MB affiliates in the US. He also reached out to academic centers promoting the views that there were “good Islamists”. Groups like the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy  at Georgetown University, headed by Prof. John Esposito, funded in part by the State Department.  After a New York Federal Appeals court decision in 2009, the Administration lifted a visa ban inviting Oxford University Professor Tariq Ramadan, a grandson of the founder of the MB, Hassan al Banna, to participate in CSID forums and take an endowed Chair at Notre Dame University.

Egypt elected in June 2012 an Islamist government headed by former Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi that sought to impose Sharia law on the Constitution. The Morsi government stealthily backed MB jihad pogroms against the Coptic Christian minority burning churches, destroying businesses, murdering men, raping and forcing conversion on female victims.  Ironically, Morsi’s Defense Minister, Col. Gen. Abdel Fattah Al- Sisi rejected Islamism and led a coup on July 3, 2013 jailing and prosecuting hundreds of Muslim Brother leaders including Morsi.  Many of whom, including Morsi are now awaiting possible death sentences for a massive jail break that freed them in January 2011.  Al Sisi in a dramatic January 2015 speech at Al Azhar University raised the matter of reform of Qur’an doctrine before an audience composed of leading Sunni clerics at Al Azhar University in Cairo.  Despite this Egyptian counter-revolution both the US National  Security Staff and State Department  invited former Muslim Brotherhood  Morsi regime political figures and clerics to assist in developing ‘messaging’ to contend with  Al Qaeda,  its affiliates and the self-declared  Islamic  State. We wrote about those instances in NER articles and Iconoclast blogs. What follows are the latest episodes arising from Obama’s Presidential Directive 11.  One concerns the withdrawal of funding of a US backed program seeking to create an alternative Shia civil polity to Iranian proxy Hezbollah that dominates Lebanon.  The other concerns the kerfuffle surrounding meetings of Muslim Brotherhood leaders in both January 2015 at the State Department and private meetings at the CSID in Washington this June.

U.S. withdrew aid to Lebanese Shia NGO seeking to extricate them from the clutches of Hezbollah. 

Lebanon next door to Israel appears to be dominated by Iran’s proxy Hezbollah that has infiltrated the country’s military.  This is a disheartening failure in the wake of the 2005 Cedars Revolution in Lebanon prompted by the assassination of Lebanese premier Rafik Hariri. Hariri was assassinated by Syrian intelligence agents of the Assad régime.  With the plummeting Christian population in Lebanon, demise of the former Amal Shia militia, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah filled the vacuum backed with hundreds of millions of dollars of annual support from Iran. An Iran that delivered hundreds of thousands of weapons, coupled with North Korean expertise building tunnels and fortifications in Sothern Lebanon. Nasrallah’s recklessness triggered the Second Lebanon War in 2006 with the abduction and murder of two Israeli IDF reservists.

Despite Hezbollah’s control over Lebanon there had been a limited US program seeking to arouse Shia opposition to Hezbollah through the auspices of the State Department funded International Republican Institute (IRI), chaired by US. Senator John McCain, (R-AZ).  IRI, like the International Democratic Institute counterpart, seeks to advance democracy abroad.  Both Institutes are outgrowths of the successful program in the 1980s that toppled the Polish Communist regime with church and Solidarity Movement support.  Unfortunately, in the wake of the Arab Spring  both Institutes had  been involved in training  candidates for the predominately Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist dominated Egyptian parliament elected  with now  ousted  President  Mohammed Morsi  in June 2012.  They were subsequently purged when the Morsi regime was overthrown a year later in July 2013 in a coup led by now Egyptian President Al-Sisi.

The Lebanese anti-Nasrallah Hayya Bina Shia program, funded by the IRI, lost US funding that it had received since 2007. According to the Wall Street Journal, it received $640,000 between June 2013 and December 2015.  The IRI notified Hayya Bina director Lokman Slim in April 2015 that the Obama Administration was terminating its support for the program.  The letter Slim received from the IRI read, “the State Department requests that all activities intended [to] foster an independent moderate Shia voice be ceased immediately and indefinitely”.  Could it be that as Obama moves closer to Iran and its proxy Hezbollah given the looming P5+1 nuclear agreement, that it will brook no local dissent in Lebanon among the Shia?  That should not be surprising.  Obama’s Middle East policy czar, Robert Malley, during his stint at the Soros-funded International Crisis Group held discussions with Hezbollah. Despite the later being on the State Department list of designated terrorist organizations.

Egypt objects to continuing Muslim Brotherhood Washington visits with U.S. officials

The Egyptian government has been angered by continued meetings of former Muslim Brotherhood leaders with State Department funded groups and, in some instances, with White House National Security staff.   In January 2015, the State Department hosted a visiting delegation of Muslim Brotherhood leaders from the former Morsi government.  Prior to and following his ouster, the White House National Security team and the State Department met with Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood clerics and legislator who was a former terrorist.

On June 8, 2015 the Egyptian foreign ministry requested an audience with US Ambassador to Cairo R. Stephen Beecroft  to express concern and outrage at the visit of another Muslim Brotherhood delegation to Washington.    State Department Jeff Rathke  spokesperson  was peppered  with  questions by  journalists at  Daily Press Briefings on both June 9th and 10th, about the Cairo foreign ministry  meetings with Ambassador Beecroft  and private meetings in Washington  at  the (CSID).  Rathke responded to one such question saying:

Well, again, we’ve met with this group in the past. We haven’t changed our policy. We will continue to meet with groups across the political spectrum. No – but we don’t have any plans to meet with this group at this particular time.

Watch this C-Span video clip of a June 9, 2015 State Department Daily Press Briefing with Press Spokesman Jeff Rathke in an exchange with journalists:

John Rossomando in an Investigative Project on Terrorism article noted the members of the Muslim Brotherhood delegation and the involvement of the CSID:

Egypt sought the recent meeting with Ambassador Stephen Beecroft to show its displeasure with American policy toward the Brotherhood, which it labels a terrorist organization.

Delegation members include Amr Darrag, whose handling of drafting and ratifying Egypt’s December 2012 constitution led to fears the Brotherhood aimed to impose a theocracy; and Wael Haddara, a Canadian Brotherhood member who served as an adviser to deposed President Mohamed Morsi.

Referencing the earlier January meetings, the IPT article noted:

Emails obtained by Middle East Briefing, a publication of the Dubai-based Orient Advisory Group, show that since 2010, Obama administration policy sought to support the Muslim Brotherhood under Presidential Study Directive 11.

State Department and White House officials met in January with a Muslim Brotherhood delegation whose trip had been partly funded by the Brotherhood-linked group Egyptian Americans for Freedom and Justice (EAFJ). EAFJ leader Mahmoud El Sharkawy is a member of the Brotherhood’s international organization and serves as liaison between his group and Brotherhood members exiled in Turkey, Egypt’s Al-Bawaba newspaper reported in April.

Former State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki downplayed the visit and denied it was a Brotherhood delegation, saying it was a delegation of former Egyptian parliamentarians which included members of the Freedom and Justice Party. Delegation member Waleed Sharaby said in a February interview with Egypt’s Mekameleen TV that the State Department agreed with their position that Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi had not brought stability and that his removal would pave the way for a transition to democracy.

Conclusion:

President Obama, Robert Malley, and State Department Assistant Secretary for Near East Policy, former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson, have led this country dangerously astray believing there are ‘good Islamists’ like the Brotherhood, Hamas and Hezbollah, Iran’s proxies. By extension that would include the Islamic Republic of Iran on the verge of becoming a nuclear hegemon. This has jeopardized relations with valued allies in the region, Israel, the Kurds in Iraq, Sunni members of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Egyptian Al Sisi government. Is this part of a radical plan by the President to insinuate Islamic theocratic doctrine upending Judeo Christian values at the core of our Constitution?

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.