Posts

I am proud to be a ‘crazy’ woman that opposes the Iran deal by Rachel Avraham

Iranamputation86

Iran executed body parts of prisoner Photo Credit: Shabnam Assadollahi

Obama referred to the people that oppose his Iran deal as “the crazies.” However, some of the most innovative and thoughtful people throughout human history were considered crazy in their times but there was never an instance where it was good to appease terrorism like Obama does.

Politico recently reported that U.S. President Barack Obama recently called everyone who opposes the Iran deal “the crazies.” In Obama’s world view, you are either with him when it comes to appeasing the terrorist regime in Iran or you are insane. In the past, Obama has compared opponents of the deal to Iranian hard-liners, which prompted many Republicans to ask whether he would include in that category Democrats who oppose the deal such as the respectable incoming Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer.

As a duel Israeli-American citizen, I want to tell Obama that I wear the badge of being viewed as crazy by him with a badge of honor. All great and innovative people were initially viewed as crazy. When Moses approached Pharaoh and asked to free the Jewish people from slavery before G-d performed the miracle of the Ten Plagues, Pharaoh and his entire court related to Moses as a ridiculous crazy magician. When Judah Maccabee decided to liberate the Land of Israel from the Seleucid Empire, I am sure the average Joe in the ancient world viewed him as nuts for standing up against such a mighty empire with such meager forces at his disposal. When Theodore Herzl spoke about the establishment of a Jewish State in the Land of Israel, many people including numerous Jews did not think that it had a chance of actually happening. Former Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion was viewed by many to be nuts for declaring the existence of the Jewish state on lands where Jews were a minority and faced an onslaught of five invading Arab armies on the outside with meager forces at his disposal. In the end, he is viewed by historians to be one of the greatest leaders in Jewish history.

In world history, Galileo was persecuted by the Roman Catholic Church’s Inquisition for making new discoveries on his special telescope. He was viewed by them to be a heretic and a nut as his ideas opposed their theology. In the end, everyone knows who Galileo was and no one knows the names of these inquisitors. Many of the contemporaries of Leonardo Da Vinci probably considered him crazy for thinking that one day that there would be flying machines but now, airplanes are a common part of our world.

When former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain declared “peace in our times” following the deal he signed with Adolph Hitler that surrendered the Sudetenland to a horrendous fate in the hopes that by feeding the Nazi crocodile the big countries of Western Europe would be spared, Winston Churchill knew better but many people were skeptical of him and did not agree with him on this issue. Now, everyone knows Churchill was right and Chamberlain has been written down into history as a horrible world leader. Many people claim that Muslims aren’t capable of having democratic regimes that respect human rights but Mohammed Mosaddegh succeeded to create such a regime in Iran until 1953, when the American and British intelligence foolishly overthrew his regime in favor of the Shah just so they could have a better oil deal. Iran has never been a democracy since. This proves that Muslim countries can be democratic one day and Iran is not condemned to always be under the totalitarian rule of the mullahs.

Therefore, I think it is much better to be among these crazies than to go down in history as an appeaser of terrorist regimes like Obama has. This Iran deal won’t create “peace in our times.” Even if it solves the nuclear issue, which it likely won’t as the IAEA does not have the resources to inspect Iran properly and the system in place has too many loopholes, the Iranian issue is much greater than Iran’s nuclear program and this deal does not address those other critical issues. Therefore, it will only lead to more wars, more terrorism, and more grave human rights abuses but if the world had listened to Netanyahu, maybe a better deal could have been reached that would have prevented this. Now with the sanctions in the process of disappearing, that hope has vanished and only Israeli intervention can possibly stop the Iranian threat now.

The Iranian government is a regime that rapes virgins before they are executed from cranes; amputates body parts; declares homosexuals, Bahais, and the State of Israel don’t have a right to exist; and brutally represses both women and minorities. This is a regime that is behind massive terrorism in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Gaza, and other places throughout the world. This is a regime responsible for terror attacks against Israelis and Jews abroad in addition to murdering Iranian dissidents who left that are too politically active. It is a totalitarian regime in every sense of the word and it will remain a threat to world peace as any successful deal, which this one isn’t, must also end human rights abuses within Iran and ensure that Iran is no longer a threat to other countries. Any deal short of that is not worth it, especially if it involves the removal of sanctions. It is better to be among the crazies who identified evil when it is front of them and sought to stand against it even if the rest of the world seeks to follow the path of Neville Chamberlain in the hopes that the Iranian crocodile will eat them last than to appease Iranian terrorism and to have that be my legacy. And it appears that there are Iranians who agree with me.

In response to these developments, prominent Iranian Canadian human rights activist Shabnam Assadollahi had the following to state: “According to US President Barack Obama, anyone who doesn’t believe in his lies and his weak foreign policy is crazy. Obama has failed because he acts like a dictator who keeps threatening the US Congress by vetoing anything against his wishes. He lacks dignity and shows no respect to his established allies especially Canada since Canada has been leading in opposing the bad Iran deal. But Obama prefers to build friendships with those regimes that violate their own citizen’s rights, showing no respect for religious and ethnic minorities. When you have allies, you are meant to be in alliance with them, not calling them crazies.”

“The regime Obama is appeasing and shaking hands with has been holding four American citizens as hostages in jail for years,” Assadollahi stressed. Additionally, Iran recently executed six prisoners, among them Kurdish dissident Behrouz Alkhani: “They beat the family in front of the prison. The poor guy was only 30.” Despite Amnesty International and the international human rights community calling not to execute Alkhani, Iran not only executed him but refused to hand over his body to his family: “They gave the other five prisoners bodies over but they did not give his to the family and told them to go to court tomorrow. And Obama is calling us the crazies. I wonder if Obama’s daughters were in the hands of the Mullah’s regime would he still call me crazy. It seems that Obama’s cozying up with the Mullah’s regime of Iran has prompted him to ignore the fact that the true crazies are those Iranians who burn US flags in the streets of Tehran shouting ‘Death to America!’ Obama, I am proud to be called crazy by you who have appeased and empowered the inhumane, murderous, evil, terrorist Islamist regime of Iran.”

In conclusion, I want to state that I don’t know what the best way to proceed is! On the one hand, with Iran purchasing all of these new weapons, Israel cannot really afford to wait to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities as the existential threat will only grow greater the longer we wait. By the time a Republican could potentially be elected, it will be much harder to attack Iran than today and if that Republican is Donald Trump, it might not be much of an improvement for he said he would uphold the Iran deal despite its flaws. But on the other end of the coin, Obama will create major problems for Israel or anyone else who stands in the way of his deal as he views us as the “crazies” and can’t tolerate a different vision that goes against appeasement of terrorism, much less Israel acting upon that worldview. Israel will face terrible diplomatic ostracism that will also adversely affect the American Jewish community if Israel attacks Iran under Obama’s watch. The recent drama with the Palestinians at the UN will look like a joke in comparison to the actions that Obama could take against Israel for attacking Iran. Israel’s leaders have difficult decisions to make these days.

EDITORS NOTE: This op-ed column by Rachel Avraham originally appeared on the JerusalemOnline.com website. It is reprinted with the permission of the author.

The West Must Not Appease the Iranian Regime!

As part of the Nuclear deal the Iranian regime will receive over $150 billion in unfrozen funds, senior level Iranian Revolutionary Guards officials and entities who waged terror attacks, assassinating Iranians both inside and outside Iran, imprisoning, torturing, raping and executing thousands of Iranians, will no longer be listed on the EU’s and UN’s terrorism list. In addition, the arms and ballistic missiles embargoes will be lifted.

A few years ago,Iran’s foreign Minister Javad Zarif wrote in his book, “We have a fundamental problem with the West, and especially with America. This is because we are heirs to a global mission, which is tied to our raison d’être … a global mission which is tied to our very reason of being …”

Terrorist regimes use infiltration as a means to achieve their goals; the Iranian regime is no exception. Since Mahmoud Ahmadi Nejad’s first term as Iran’s president, we have experienced how this criminal regime has been long preparing to infiltrate through their lobbies in Western world and their mainstream media.

When we look at the map of the Middle East, we don’t need to be an expert in geopolitics to realize that Iran’s influence has increased over the last few years while the United States’ role has diminished. Islamic Republic of Iran has created over 48 Shiite sleeper cell groups in Iraq under the Quds Forces to take over the country’s army and to spread throughout the Middle East. Now the Islamic revolutionary model is being reproduced in Iraq, Syria and Yemen as well, by setting up those same structures. The “Army,People (Basij), Resistance” formula was never just a mere slogan, it’s an Iranian regime blueprint dating back to the birth of the Islamic Revolution. Islamic Republic of Iran’s global terror campaign, and its subversion of countries throughout and beyond the Middle East, is their ultimate goal to export their Islamic Revolution.

Each week during Friday prayers in Tehran, the regime openly and regularly utters death threats against the United States, Israel, United Kingdom, and their Western allies. Given Iran’s history, it would be wise not to take these threats slightly.

Those who are appeasing the Iran deal and advocating for it must not forget that the Iranian regime is a dictatorial regime with a constitution base on medieval Islamic Sharia law and does not represent the will of the Iranian people—but rather the radical and hidden agenda of its leaders. Iran also executes more people per capita than all other countries. According to the reports from the human rights groups, the human rights situation in Iran has worsened since Rouhani became president and Iran has increased legal restraints and persecutions of dissidents, human rights activists and journalists. The overall situation has worsened; as indicated by the surge in executions.” Citing a rise in executions from 580 in 2012, to 753 in 2014. and over 694 people have been executed by hanging in the last six months, nearly matching the toll for the whole of 2014. According to a report by Amnesty international, Executions in Iran could rise to 1,000 this year.

The West must not be fooled by Iran regime’s manipulative charm. For 36 years, the Islamic regime of Iran has relentlessly pursued a global Islamic mission which was engineered by jihadis Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran’s founding dictator. Khomeini said in his own words, “We will export our revolution to the entire world.” And, as I just explained, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards,and Quds Forces have been resolutely dedicated to that end. Iran’s IRGC commander, Mohammad Ali Ja’afari, clearly stated this goal. He said, “Our Imam did not limit the Islamic Revolution to this country … Our duty is to prepare the way for an Islamic world government.”

In 1994, US President, Bill Clinton said “This is a good deal for the United States. North Korea will freeze and then dismantle its nuclear program. International inspectors will carefully monitor North Korea to make sure it keeps its commitments.” And in 2015, US President, Barack Hussein Obama said: “It’s a good deal – a deal that meets our core objectives, including strict limitations on Iran’s program and cutting off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon.”

In 2006, North Korea detonated its first nuclear device.

In 2015, far from having any interest in challenging the Iranian regime, on the nuclear deal, Iran’s terrorist activities in the region and the human rights violations by Iran, 5+1 with president Obama’s leadership are accommodating and empowering the world’s most dangerous state in the world’s most dangerous region, which would obtain the world’s most dangerous weapons.

We are not advocating for war; we want peace and the rule of law and human rights for Iran which cannot be possible under the Islamic republic of Iran.There is only one alternative: cancel the Nuclear agreement with Iran, apply stronger sanctions on Iran regime and their officials and free Iran from this regime, so the whole world will be a safer place.

Former CIA Operations Officer: Iran has never told the truth about its nuclear program

Clare Lopez, a former CIA Operations officer and the Vice-President of Research & Analysis at Center for Security Policy. is our featured guest on today’s short promotional for the “DAY OF ACTION” in Santa Barbara, California on Sunday Aug 30, 2015.

Clare is one of America’s top experts on Iran and their march to the Atomic bomb and she has much to say about the very bad Iran nuke deal made by the Obama Administration.

Join us in STOPPING THE IRAN DEAL!

We have TWO amazing events on August 30th!

The first is a Roundtable Luncheon featuring a panel of national and local experts on the Iran Treaty, on the US and Israel and how it will affect Santa Barbara County. Tickets are $60. Sponsorships are available at different levels. A ticket to the lunch gets you a VIP seat at the rally (details below). If you are not able to attend but would like to donate (100% tax-deductible) to help offset to costs of this grassroots effort, it would be appreciated. To purchase tickets, to sponsor or to donate, go to: StopIran.eventbrite.com

After the lunch, there will be a Stop Iran NOW Rally at the Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Gardens co-hosted by Stand With Us, The Clarion Project, The United West and other local groups. The rally is FREE and we need as many people as possible to attend. Please forward to your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. It’s up to US to stop this deal! Signs and flags will be provided.

Exiled Iranian Activist Amir Fakhravar says Stop the Iran Nuke Deal

amir fakhravar small

Amir Fakhravar

Amir Fakhravar is an exiled Iranian activist, award winning writer and recipient of the Annie Taylor Award. Amir is our featured guest on today’s short promotional for the “DAY OF ACTION” in Santa Barbara, California on Sunday Aug 30, 2015.

Amir Fakhravar is the Founder and President of the Iranian Freedom Institute.

You MUST listening to his frightening story of being imprisoned in Iran!

Join us in STOPPING THE IRAN DEAL!

We have TWO amazing events on August 30th!

The first is a Roundtable Luncheon featuring a panel of national and local experts on the Iran Treaty, on the U.S. and Israel and how it will affect Santa Barbara County. Tickets are $60. Sponsorships are available at different levels. A ticket to the lunch gets you a VIP seat at the rally (details below). If you are not able to attend but would like to donate (100% tax-deductible) to help offset to costs of this grassroots effort, it would be appreciated. To purchase tickets, to sponsor or to donate, go to: StopIran.eventbrite.com

After the lunch, there will be a Stop Iran NOW Rally at the Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Gardens co-hosted by Stand With Us, The Clarion Project, The United West and other local groups. The rally is FREE and we need as many people as possible to attend. Please forward to your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. It’s up to US to stop this deal! Signs and flags will be provided.

RELATED ARTICLE: Why Obama’s Wrong: Iran Deal Would Make War More Likely

Pat Buchanan Sides with Obama against Israel

Pat Buchanan has for years been such a virulent opponent of Israel that he has frequently been accused of anti-Semitism, and this column condemning Benjamin Netanyahu for supposedly interfering in America’s internal affairs by opposing the Iran deal is not going to erase that impression. The paleocon Right hates Israel with such abiding passion that it is increasingly self-contradictory: for a small government advocate like Buchanan defending Barack Obama and tacitly supporting a deal that threatens not just Israel, but the U.S. as well, manifests a moral myopia of catastrophic immensity.

But it’s no surprise. I’ve noted before how the paleocons over at Buchanan’s American Conservative have embraced the hard Left’s invention of “Islamophobia” and even come out in favor of submitting to violent intimidation and kowtowing to the foes of the freedom of speech. If they’re the opposite end of the political spectrum from the hard Left, the ends are meeting.

And now Pat Buchanan pretends that Barack Obama, who has shown himself again and again to have the attitude and assumptions and sensibilities of a Marxist internationalist, is an old-school President like Truman or Ike who only makes deals with other nations with America’s best interests at heart. That’s some serious hatred of Israel, to make Pat Buchanan pick up the pom-poms for a far-Left statist. But lines are being redrawn all over the place these days.

“How to Seal the Iran Deal,” by Patrick J. Buchanan, The American Conservative, August 7, 2015:

In his desperation to sink the Iran nuclear deal, Bibi Netanyahu is taking a hellish gamble.

Israel depends upon the United States for $3 billion a year in military aid and diplomatic cover in forums where she is often treated like a pariah state. Israel has also been the beneficiary of almost all the U.S. vetoes in the Security Council. America is indispensable to Israel. The reverse is not true.

Yet, without telling the White House, Bibi had his U.S. ambassador arrange for him to address a joint session of Congress in March—to rip up the president’s Iran nuclear deal before it was even completed.

The day the deal was signed, using what the Washington Post calls “stark apocalyptic language,” Bibi accused John Kerry of giving the mullahs a “sure path to a nuclear weapon” and a “cash bonanza of hundreds of billions of dollars … to pursue its aggression and terror.”

Bibi has since inspired and led the campaign to get Congress to kill the deal, the altarpiece of the Obama presidency. Israel Ambassador Ron Dermer, a former Republican operative now cast in the role of “Citizen Genet,” has intensively lobbied the Hill to get Congress to pass a resolution of rejection.

If that resolution passes, as it appears it will, Obama will veto it. Then Israel, the Israeli lobby AIPAC, and all its allies and auxiliaries in the think tanks and on op-ed pages will conduct a full-court press to have Congress override the Obama veto and kill his nuclear deal.

Has Bibi, have the Israelis, considered what would happen should they succeed? Certainly, there would be rejoicing in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and Bibi would be crowned King of Capitol Hill. But they will have humiliated an American president by crushing him by two-to-one in his own legislature. Such a defeat could break the Obama presidency and force the resignation of John Kerry, who would have become a laughing stock in international forums.

The message would go out to the world. In any clash between the United States and Israel over U.S. policy in the Middle East, bet on Bibi. Bet on Israel. America is Israel’s poodle now.

With the Gulf nations having joined Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia in backing the deal, Israel is isolated in its opposition. And, two weeks ago, Kerry warned that if Congress rejects the deal, “Israel could end up being more isolated and more blamed.”

Hardly an outrageous remark. Yet, Israel’s ex-ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren fairly dripped condescension and contempt in his retort: “The threat of the secretary of state who, in the past, warned that Israel was in danger of being an apartheid state, cannot deter us from fulfilling our national duty to oppose this dangerous deal.”

But this is not Israel’s deal. It is our deal, and our decision. And Israel is massively interfering in our internal affairs to scuttle a deal the president believes is in the vital interests of the United States. When the U.S. and Israel disagree over U.S. policy in the Mideast, who decides for America? Them or us?

Why does Barack Obama take this? Why does John Kerry take this?…

RELATED ARTICLES:

Islamic State takes Libyan port city

Shocker: Biden calls Chattanooga jihadist a “jihadist”

AIPAC: Former Military Officials Oppose the Iran Deal

Many former military officials have come out in opposition to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Below are a few select quotes provided by AIPAC…

“A regime that can’t be trusted with the lives of its own people can’t be trusted with a weak nuclear deal. The deadly consequences of such an agreement will not come 10 years from now when Iran has the acknowledged ability to launch a nuclear weapon; they will come as soon as the current regime is granted legitimacy on the international stage and gains economic or political leverage over democratic nations, which will happen as soon as their coffers are filled with unfrozen assets and the oil flows unfettered.”

– Gen. (ret.) Hugh Shelton, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1997-2001), Op-Ed in the Miami Herald, August 6, 2015

“I think the top [issue] is the verification regime, which is starting to roughly resemble Swiss cheese…you can drive a truck through some of the holes. I am very concerned about that.”

– Adm. (ret.) James Stavridis, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander (2009-2013), Interview on MSNBC, July 29, 2015

“There are so many things that Iran has been gifted right now with this unbelievable deal. I mean, it’s far more than just nuclear issues. I mean, it goes into everything that Iran is going to be capable of doing. And I’m going to tell you. When they receive this $150 billion check essentially I am really concerned about what kind of behavior they are going to continue to display.”

– Lt. Gen. (ret.) Michael Flynn, former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (2012-2014), interview on Fox News, July 15, 2015

“I’m also concerned about our failure to demand an accurate accounting of the possible military dimensions of the Iranian program…It’s not just what they may have done in the past to position themselves with regard to weaponization. The Iranians have been stiffing the IAEA for years on this issue. Now, we are going to rely on the IAEA for verification of this new agreement. After seemingly having taught the Iranians that if you stiff these guys enough, the requirement to concede will go away.”

– Gen. (ret.) Michael Hayden, former Director of the National Security Agency (1999-2005) and Central  Intelligence Agency (2006-2009), Statement before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, July 14, 2015

“We guarantee Iran will have a nuclear weapon capability, and just as important, we guarantee they will have the most modern conventional weapons which could jeopardize our position in the Persian Gulf.”

 Adm. (ret.) James Lyons, former Commander U.S. Pacific Fleet (1985-1987), Times Square Rally, July 30, 2015

“This nuclear deal will fund and empower [Qassem] Suleimani to boost the Quds Force’s reign of terror and its campaign against American friends and interests in the region. For a deal that is putatively focused on just Iran’s nuclear program, this empowerment of Iran’s terrorist in chief is inexplicable.”

 Lt. Gen. (ret.) Michael Barbero, The Weekly Standard, August 2, 2015. Lt. Gen. Barbero served three combat tours in Iraq, including serving as the senior operations officer during the surge.

RELATED ARTICLE: Group of heavyweight Hollywood Jews expresses public support for Iran deal

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. (Ret.) Hugh Shelton (center), former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. (ret.) Michael Flynn (left), and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Adm. (ret.) James Stavridis (right) all of whom are among the many former U.S. military leaders that have come out against the JCPOA.

New York U.S. Senate Delegation splits on Iran Nuclear Plan

The New York Times and Medium reported a split decision in the New York Senate delegation over the mid-September vote on the Iran nuclear pact.  Senator Charles Schumer came out in opposition; Senator Gillibrand came out in favor, despite some misgivings.  Looks like President Obama might have a problem gathering votes among the remaining undecided Democrat Senators.  The Times reported:

Senator Chuck Schumer, the most influential Jewish voice in Congress, said Thursday night that he would oppose President Obama’s deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program.

“Advocates on both sides have strong cases for their point of view that cannot simply be dismissed,” Mr. Schumer, Democrat of New York, said in a lengthy statement. “This has made evaluating the agreement a difficult and deliberate endeavor, and after deep study, careful thought and considerable soul-searching, I have decided I must oppose the agreement and will vote yes on a motion of disapproval.”

Mr. Schumer had spent the last several weeks carrying a dog-eared copy of the agreement in his briefcase and meeting with Mr. Obama and officials like Wendy R. Sherman, the deal’s chief negotiator. With his decision, he paves the way for other Democrats on the fence to join Republicans in showing their disapproval.

“There are some who believe that I can force my colleagues to vote my way,” Mr. Schumer said. “While I will certainly share my view and try to persuade them that the vote to disapprove is the right one, in my experience with matters of conscience and great consequence like this, each member ultimately comes to their own conclusion.”

New York U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announced her support for the Iran pact in a Medium report:

I have decided to support this deal after closely reading the agreement, participating in multiple classified briefings, questioning Energy Secretary Moniz and other officials, consulting independent arms control experts, and talking with many constituents who both support and oppose this deal. Here is why I believe this imperfect deal is worthy of Congressional approval:

  • First, Iran made essential concessions in the deal. After the failure of the 2004 Paris Agreement, Iran was defiant; it refused to negotiate seriously, it was uncooperative with international weapons inspectors, and it vowed never to cave to pressure and dismantle its nuclear production, which increased dramatically during the Bush years. Now, Iran has signed on to a sufficiently verifiable and enforceable deal that cuts off all paths to a bomb and has its entire nuclear supply chain closely monitored for years to come. A deal like this, widely supported by independent nuclear arms control experts, was unimaginable just a few years ago.
  • Second, this deal will provide international nuclear inspectors with access that they otherwise would not have had — and never will have if we reject this agreement. We will begin robust worldwide monitoring of Iran’s nuclear supply chain — uranium production, plants that convert uranium into a centrifuge-ready gas, centrifuges, uranium stockpiles, and spent nuclear fuel that contains plutonium — and inspectors will retain the right to request access to suspicious sites forever.
  • Third, while I’m skeptical that Iran won’t try to deceive us and our partners in this agreement, we’ll be in a better position to catch those attempts due to the monitoring and verification mechanisms that this deal secures. If Iran pursues a nuclear weapon, international inspectors and intelligence operations will know faster than ever before. We will then be able to snap back all of the American and United Nations sanctions, even unilaterally, and all options — including military action — will be on the table.

[…]

There are legitimate and serious concerns about this deal. For example, I would have liked to see a period shorter than 24 days to resolve disputes over access for inspectors. The U.N. embargoes on the sales of arms and ballistic weapons to Iran should have remained in place permanently, instead of lapsing after five and eight years. Hostages remain in Iranian custody. We will have to work hard to fight Iran’s malign efforts to wreak havoc in the region. While all of these issues are important, no issue matters more than ensuring that the Iranian regime does not have a nuclear weapon at its disposal.

So while upstate New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand chose to support the President’s Iran nuclear deal downstate Senate colleague and future Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer elected to oppose President Obama announcing he would vote to reject the Iran nuclear pact.

At the Times Square Rally on July 22nd you may recall there were shouts of “where was Chuck?” Looks like he succumbed to the thousands of calls from constituents, major donors and possibly the tawdry hearing record of facts piling up in Congressional testimony about how bad the deal was hailed by the President and Secretary Kerry.

The importance of Schumer’s decision will not be lost on the White House. Let’s see if this translates into a potential no vote by many of the remaining undecided Democrats in the Senate.

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

Analysis of President Obama’s Partisan American University Speech

Yesterday, President Obama used the venue of American University’s new Center of International Service in our nation’s capital to present a 55 minute partisan speech directed at wavering Democrat Senators and Representatives in Congress. He suggested that the nuclear pact with Iran was better than the alternative, war. He chose the campus located in northwest Washington, because it was there on June 10, 1963, that President Kennedy gave a Commencement address announcing an important Cold War initiative; a joint effort with Chairman Khrushchev of the Soviet Union and Britain’s Harold Macmillan seeking a comprehensive nuclear weapons test ban treaty and unilaterally ending atmospheric testing.

This was the first substantive developments among these antagonists following the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when the world teetered on the brink of a possible nuclear exchange. In his speech, Kennedy asked the graduates to re-examine their attitudes towards peace, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War, famously remarking, “If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can make the world safe for diversity.” Kennedy unlike Obama gave a masterful and succinct presentation in less than 27 minutes to get his points across. Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu took 24 minutes to outline his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, inclusive of his response to questions from  a large U.S. and Canadian audience via webcast.

Watch President Kennedy’s 1963 American University Commencement address:

The Wall Street Journal noted the hortatory and accusatory rhetoric of the President Obama’s remarks:

Congressional rejection of this deal leaves any U.S. administration that is absolutely committed to preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon with one option: another war in the Middle East.  So let’s not mince words. The choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy or some form of war.

Following the President’s speech, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman, Bob Corker (R-TN) told reporters:

 The president is trying to turn this into a partisan issue, but there is bipartisan concern.

He went out of his way lambasting the opposing Republican majorities in Congress as the party of war mongers. He tied them to the legacy of the Bush II Wars in Iraq suggesting the outcome was the morphing of Al Qaeda in Iraq into the Islamic State or ISIL. He said the cost was thousands killed, tens of thousands injured at a price of a trillion dollars. To divided American Jews, he told them that he had improved the Jewish nation’s Qualitative Military Edge with commitment of billions in conventional military aid. He implied that support would enable Israel to overcome the Islamic Regime’s existential threats of “Death to America, Death to Israel, Death to Jews,” notwithstanding Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s holocaust denial and Antisemitism. Obama criticized Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s opposition to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for Iran’s nuclear program. He suggested that Netanyahu’s alternative of simply “squeezing” Iran’s theocratic leadership was not a better solution, and might lead to war. Netanyahu argues that the current Iran nuclear deal actually provides multiple pathways for Iran to achieve nuclear breakout leading to possible war.

In a post speech dialogue with Washington pundits, the President deepened his partisan criticism of Republican opponents to the Iran nuclear deal. Gerald Seib, who writes a dailyCapitol Column for The Wall Street Journal reported the President saying:

There is a particular mindset that was on display in the run-up to the Iraq war that continues to this day. Some of the folks that were involved in that decision either don’t remember what they said or are entirely unapologetic about the results. This mindset views the Middle East as a place where force and intimidation will deliver on the security interests that we have, and that it is not possible for us to at least test the possibility of diplomacy. Those views are prominent now in the Republican Party.

Both Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) found that criticism “galling,” as Mr. Obama “presided over the collapse of our hard-won gains in Iraq.”

Watch  the Washington Post video of President Obama’s 2015 American University speech:

While Obama’s speech was being delivered at American University there was a hearing before the Senate Banking Committee, chaired by Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) focused on sanctions relief under the terms of the Iran nuclear deal. Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman appeared saying “that I didn’t see the final documents. I saw the provisional documents, as did my experts.” Thus, suggesting that the IAEA side deals were not going to unearth prior military developments at Parchin and other known locations.

An appearance by Director General of the UN IAEA, Ukiya Amano in a separate Capitol Hill briefing Wednesday lent the distinct impression that the UN nuclear watchdog agency was not going to disclose the so-called side agreements with Iran, nor would it have the suggested “robust” verification regime that the President has touted. That gave rise to skepticism by Senate opponents, that no base line would be established for prior military developments at Parchin, an alleged center for nuclear warhead development. The Wall Street Journal reported Mr. Amano saying that IAEA inspectors had been denied access to key scientists and military officials for interviews.   Following his closed door briefing to a bi-partisan group of Senators, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Corker commented, “I would say most members left with greater concerns about the inspection regime than we came in with.”  Senator John Barroso (R-WY) concluded, “My impression listening to him was the promises the President made were not verifiable.” Democrat supporters of the Iran deal like Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) followed the White House line that “it didn’t matter as we already knew what Iran had developed.”

At yesterday’s Senate Banking, Housing and Community Affairs  hearing, a panel of experts spoke about the lifting of sanctions and if there was a better deal. The panel included former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Crimes, Juan C.  Zarate, Mark Dubowitz executive director of the Washington, DC based Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and former State Department official Nicholas Burns of Harvard’s Kennedy School. Dubowitz in his testimony suggested that the deal should be amended, eliminating the sunset provisions and the so-called snap back sanctions. As precedent for possible amendment of the JCPOA, he noted more than “250 bi-lateral and multi-lateral agreements and treaties from the Cold War Era.”

Watch this C-span video excerpt of FDD’s Dubowitz’s testimony:

Last night, the PBS News Hour host Gwen Ifill had a segment with Burns and Ray Takeyh a former Obama adviser on Iran during his first term now a Senior Fellow with the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR), Is Obama’s Iran deal rhetoric working?  Burns, who is an adviser to Secretary Kerry, said:

I think, as Americans, we ought to have the self-confidence to try diplomacy first, rather than war. I will say this, Gwen, in answer to your specific question. I think the President ought to have a big tent policy here. To say that if the deal is turned down, if Congress defeats the President and overrides his veto in December, then that leads to war, I think, is a little stark.

Takeyh commented:

Jack Kennedy’s speech was lofty, idealistic. I think, if I quote it right, he said we shouldn’t wave the finger of accusation or issue indictments.

I think the President was unyielding. He was passionate, but his tone was at times truculent. And he didn’t make a successful pitch to his critics. This is a technologically flawed agreement, and the President should have attempted to broaden the parameters of the conversation about this agreement. I think, in that sense, the president missed his mark, and I think it was unwise.

Takeyh, who is also an adviser to FFD’s Iran Project, buttressed Dubowitz’s Senate testimony saying:

The history of arms controls suggest, when there’s Congressional objections, as was the case in SALT-I and SALT-II, and the President mentioned those, there is an attempt to go back and renegotiate aspects of this. And I think that’s what the President should have done when he met the criticism, as opposed to just dismiss it.

There are aspects of this agreement that are very problematic, such as the sunset clause, where, after essentially 10 years, Iran gets to embark on an industrial-sized nuclear program. And when you have an industrial-sized nuclear program, there is no inspection modality that can detect a sneak-out to a weapon option.

The President essentially, even now, after the rejection of the deal, should there be one, has a chance to go back, renegotiate some aspect of the deal, and therefore strengthen it. And as he strengthens that deal, I think he can broaden the bipartisan support for it.

I would be very concerned if I was a supporter of this deal that this deal is based on such a narrow margin of public support on the Hill. I think the longevity of this deal is seriously questioned by its absence of bipartisan support.

When questioned by Burns about reopening negotiations, Takeyh drew attention to other issues in the Iran nuclear pact that could be rectified through amendment:

I think it will be very difficult, but not impossible, because some of these provisions are so glaringly flawed that I think other countries would welcome negotiations.

I mentioned the sunset clause. Iran’s development of IR-8 centrifuges, which essentially produce uranium 17 times faster, and that gives Iran enrichment capacity that is quite substantial — the verification on this deal is extraordinarily imperfect.

The president keeps talking about that this is the most intrusive verification system, and the only other verification system that was more intrusive resulted from the Iraq War and the armistice. That’s just not true.

South Africa, under Nelson Mandela, agreed to anytime/anywhere inspection, which, in practice, you had access to military facilities within one day. So we can go back and renegotiate four, five, six aspects of this agreement. The history of arms controls is replete with such exercises.

And I think if you do that, this agreement would be strengthened. It will be based on a bipartisan anchor; it would ensure its longevity.  It would ensure that proliferation cascade in the Middle East will not take place, and it will ensure that Iran will not sneak out to a bomb.

Watch the PBS News Hour segment with Burns and Takeyh:

Takeyh’s colleague and long term President of the CFR, Dr. Richard N. Haass in testimony on August 4th before the Senate Armed Services Committee suggested:

That any vote by Congress to approve the pact should be linked to legislation or a White House statement that makes clear what the United States would do if there were Iranian non-compliance, what would be intolerable in the way of Iran’s long-term nuclear growth, and what the US was prepared to do to counter Iranian threats to US interests and friends in the region.

With each Senate and House Hearing on the Iran nuclear pact, more is revealed about why this is a bad deal. However, as witnessed by the Congressional testimony of experts like Dubowitz of the FDD, Takeyh and Haass of the CFR, it appears that Obama and Kerry didn’t follow the experience garnered from Cold War era arms control negotiations. Congress should be the veritable “bad cop” to fend off and reign in the concession demands of the Islamic regime’s negotiators in Lausanne and Vienna. We understand that several Republican Senators and House Members are drafting resolutions for rejection of the Iran nuclear pact. Perhaps they might include recommendations for amendment of the JCPOA endeavoring to make it a better deal. However, the President has chosen a partisan path that does not welcome bi-partisan deliberation. Perhaps the option is for the resolutions to reject the pact and schedule a vote as a treaty, assuming the President may have the votes to override a veto. As we have discussed there is also possible litigation that might achieve the same end.

It is going to be a long hot summer recess for Members of Congress in their states and districts holding town hall hearings to gauge the pulse of constituents on the President’s nuclear deal with Iran.

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

Israel in the Eye of the Storm By Tom Wilson

Tom Wilson, Resident Associate Fellow at the Centre for the New Middle East, writing in The Journal for International Security Affairs, outlines the key geopolitical challenges facing Israel.

In a region convulsed by the turmoil of civil wars, revolutions, and insurgencies, Israel stands out as an island of relative stability, one that has successfully weathered the multiple storms of the Islamist winter that abruptly followed the so-called “Arab Spring.” Yet in the summer of 2014, the calm in Israel was shattered by rockets, terrorists emerging from tunnels, and amphibious attacks along the country’s shoreline. The abrupt intrusion of terrorism back into Israeli domestic life—with all of the country’s major cities within reach of missiles fired by the Hamas terrorist group—was reminiscent of the second intifada, when suicide bombers from Hamas and other extremist factions entered Israel’s busy city centers and transformed them into war zones, paralyzing daily life.

During the height of the summer 2014 Gaza War, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented that Israel could not afford to give up control of the West Bank and risk the creation of “another 20 Gazas” there.(1) That remark resonated particularly strongly with many Israelis, not least because it came just months after a failed American-led effort to push for a peace agreement with the Palestinians—one that would have obliged Israel pull out of the vast majority of the West Bank. And whereas Netanyahu’s statement about the potential horrors of Palestinian terrorism appears to have been received approvingly by many in Israel, Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace-making efforts enjoyed far less popularity. Indeed, many sections of Israeli society came to resent the Obama administration’s focus on promoting a peace agreement, as did some in Israel’s political establishment.

That they did speaks volumes about just how much Washington’s diplomats, like their counterparts in Europe, have fundamentally failed to appreciate the changes that have taken place in Israel’s calculus of risk over the preceding decade. Furthermore, they have failed to view Israel’s predicament in its full regional context.

Rather, ever since Barack Obama took office, his administration has pressed unrelentingly for reconciliation between the Israelis and Palestinians. It has done so, moreover, as if the parties in question were still operating in the relative stability of the Middle East of the 1990s. Thus, Kerry’s approach is reminiscent of the Clinton administration’s hammering out of the Oslo Accords with Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, and its subsequent full-court press for a final agreement at Camp David between Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat. But while it is true that the current Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, is a somewhat more preferable negotiating partner to Arafat, the similarities end there; the political landscape for a peace agreement today is more inhospitable than ever before.

This is so for two reasons. The first relates to the changing regional circumstances now confronting Israel. The second is tied to the fundamental transformation that has taken place in Palestinian society and politics.

Region on fire

Half-a-decade into the “Arab Spring,” Israel faces numerous Islamist militant groups on its borders, from Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria to Hamas in Gaza and al-Qaeda and Islamic State-aligned factions in the Sinai. The emergence of each of these groups has transformed Israel’s security outlook and diminished hopes for securing a durable peace. Rather than an environment ripe for a modus vivendiwith essentially pragmatic neighboring states, Israel now faces jihadist non-state actors, most of which are locked in power struggles with other militants as well as with the nation-states whose territory they now operate from.

The spread of this regional turmoil has had a mixed impact on the Israeli-Palestinian situation. To some extent, the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen have made the mostly-cold confrontation between Israel and the Palestinians appear far less pressing and far less relevant. Whereas once the words “Middle East conflict” were shorthand for referring to the dispute between Israel and its Arab neighbours, now this expression is more likely to refer to the struggle between Sunni and Shi’a extremists, backed by the Gulf States and Iran, respectively.

It is particularly significant that many of these militant groups are now operating from territories that Israeli security forces have previously withdrawn from (the Sinai, Southern Lebanon, and Gaza) or are directly adjacent to strategically important territories that Israel has previously considered giving up (e.g., the Golan Heights and the Jordan Valley). This naturally has had a considerable impact on Israel’s current willingness to make territorial concessions in return for peace agreements or international good will. From a strategic point of view, such moves have ultimately amounted to creating power vacuums that have eventually been filled by militants, so effectively moving a range of security threats ever closer to Israel’s civilian population centers and core national infrastructure.

Take Hezbollah, Iran’s most significant terrorist proxy. The Shi’ite militia represents one of the most formidable fighting forces in the Middle East, and is one of the greatest security challenges facing the Jewish state. Hezbollah and the Israeli military engaged in a deadly clash in 2006, one in which Israel’s military failed to strike a truly decisive blow against the Shi’a militants. Since then, Hezbollah is understood to have dramatically increased its military capabilities, and even with Israel’s Iron Dome and David’s Sling air defense systems operational, it is likely that Hezbollah could still inflict considerable damage in the event of a future conflict, since most of Israel’s territory is now well within Hezbollah’s reach.

The other major threat to Israel’s north has been the unfolding crisis in Syria. Stray projectiles from the fighting have impacted the Israeli-controlled parts of the Golan on numerous occasions, but it is the advance of Islamist groups close to the Syrian border that has caused the most alarm in Israel. For the moment, militants have been too absorbed with the fighting in Syria to direct their attention toward Israel. Nevertheless, the threat from chemical weapons and other capabilities falling into the hands of such groups must be taken seriously. Given that less than a decade ago, the Israeli government had contemplated a withdrawal from the Golan Heights—a territory that borders the Galilee, one of Israel’s most vital fresh water sources—these developments have done nothing to win public support for the notion of making further territorial concessions for peace. To the contrary, they have demonstrated that while Israel might hand territory into the possession of one regime, there is no guarantee that that territory will remain secure, or that the regime in question will survive long after the signing of any such peace treaty.

That, in part, has been the Israeli experience in the Sinai as well. True, Egypt’s short-lived Muslim Brotherhood government never officially revoked the peace treaty between the two countries, as many feared would happen after the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Yet in Egypt—as in Lebanon and Syria—the threat to Israel has not come from the state itself, but rather from the weakness of those states and the prevalence of terrorist non-state actors moving into the resulting ungoverned and under-governed territory. Today, groups loyal to both al-Qaeda and the Islamic State continue to operate in the Sinai Peninsula. And while Israel has now constructed a security barrier along its Egyptian border, and jihadists there are currently occupied with battling Egypt’s military, the lawless nature of the peninsula represents a major security concern, among other things because of the way in which the Sinai has served as the primary channel through which weapons and weapons-related matériel have reached the Gaza Strip.

The one border from which Israel currently faces the least significant threat is the Jordanian one. Like other monarchies in the region, the Hashemite Kingdom has so far survived the ripple effects of the “Arab Spring” uprisings—but this may not remain the case indefinitely. The growing popularity of Salafism in Jordan(2) may well come to undermine stability in Jordan, creating a scenario that would almost certainly jeopardize Israel’s security. Although it has been the case that some Jordanian Salafists have been drawn away from that country to join the fighting in Syria, it is also true that Jordan’s proximity to both Iraq and Syria places it in a particularly fragile situation. Furthermore, the significant influx of refugees into Jordan from those conflicts may well have brought other extremists into the country. The resulting concerns about Jordan’s long-term future have contributed to Israel’s insistence that the Jordan Valley must remain its most eastern border, or at the very least that the Israeli military must be allowed to maintain a presence there.

The Islamization of Palestinian politics

Ever since the establishment of Hamas (The Islamic Resistance Movement) in 1987 at the outset of the first intifada, Islamist jihadist groups have played an increasingly prominent part in Palestinian political life in general, and in particular as part of the Palestinian clash with Israel. Hamas had, of course, grown out of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was operating in the area even during the days of the British Mandate in Palestine.(3) The group’s founder, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, had led the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza since 1968, but Islamists had always played a minor role in Palestinian terrorist activities compared to the secular and Marxist guerrilla groups as represented by the PLO.

The past two decades, however, have seen a veritable explosion of Islamist politics in the Palestinian Territories. Drawing from the lessons of Hamas, Palestinian militants began to adopt the tactic of suicide bombing as a preferred method of attack. As they did, other Islamist groups (such as the smaller Palestinian Islamic Jihad) became increasingly prominent across the West Bank and Gaza Strip. And, beginning in the mid-2000s, Salafist- and al-Qaeda-aligned groups began to proliferate in Gaza. Among them were small groups, such as Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam), Jaish al-Umma (Army of the Nation), and Fatah al-Islam (Islamic Conquest), all of whom began to make their presence felt in the Gaza Strip. (4)

The Islamist politics of the Gaza Strip have been far from harmonious. These factions were always fiercely critical of Hamas’s failure to fully implement Islamic law, in particular following the group’s takeover of the Strip in 2007, and have opposed the temporary cease-fires Hamas has agreed to with Israel from time to time. But while these groups certainly attracted some disaffected Hamas operatives,(5) they did not appear to represent an immediate challenge to Hamas rule—at least for a time. More recently, however, some of these factions have sworn loyalty to the Islamic State, and clashes have broken out between them and Hamas, which has found itself in the position of needing to eliminate more extreme Islamist elements to maintain its hold on power. At the same time, Fatah has been locked in a long-running struggle to prevent a takeover by Hamas Islamists in the West Bank, where it holds sway.

The heavy involvement of Islamists in the terror attacks of the second intifada was certainly an indication that radical Islam was playing an increasingly decisive role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Nevertheless, few at that time predicted that Hamas would win a decisive victory when elections were held for the Palestinian national assembly in 2006. The group’s subsequent seizure of power in Gaza by force in 2007, and the ousting of Fatah there, further cemented the process of radicalization sweeping Palestinian society.

Indications of what was happening should already have been apparent from the results of two surveys conducted in the mid-2000s. A 2004 survey by the Jordanian Center for Strategic Studies found support for al-Qaeda to be noticeably higher among Palestinians than in neighboring Arab countries, with 70 percent describing al-Qaeda as a resistance movement as opposed to a terrorist organization.(6) Similarly, a 2005 survey by the Norwegian group Fafo found 65 percent of Palestinians questioned supported al-Qaeda attacks against the West, and in Gaza that figure rose to 79 percent.(7) European observers living in Palestinian society at the time noted this trend of popular extremism, with one European diplomat stating that Palestinian society was undergoing “an accelerated process of broad Islamization and radicalization.”(8)

While the Palestinian Authority had itself noted the presence of Salafist evangelist preachers operating in the West Bank,(9) Palestinian sympathies for violent extremism had still tended to be expressed as support for nationalistic Islamist groups such as Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. Indeed, by many estimations Hamas would have a strong chance of winning West Bank elections were they to be held again today. Although certain West Bank cities such as Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jericho have remained quite firmly under the control of Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, there are other localities where Fatah has been severely weakened.

Abbas’s approval rating had clearly plummeted by the time of the summer 2014 war in Gaza. An indication of where the sympathies of West Bank Palestinians lay came shortly before major hostilities erupted. At the time, Israel’s security forces had undertaken a military operation to rescue three Israeli teenagers kidnapped by a Hamas cell based in Hebron in the southern West Bank. During that eleven-day operation, Israeli forces arrested some 350 militants, including almost all of Hamas’s leadership in the West Bank. But while this operation received the backing of the Palestinian Authority and the cooperation of its security forces, widespread anger erupted into several nights of anti-Fatah rioting in Ramallah.

The Gaza conflict in the summer of 2014 appeared to give Hamas a significant boost with the Palestinian public, with many believing that the organization was doing far more than Fatah to lead “resistance” against Israel. Polling shortly after the war revealed that support for Hamas had doubled among West Bank Palestinians, rising from 23 percent in March to 46 percent in September.(10) There are other indications to suggest that the pro-Hamas feelings that arose during last summer’s war have not dissipated. Student elections across West Bank universities in the spring of 2015 witnessed a surge of support for Hamas and the Islamist bloc, with the two being tied at the Palestinian Polytechnic University in Hebron, while the Islamic bloc won outright at Birzeit University.(11)

What Israel is now watching for are signs of whether or not sympathies for the Islamic State and its ideology are increasing among Palestinians. Unlike in Gaza, the security presence of the Israeli military throughout the West Bank will go some way to ensuring that IS militants are unable to establish fully operational cells in the West Bank. Nevertheless, there have been early indications of pockets of support for IS among West Bank Palestinians. Israel’s intelligence services have already warned of a process of militants defecting from existing terror groups, primarily Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and swearing allegiance to IS.

This process may have been underway for some time now. At the time of Hamas’ kidnapping of the three Israeli teenagers in June 2014, a previously unknown group claiming to be aligned with IS attempted to take responsibility for that action. And during the Gaza war that followed, the Islamic State’s media wing, al-Battar, released a series of images depicting the Dome of the Rock and threatening Israel’s Jews that the Islamic State was coming for them, and in August images appeared online showing an individual displaying the group’s flag on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

In Gaza, the process of extremists shifting their allegiances to the Islamic State is far more advanced than in the West Bank. This is partly because in recent years violent Salafist groups have already been able to establish a foothold in Gaza, with some groups such as Suyuf al-Haq (Swords of Righteousness) launching IS-styled attacks against institutions and individuals accused of spreading Western influence. It had also become increasingly apparent that the military wing of The Popular Resistance Committees (Al-Nasser Salah al-Deen Brigades), the third-largest military group in Gaza, was displaying signs of radicalization, placing it further to the extreme than either Hamas or Islamic Jihad. It is out of this milieu that support for the Islamic State appears to have arisen.

Early indications of the growing support for IS in Gaza began to emerge in the fall of 2014. At that time, a group calling itself “ISIS-Gaza Province” began to establish an online presence, with a video appearing on YouTube showing a group of armed militants claiming to be the Islamic State in Gaza, complete with IS flag. Indeed, by late 2014 ISIS flags had become an increasingly common sight in Gaza, with eyewitnesses reporting their appearance everywhere from football stadiums to car windshields to wedding invitations. On November 3rd, the Shura council of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis in the Sinai, as well as the group’s leader, Abu Khattab, formally pledged loyalty to the Islamic State. This was a telling indication that not only individuals but also entire Salafist factions are defecting to IS—a trend that Israel will need to grapple with in the not-so-distant future.

Mind the gap

As the surrounding Middle East increasingly descends into turmoil, Israel for the most part has managed to maintain relative calm and stability over the territory under its control. This stability is not a naturally occurring state of affairs, but rather the result of the extensive efforts of Israel’s security forces to keep a multitude of surrounding threats at bay. Almost all of these threats stem in one way or another from violent Islamism, which refuses to be appeased by any number of Israeli concessions.

International policymakers, however, do not appear to have adjusted to this new reality. The failing has been particularly noticeable in the policies of the Obama administration, whose representatives still seem to regard the Israeli-Palestinian dispute as one of the most pressing and problematic concerns in the region. In the early 2000s, at the height of the second intifada and prior to the second Gulf War, this may indeed have been true. Today, it is not. Yet American and European leaders continue to push for drastic changes in the current status quo, even at a time when much of the rest of the region is already in a state of extreme and unpredictable flux.

They are bound to be disappointed. Israel will naturally be reluctant to make any significant concessions while the surrounding region remains so unpredictable. It knows that the security and stability it enjoys has been hard fought and remains fragile. Under the present circumstances, a dramatic change in the existing status quo could begin a chain of events that would plunge Israel into one of the deepest security crises of its history, making it once again one of the region’s major flashpoints.

It is a reality that Israeli policymakers—and the Israeli public at large—understand well, even if officials in the West do not.

Tom Wilson is a Middle East analyst and a Resident Associate Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society in London.


1.   “Netanyahu: Gaza Conflict Proves Israel Can’t Relinquish Control of West Bank,” Times of Israel, July 11, 2014, http://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-gaza-conflict-proves-israel-cant-….

2.   See, for example, David Schenker, “Salafi Jihadists on the Rise in Jordan,” Washington Institute for Near East Policy, PolicyWatch no. 2248, May 5, 2014, http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/salafi-jihadists….

3.   Jonathan Schanzer, Hamas vs. Fatah: The Struggle for Palestine (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), 24.

4.   Jonathan Schanzer and Mark Dubowitz, Palestinian Pulse: What Policymakers Can Learn from Palestinian Social Media (Washington, DC: Foundation for Defense of Democracies, 2010), http://www.defenddemocracy.org/content/uploads/documents/Palestinian_Pul….

5.   Yoram Cohen and Matthew Levitt, with Becca Wasser, “Deterred but Determined: Salafi-Jihadi Groups in the Palestinian Arena,” Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Policy Focus no. 99, January 2010, http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/uploads/Documents/pubs/PolicyFocus%20….

6.   “Revisiting the Arab Street: Research from Within,” Center for Strategic Studies, University of Jordan, February 2005, http://www.mafhoum.com/press7/revisit-exec.pdf.

7.   Gro Hasselknippe, “Palestinian Opinions on Peace and Conflict, Internal Affairs and Parliament Elections 2006,” Fafo Paper 2006:09, 2006, http://almashriq.hiof.no/general/300/320/327/fafo/reports/797.pdf

8.   As cited in Cohen and Levitt, “Deterred but Determined.”

9.   Ibid.

10.   “We’re Back; Hamas in the West Bank,” The Economist, September 3, 2014, http://www.economist.com/blogs/pomegranate/2014/09/hamas-west-bank.

11.   Adnan Abu Amer, “Hamas Sweeps Student Council Elections in the West Bank,” Al-
Monitor
, April 28, 2015, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/04/hamas-victory-student-….

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in Journal for International Security Affairs.

Obama Takes the Presidency to a New Low

Recently, President Obama approved what is possibly the worst international deal in United States history.  That agreement gives Iran an unchallenged pathway to produce nuclear weapons.  For years, the islamic regime has blocked United Nations inspectors from conducting impromptu inspections.  Of course, the whole planet is well aware of the tremendous level of state sponsored terrorism the Iranian nation has thrown it’s financial muscle behind.

Yet the president, who was elected to govern on behalf of “We the People” has in fact, bumbled on behalf of every enemy this nation has in the world.   For example, while both China and Russia are embarking enormous military buildups, the Obama administration is overseeing the largest military build-down in U.S. history.  Considering the political conditions around the world at the moment, these are not the times for the faint of heart or a weak military.  In fact, our national security and sovereignty are both at stake.

Whether it is the porous borders, where illegal immigrants are strolling in like they own the place or are committing legions of crimes against Americans and their property, it is occurring with the approval of President Obama, his fellow democrats and rino republicans.  President Obama is also bringing in over sixty thousand American, Christian, Black people and Jewish hating muslims, while refusing to allow Christian refugees from the middle east entry into the United States.  To add insult to injury, the rogue federal is not even allowing local officials, or the sovereign citizens of any town they move the islamic refugees to where they are being housed.

With all of the major problems facing our nation and other countries around the world, it is mind boggling how president Obama is so fixated on forcing African nations to adopt and legalize unnatural sexual practices.

It was refreshing to read in CNS NEWS about how Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta told U.S. President Obama to back off of his mission to promote homosexuality and lesbianism in his country.  He plainly stated that “Kenyans had more pressing concerns to deal with including health, education, and insuring inclusivity of women,” He added “maybe once, like you have overcome some of these challenges, we can begin to look at new ones.”  “But as for now, the fact remains that this [homosexuality] issue is not really an issue that is on the foremost mind of Kenyans, and that is the fact.”

I find it rather insane and pathetic, that Obama is more fixated on forcing African nations into spreading a lifestyle that according to the Centers for Disease Control is more dangerous than cigarette smoking.  He prefers promoting unnatural lifestyles than help them to adopt free market principles, improved farming techniques, and a closer walk with the one who blessed America.

What the White House Occupier does not seem to recognize, (or most likely ignores) is that promoting unnatural lifestyles does not lead to the path of personal improvement, national economic growth, better medical care, victory over the threatening islamic nations, tribes and groups who have vowed to destroy all who won’t bow to allah, etc.

Speaking of equality Obama style.  He has without fail, sought to destroy America through his putrid philosophy of unnatural lifestyles, big government healthcare, and redistribution of wealth from the productive to the idle, muslim resettlements in America and much more.  Oh and I cannot forget his mentally destructive droning on about he and all blacks in America are victims of racism.

I marvel at how with a straight face, Obama cab travel to (some believe his native homeland) and as president of what was the greatest nation in the history of humankind complain of being treated differently because of his race.  I have to ask, to which race is he referring,? Because he is both, black and white, and president for goodness sakes.

President Obama has been a textbook case on how not to govern, parent, or lead in any capacity.  Obama has consistently governed from behind or in other ways to negatively impact our republic, such as only forcing polices upon society that result in negative outcomes.  Thus our republic turned mob-ruled democracy is more vulnerable economically, morally, ethically, spiritually, militarily, educationally, etc. than at any time throughout our nation’s history.

I find it ironic how Mr. Obama and the first lady like to describe /America as a racist nation, but yet they and many like them are openly bigoted and discriminatory against everything that is good about the United States and even God who shed his grace upon her.

For you who are so inclined, it is 2 Chronicles 7:14 time.

30 SECONDS: Huckabee — The Holocaust — The Iran Deal

Join us on 30 SECONDS. In this episide of 30 SECONDS I provide an interesting insight into former Governor Mike Huckabee’s “ovens” controversy.

CNN/ORC Poll: Majority Urge Congress to Reject Iran Nuke Deal

graphic gun control iran nukesA CNN/ORC poll released today sent an important message to President Obama and Secretary Kerry: the majority of the respondents said Congress should reject the Iran nuclear pact, The poll found:

On the President’s biggest accomplishment since then — the nuclear agreement reached between the U.S., its allies and Iran — most say they would like to see Congress reject it. Overall, 52% say Congress should reject the deal, 44% say it should be approved.

READ THE POLL RESULTS

Some opposition to the deal may be fueled by skepticism. A CNN/ORC poll in late June, conducted as the deal was being worked out, found that nearly two-thirds of adults thought it was unlikely the negotiations would result in an agreement that would prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

The new poll finds a sharp partisan gap on whether Congress should approve the deal, with 66% of Republicans and 55% of independents saying Congress ought to reject it and 61% of Democrats saying it should be approved. Younger adults, who tend to lean more Democratic, are more apt to favor the deal: 53% of those age 18-34 say approve it, while 56% of those age 35 or older say reject it. There is also an education divide on the deal, with 53% of college graduates saying the deal should be approved, while just 37% of those with a high school degree or less formal education saying they think it should be approved.

Looks like Kerry and Obama have failed to make the case for Congress to approve the Iran nuke deal. This CNN/ORC poll represents a big swing from April when the framework for the JCPOA was announced. If this trend continues with the INARA hearings resuming after the August recess those 13 Democrat swing votes in Senate and 30+ in the House will be in a quandary. That would make it difficult for New York Senator Chuck Schumer ,the incoming Senate minority leader, to deliver votes to support Obama on this issue. This poll result throws in doubt the LA Jewish Journal poll of American Jews released last Thursday.

This should bolster Israeli PM Netanyahu, the vast majority of Israelis and the GOP majorities in Congress that the JCPOC is a “very bad deal”. The message is if you can’t verify then you can’t trust.

RELATED ARTICLE: Obama Knows Iran will Use its Nukes on Israel

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of President Obama in Ethiopia. Source: ABC.com.

Obama’s Iran Nuke Deal: It’s Déjà vu All Over Again

Democratic Party leader Barack Obama is doing in 2015 with the Iran Nuclear Deal what another Democrat Party leader did with a nuclear deal with North Korea in 1994. That Democrat is Bill Clinton, whose wife Hillary is running for the White House in 2016.

Perhaps it is time to read excerpts from what President Clinton said on October 18th, 1994:

Good afternoon. I am pleased that the United States and North Korea yesterday reached agreement on the text of a framework document on North Korea‘s nuclear program. This agreement will help to achieve a longstanding and vital American objective: an end to the threat of nuclear proliferation on the Korean Peninsula.

This agreement is good for the United States, good for our allies, and good for the safety of the entire world. It reduces the danger of the threat of nuclear spreading in the region. It’s a crucial step toward drawing North Korea into the global community.

[ … ]

Today, after 16 months of intense and difficult negotiations with North Korea, we have completed an agreement that will make the United States, the Korean Peninsula, and the world safer. Under the agreement, North Korea has agreed to freeze its existing nuclear program and to accept international inspection of all existing facilities.

This agreement represents the first step on the road to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. It does not rely on trust. Compliance will be certified by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The United States and North Korea have also agreed to ease trade restrictions and to move toward establishing liaison offices in each other’s capitals. These offices will ease North Korea‘s isolation.

[ … ]

Throughout this administration, the fight against the spread of nuclear weapons has been among our most important international priorities, and we’ve made great progress toward removing nuclear weapons from Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and from Belarus. Nuclear weapons in Russia are no longer targeted on our citizens. Today all Americans should know that as a result of this achievement on Korea, our Nation will be safer and the future of our people more secure…

Read the full text of President Clinton’s announcement of a nuclear deal with North Korea click here.

Sound familiar? Here are the comments by President Obama on the Iran nuclear deal:

History shows us what happened with the North Korean nuclear arms deal. Today North Korea is exporting its nuclear and missile technology to other nations, such as Iran, with impunity.

As Yogi Berra once said this is Déjà vu All Over Again.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Meet 7 Dangerous Iranians Who Will No Longer Be Sanctioned

Iran Vows to Buy Weapons Anytime, Anywhere

Ted Cruz: Because of Iran Deal, Jihadists ‘Will Use Our Money to Murder Americans’

Investigative Project on Terrorism: Muslim Brotherhood Infiltrates Obama Administration

Ex-U.S. Embassy Hostage and Friend of Gov. Scott Walker Influenced Rejection of Obama’s Iran Nuclear Pact

Yesterday, on The Lisa Benson Show, I gave as an example of hope about defeating the Obama Iran nuclear executive order, the Sunday talk show comment by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who threw his hat in the ring last Monday when he declared for the Republican nomination race for President. Asked on Walker: I’d toss Iran deal on Day 1 Sunday talk show about his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, today up for a vote at the UN Security Council, said he would toss it on his first day in office, if elected President. Further, he said,

“It’s a bad deal for us, it’s a bad deal for Israel, it’s a bad deal for the world,“It’s not just the starting gun, it will accelerate the nuclear arms race,” he added. “And it is empowering Iran to do what they’re going to do.”

Last Monday during his announcement he referenced Kevin Hermening in the audience. Hermening was one of the 52 U.S. Hostages taken at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 during the Islamic Revolution. Hermening, a Marine guard at the time of the Embassy takeover, spent 43 days in solitary confinement. Hermening now 56 years old had befriended Walker back in the 1990s. It is through that relationship Governor Walker became well acquainted with the brutality and untrustworthiness of the Islamic regime. That relationship with Hermening enabled him to to size up the Iran nuclear deal , touted by President Obama and Democratic allies, was bad for the U.S., Israel and other allies in the Middle East. The Embassy hostages had pressed claims for compensation in federal court despite the opposition from our State Department and won. However those claims have never been honored by Tehran.

The least the Obama Administration could do is retain a portion of sanctioned funds in U.S. possession to pay the claims of the 1979 Embassy Hostages like Hermening, Gov. Walker’s friend.

image
Walker: I’d toss Iran deal on Day 1

“It will accelerate the nuclear arms race,” he said.

Preview by Yahoo

The AP reported on Governor Walker’s long relationship with Kevin Herminger,  Walker’s Iran view shaped by friendship with ex-US hostage

image
Walker’s Iran view shaped by friendship with ex-US hosta…

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has a reason for aggressively opposing the nuclear deal with Iran — and it’s personal.
Preview by Yahoo

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has a reason for aggressively opposing the nuclear deal with Iran — and it’s personal.

Neither his foreign policy adviser nor a member of his inner circle has shaped the Republican presidential candidate’s position. Walker’s deep distrust for Iran instead comes from his long friendship with one of the Americans held hostage for 444 days more than three decades ago.

Kevin Hermening was a 20-year-old Marine sergeant stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 when militant Iran students overran the building and captured him and 51 others. Thirty-five years after his release, Hermening has become the face of Walker’s foreign policy, as the two-term governor works to build credibility on a high-stakes issue heading into the 2016 presidential contest.

[…]

As foreign policy emerges as a leading issue in the 2016 election, Walker plans to keep featuring Hermening in the campaign — a role Hermening gladly accepts.

“I don’t think the governor needed to be in the cell with me in order to understand that that’s not how you treat people, and that you shouldn’t reward people with that behavior,” Hermening said, as he described opposition to the nuclear deal with Iran in an interview with The Associated Press.

He said months of coverage of negotiations between the U.S. and Iran have stirred up emotions for him and his fellow captives, and he criticized the deal as too soft on Iran and lacking much-needed reimbursement for the 52 hostages and their families.

Politics brought Walker and Hermening together a quarter century ago.

It was either 1990 or 1991 —Hermening can’t remember which year — when a fresh-out-of-college Walker helped his unsuccessful campaign for a seat in Wisconsin’s state assembly. Their roles soon reversed. As Walker began his political ascent, Hermening stayed involved in local party politics while running a financial planning firm.

Though he calls the governor a friend, the pair only see each other once a year — if that — at party functions.

Those 444 days Hermening was held captive are still deeply personal to the 56-year-old from Wausau, Wisconsin. He’s upbeat now about even the worst parts of the experience. Even the 43 days he spent in solitary confinement “paled in comparison” to the experiences of some of the other hostages, still wrestling with their memories of their time in captivity, he said. At least one took his own life.

Before Walker’s national rise, Hermening most often shared his tale of captivity with church groups and high school history classes.

His audience may grow dramatically. Walker’s staff is still working out the details of Hermening’s involvement in the campaign, including whether he’ll be paid. But he is expected to be regularly featured.

Regardless of his role, Hermening’s story has clearly impressed Walker.

Conclusion

It is from such personal relationships that Gov. Walker has became  aware of how dangerous the Iran nuclear deal is America, Israel and the world. That likley influenced his recognition of combating the threat of radical Islamic extremism as an important policy issue  in the 2016 Election race, should he get the nod to become his party’s standard bearer. That threat was all too real to Governor Walker and all Americans by the dastardly Islamic terror attack that took the lives of five valiant Marines and a Navy petty officer at a Chattanooga Naval/Marine Recruiting Center by a 24 year old ISIS-inspired Naturalized Palestinian American citizen, gunned down by a Police SWAT team.

image
Walker’s Iran view shaped by friendship with ex-US hosta…ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has a reason for aggressively opposing the nuclear deal with Iran — and it’s personal.
Preview by Yahoo

VIDEO: An Israeli Analysis of the Iran Nuke Deal

We are joined by the editor in chief of Israeli Homeland Security, Arie Egozi and Jerusalem Post journalist, Dr. Martin Sherman.

We discuss the implications of the Iranian nuclear deal in regard to Israel, and they are not good. How Iran’s financial windfall will allow Hezbollah to get more and better weaponry to attack Israel from the north, to funding HAMAS terrorism in south.

Why would America put its’ only true ally in the Middle-East in such danger? Why would America negotiate a deal perceived as weak by many in the left-wing media? Are John Kerry & Barry from Hawaii TRAITORS to the country they are charged with defending?

Join us for the analysis and opinions of two Israeli military and political insiders!