Monday, September 30, 2013

Evening Update: 'Netanyahu Holds His Tongue', But...

We're early in this process of PM Netanyahu's trip to the U.S. and tomorrow he will give his speech to the UN which should be very interesting. Today was an important day as he met with Obama and two articles have just become available with analysis on this meeting:

Netanyahu Holds His Tongue

The prime minister “is always candid,” Obama vouchsafed just a little wryly at the tail end of his remarks. And one can imagine that Netanyahu was candid indeed behind closed doors, marshaling compelling argument, and evidence, to underpin his public contention that Iran “is committed to Israel’s destruction.”

But ultimately, Netanyahu knew all along that he and Obama would have to agree to disagree, that the president would not be deterred from putting the diplomatic route to the “test,” and that attempting a repeat of his May 2011 Oval Office lecture style (when he told Obama bitterly that Israel’s pre-1967 lines are indefensible) could only be counter-productive. He is certain there is no diplomatic route, only a blind ally, but he held his tongue.
And so Obama — much more familiar with Netanyahu’s thinking, and with Israel’s nuances, after his visit in March — could afford to be magnanimous.
Thus the president stressed that a nuclear Iran would threaten US and Israeli security, and that America’s commitment to Israel’s security “is stronger than ever.” He promised that economic pressure on Iran would not be lifted lightly, assuring his visitor airily that “anything that we do will require the highest standards of verification in order for us to provide the sort of sanctions relief that I think they are looking for.” And importantly for Netanyahu, he declared that “we take no options off the table, including military options, in terms of making sure that we do not have nuclear weapons in Iran” — a threat he had chosen not to issue in the specific Iranian context during his address to the United Nations General Assembly last Tuesday.
There are those might see in Obama’s restating of the military option, and his apparent tough line on sanctions, a victory of sorts for Netanyahu. But in truth, anything less would have been a stinging public rejection of Israel’s assessments and orientation.
Netanyahu has no time for Hasan Rouhani’s we’re-no-threat-to-anyone platitudes. He is certain that Tehran is fooling the international community, and that the regime is duplicitously seeking to attain and retain nuclear break out status — with the means and the material to make a dash for the bomb when it so chooses. That must not be allowed to happen, and so for Netanyahu, as he put it on Monday, “the bottom line, again, is that Iran fully dismantles its military nuclear program.”
Yet for Obama, now at least, there is a modicum of doubt, and a readiness to consider that Iran might just be changing for real. Or a readiness, at least, to play out the diplomatic track.
In what he considers the certain event that Iran proves obdurate and unforthcoming, Netanyahu would like the US to intervene militarily, or failing that to back Israel in doing so.
But the Israeli option has plainly receded for the time being, since the prime minister can hardly contemplate military action so long as the president is engaging with Iran and giving talks a chance. If, as Netanyahu has always contended, the Iranians are buying time, he has little choice but to hold his fire and wait things out. In eschewing the bitter public lecture style on Monday, Netanyahu seemed to be acknowledging as much.

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s get-together at the White House Monday, Sept. 30 turned into an amicable joust over their differences on how to handle Iran’s nuclear program without bridging them.  As a friendly gesture to Israel, Obama said that no options, including the military one, were off the table for preventing Iran attaining a nuclear weapon, on which he and Netanyahu were agreed. He also agreed that Iran must prove its sincerity in actions, not just words.
But they were nowhere near the “same page” as US officials have claimed.
The prime minister insisted that Iran must dismantle its military nuclear program altogether and halt the production of enriched uranium. And if Tehran continued to develop its program while conducting negotiations, sanctions must be tightened. Obama did not endorse those demands.
Whereas Israel is convinced that if Iran is not stopped right now, it will reach the breakout capacity to assembly a nuclear bomb whenever it chooses, the US president would be satisfied with an Iranian pledge to refrain from weaponizing its nuclear assets. Netanyahu noted Israel’s situation was different in that it lived under a threat of annihilation by Iran.

The wily supreme leader Ali Khamenei in fact sees his chance of turning the situation around to the Islamic Republic’s advantage. He grasps that the American and Russian leaders are in a hurry to reap the results of the Obama administration’s decision to forswear a military option for bringing Tehran round. Their headlong quest for quick results gives Tehran the leverage for extracting previously withheld concessions on its nuclear program, such as extreme flexibility on its enriched uranium production and stocks.
Netanyahu may hear Obama promising to stand by his demand that Iran stop enriching uranium and export the bulk of its stocks, or surrender it for destruction like Syria’s chemical weapons. But he will also discover that Obama and Putin are running ahead together at breakneck speed after dropping Israel by the wayside. 
And the negotiations with Iran behind the scenes - and continuing in Geneva on Oct. 15 with the five Security Council powers and Germany - are more than likely to produce a compromise unacceptable to Israel.

Iran and Russia will have to make some concessions for a deal. But so too will the United States, and the uranium enrichment issue will loom large in the way of an agreement unless Washington gives way on that point. Obama has already covered much of this ground in secret contacts with Tehran.
The tempo of the negotiations, dictated by Obama and Putin, will make it easy to blur facts and the present minor concessions as major achievements.

Meeting to talk about, in President Obama’s words, “these hectic times” before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the United Nations tomorrow, the PM reminded POTUS that Iran “is committed to Israel’s destruction.”
Netanyahu noted to Obama “there are many things on your plate, but I know that you know and the American people know that there is no better ally — more reliable, more stable, more democratic — other than Israel in a very raw, dangerous place.”
“For Israel, the ultimate test of a future agreement with Iran is whether or not Iran dismantles its military nuclear program.  We have a saying in Hebrew, we call it mivchan hatotza’a — you would say it in English, what’s the bottom line? And the bottom line, again, is that Iran fully dismantles its military nuclear program,” the prime minister continued.
“…It is Israel’s firm belief that if Iran continues to advance its nuclear program during negotiations, the sanctions should be strengthened.  It’s the combination, I believe, that has guided your policy and our policy so far, that is good credible military threat and strong sanctions I think is still the only formula that can get a peaceful resolution of this problem.”
“We know that for peace to endure, it must be based on Israel’s capacity to defend itself, by itself,” Netanyahu added.
Before departing Jerusalem, Netanyahu vowed to “speak the truth” before the UN General Assembly.
“I will present our rights as a nation, our determination to defend ourselves and our hopes for peace. I will speak the truth. Facts must be stated in the face of the sweet talk and the blitz of smiles,” he said. “I intend to focus on the issue of stopping Iran’s nuclear program. The way to stop Iran’s nuclear program requires four steps: 1) Halting all uranium enrichment: 2) Removing all enriched uranium; 3) Closing Qom; and 4) Stopping the plutonium track.”

In The News: 'The Nations' vs. Israel

As we would predict, Israel has become progressively more isolated as Netanyahu tells the truth regarding Iran and their nuclear ambitions, while 'the nations' play the pretend game and act as if Iran really won't develop nuclear weapons. It has to be obvious to the nations that Iran is simply delaying while they continue along the path to nuclear weapons. The only casualty will be Israel so who cares?

Although a face to face between prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama is obviously worthwhile for both countries, the prime minister need not expect to deflect the president from his pursuit of a nuclear deal with Tehran when they meet Monday, Sept. 30. At best, he will come away with soothing assurances that any new intelligence he presents will be seriously looked into. But he can’t hope for real substance for two reasons:

1. Obama can no longer turn away from the path he has set himself, because he is driven by the ambition to prove that international problems can be solved without military force and solely by good will, negotiations and diplomacy.

2.  After convincing Russian President Vladimir Putin that he means what he says and is not planning to repeat his “mistaken” US military involvement in the 2011 Libyan civil war, Obama removed a major obstacle in the way of a US-Russian deal on Syria’s chemical weapons.

The wily supreme leader Ali Khamenei in fact sees his chance of turning the situation around to the Islamic Republic’s advantage. He grasps that the American and Russian leaders are in a hurry to reap the results of the Obama administration’s decision to forswear a military option for bringing Tehran round. Their headlong quest for quick results gives Tehran the leverage for extracting previously withheld concessions on its nuclear program, such as extreme flexibility on its enriched uranium production and stocks.

Netanyahu may hear Obama promising to stand by his demand that Iran stop enriching uranium and export the bulk of its stocks, or surrender it for destruction like Syria’s chemical weapons. But he will also discover that Obama and Putin are running ahead together at breakneck speed after dropping Israel by the wayside. 

And the negotiations with Iran behind the scenes - and continuing in Geneva on Oct. 15 with the five Security Council powers and Germany - are more than likely to produce a compromise unacceptable to Israel.

The tempo of the negotiations, dictated by Obama and Putin, will make it easy to blur facts and the present minor concessions as major achievements.
Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are already smoothing the way for the understandings to come with messages that fit neatly into world media headlines. 

Sunday, Kerry echoed President Rouhani’s of a nuclear accord achievable in months. At the same time, mindful of the Obama-Netanyahu meeting Monday, the US Secretary said in a TV interview, “A bad deal is worse than no deal,” while US Ambassador Dan Shapiro assured Israelis in a radio interview Monday morning “The US and Israel share the same goals – preventing a nuclear-armed Iran.”
Meanwhile, last month’s buzz phrase for the Syrian accord, which called for “a credible military option” to underpin the understanding, has been quietly mothballed in both the Syrian and Iranian WMD context. 

Now comes that rarest of things at the UN General Assembly — a moment of truth. The GA General Debate — the parade of speakers across the main stage — takes a break on Sunday, then resumes on Monday and finishes up with a final morning session on Tuesday. That last round is when Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to speak. Israel was represented at UN meetings last week by its strategic affairs minister, Yuval Steinitz. But for the finale, Netanyahu is flying in, going first to a meeting in Washington with President Obama, then addressing the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.

For too many of the speakers who climb the UN stage to address the General Assembly, and the world, the main effort is to weave a web of diplomatic fictions. By lonely contrast, Netanyahu’s urgent effort, year after year, has been to sound the alarm about the realities of Iran’s advancing nuclear program, and the dangers it poses not only to Israel, or the Middle East, but to the world. With the clock ticking and the duplicitous deals cooking, never has this message been more urgent. Advance reports, as well as basic sanity, suggest he will make the case again. At the UN, that will go over far less well, to say the least, than the razzle-dazzle of last week’s Iranian “charm” offensive — a buffet of falsehoods more palatable to politicians than the crude realities of the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism buying more time for making nuclear weapons. But for a moment of vital and urgent truth, delivered from the main stage of the UN, tune in Tuesday to the  finale.

Rouhani claimed at a news conference last week during his New York City charm offensive, in response to a question whether his diplomatic blitz was intended to just buy the Iranians more time, that, “We have never chosen deceit as a path. We have never chosen secrecy.” This revisionist spin directly contradicts Rouhani’s speech to the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council in the fall of 2004.  Iran’s nuclear program, Rouhani said back then, “never was supposed to be in the open. But in any case, the spies exposed it. We wanted to keep it secret for a while.”

Iran’s secrecy about its nuclear program included its years of hiding the construction of an underground nuclear enrichment facility, a cluster of 3,000 connected centrifuges, until its hand was forced in 2009 by Western intelligence’s discovery of the site. And Iran’s secrecy continues, including regarding its Arak heavy-water production plant for weapons-grade plutonium as an alternative means of building a nuclear bomb.

Rouhani used his speech to the UN General Assembly on September 24th to try and set a moderate tone.  Indeed, he used the words “moderate” and “moderation” throughout his speech. He even called for a new UN project entitled “the World Against Violence and Extremism.”

...aside from Iran’s potential nuclear threat, it is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism with its tentacles spread around the world directly or through proxies such as Hezbollah. It is providing funding, weapons, training, and sanctuary to numerous terrorist groups in the Middle East and beyond.  The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is a principal arm that the Iranian regime uses to support terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Hamas, as well as to intervene in Syria on behalf of Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
The Iranian clerical rulers’ entire theocratic ideology is built around Shiite fundamentalist extremism and violence. They believe that chaos is necessary to bring about the early return of the 12th Imam, the latest in the succession of imams believed by some Islamic Shiite fundamentalists to be the direct descendants of Prophet Muhammad and the carriers of his message on earth.

According to such believers, the 12th Imam will return just before the end of the world, preceded by several years of horrendous world chaos. Before there can be peace and justice under sharia law, there must first be war and chaos. The Imam will force people to convert to Islam or be beheaded, ruling over the Arabs and world for 7 years before finally bringing harmony and total peace under one world religion, Islam.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei has reportedly issued a fatwah demanding that he be obeyed as the earthly “deputy” of both the Prophet Muhammad and the 12th Imam. In July 2010, this supreme leader is said to have claimed that he actually met with the 12th Imam.

Khamenei wants to see Israel, the “Little Satan” which he hates, destroyed as part of the process to prepare for the 12th Imam’s arrival.  Last year he declared that “From now on, in any place, if any nation or any group confronts the Zionist regime, we will endorse and we will help. We have no fear expressing this. The Zionist regime is a real cancerous tumor that should be cut and will be cut, God Willing.”

Ayatollah Khamenei linked Israel and the United States, the Great Satan, together as the mortal enemies of the 12th Imam and declared through a spokesman in August 2009:
“We have to train honest forces that can stop the obstacles that may hinder the coming of the Mahdi like the United States and Israel.”
In February, 2011, Khamenei proclaimed: “We will never forget who the main enemy is. We continue to shout passionately: Death to America, death to Israel.”

Christian leaders in Syria are expressing dismay at the large number of members of their faith who are simply fleeing the region, which now is battered by violence as Muslim jihadists likely linked to al-Qaida try to overthrow the regime of Muslim President Bashar al-Assad.
The bishops say that the emigration stories are a rerun of the situation in Iraq a decade ago when a coalition of forces invaded to remove Saddam Hussein from power and will change the character of the region, just as it did in Iraq.

Many of the stories concerning the plight of Syria’s Christians come from the Christians themselves. Daniels said he recently spoke with one.
“A Syrian church leader told me recently of how they (the rebels) came into the village and began calling out names using the loudspeakers of the mosque and giving them 48 hours to leave,” Daniels said.
“We are continuing to hear stories from Syria of forced conversions or killings by those who did not convert. It is these existential threats that are leading Christians to flee,” Daniels said.

Open Doors USA spokesman Jerry Dykstra agrees that the Syrian bishops have a reason for concern, and persecuted Christians are leaving in huge numbers.
“Over two million people, many of them Christians, have been forced to flee the country. Many of them are in refugee camps along the borders with such countries as Turkey and Lebanon,” Dykstra said.
Dykstra says fewer and fewer Christians remain.
“Christians used to make up 8 percent of the country but that total is obviously less now. The targeting of Christians in the Middle East is nothing new. A Pew report said that in the 20th century Christians made up 20 percent of the population. Now it is an estimated 4 percent,” Dykstra said.

 Risk of snap elections in Italy is causing jitters on financial markets, but some say investors have grown accustomed to the chaos.
The value of Italian debt hit a two-week low, while the value of 'safe haven' German bonds ticked upward when markets opened on Monday (30 September), Reuters reports.
"There's a sense things are now spinning out of control, with potentially dangerous consequences for both Italy and the eurozone," Nicholas Spiro, head of Spiro Sovereign Strategy, a London-based consultancy, told the news agency.

The jitters were prompted by the collapse of Italy's ruling coalition over the weekend.

In less than two weeks, thousands of truckers will descend on Washington, D.C., driving their big-rigs and calling for the restoration of a constitutional republic – but now their plan has taken a new twist: Their friends and families will simultaneously join other Americans rallying on overpasses across the nation for Obama’s impeachment.
The Truckers’ Ride for the Constitution movement has a new ally in their protest against what organizers say is corruption in government and a trashing of the Constitution. The group is teaming up with Overpasses for Obama’s Impeachment to line the routes into Washington with flags during the Oct. 11-13 event.
Both Houses of Congress are tentatively scheduled to be in session Oct. 11.

Truckers Ride for the Constitution leader and organizer Zeeda Andrews, a country singer and former truck driver, said Overpasses Founder James Neighbors reached out to her, suggesting the two groups form an alliance. Neighbors said the partnership is a “natural” merger for a common cause.

“Thousands of truckers have seen us across America,” he said. “We’ve gotten emails from them, thanking us for waking them up. The biker ride in D.C. happened. Then, the next thing you know, the trucker thing did, and we got even more emails from truckers across the country, thanking us.”
He added, “We are going to be out on the overpasses and at truck stops, encouraging the truckers to head to D.C., to join in with the others. They, in exchange, are encouraging their families who are at home to join us on the overpasses.”

What do they intend to accomplish with a convoy into Washington and nationwide rallies on overpasses?
Neighbors explained, “The goal is to wake up the sleeping giant, the people of America.”
Truckers co-organizer Benn Pam said the rally will be quite a patriotic scene.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “There are going to be thousands of trucks on the highways, flying flags. There are all of those people who are in the Overpasses campaign flying flags. Between the two groups, we may be covering a good part of the national highway network.”
Andrews said more organizations are expected to join the rally, and she has “two other huge groups that will give me a conformation.”
But this event isn’t just another political rally. The joint venture has clear objectives. Neighbors said one goal is to pressure Congress to begin the impeachment process.

A top climate scientist from the Massachusetts Institute ofTechnology lambasted a new report by the UN’s climate bureaucracy that blamed mankind as the main cause of global warming and whitewashed the fact that there has been a hiatus in warming for the last 15 years.
“I think that the latest IPCC report has truly sunk to level of hilarious incoherence,” Dr. Richard Lindzen told Climate Depot, a global warming skeptic news site. “They are proclaiming increased confidence in their models as the discrepancies between their models and observations increase.”

“Their excuse for the absence of warming over the past 17 years is that the heat is hiding in the deep ocean,” Lindzen added. “However, this is simply an admission that the models fail to simulate the exchanges of heat between the surface layers and the deeper oceans.”

Scientists have been struggling to explain the 15-year hiatus in global warming, and governments have been urging them to whitewash the fact that temperatures have not been rising because such data would impact the upcoming climate negotiations in 2015.
The Associated Press obtained documents that show the Obama administration and some European governments pressured UN climate scientists to downplay or even omit data that shows the world hasn’t warmed in over a decade.

A chilly Arctic summer has left 533,000 more square miles of ocean covered with ice than at the same time last year – an increase of 29 per cent.
The rebound from 2012’s record low comes six years after the BBC reported that global warming would leave the Arctic ice-free in summer by 2013.
Instead, days before the annual autumn re-freeze is due to begin, an unbroken ice sheet more than half the size of Europe already stretches from the Canadian islands to Russia’s northern shores.

The Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific has remained blocked by pack-ice all year. More than 20 yachts that had planned to sail it have been left ice-bound and a cruise ship attempting the route was forced to turn back.
Some eminent scientists now believe the world is heading for a period of cooling that will not end until the middle of this century – a process that would expose computer forecasts of imminent catastrophic warming as dangerously misleading.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Netanyahu In U.S.: Seeking Reaffirmation Of Israel's Right To Defend Itself

At Meeting With Obama, Netanyahu Seeking Reaffirmation Of Israel's Right To Exist

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will go into his meeting with US President Barack Obama on Monday aiming not only to reveal the "true face" of the Iranian regime, but also wanting to hear a reaffirmation from Obama - in the midst of the current diplomatic overtures toward Iran - of Israel's right to defend itself.
One of Israel's main concerns presently is that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's "charm offensive" has chipped away at Israel's legitimacy for military action if Tehran crosses the red line Netanyahu established at the UN General Assembly last year.
Netanyahu is expected to urge Obama not to relieve the sanctions regime on Teheran until it stops uranium enrichment, removes enriched uranium from the country, closes down the uranium enrichment plant at Qom, and abandons a plutonium channel to a nuclear bomb.

Netanyahu arrived early Sunday morning in New York, and besides meetings scheduled with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird and Turkmenistan's Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov, is spending the day in his hotel in meetings with top aides preparing both for the Obama meeting, and for his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

Just before leaving after midnight Sunday overnight, Netanyahu said he was going to "represent the citizens of Israel, our national interests, our rights as a people, our determination to defend ourselves and our hope for peace."
Netanyahu, referring to Rouhani's blitz last week in the US, said  "I will tell the truth in the face of the sweet-talk and the onslaught of smiles. One must talk facts and one must tell the truth. Telling the truth today is vital for the security and peace of the world and, of course, it is vital for the security of the State of Israel."

 “Any miscalculation of one’s position, and of course, of others, will bear historic damages; a mistake by one actor will have negative impact on all others.” These words were spoken Tuesday by President Hasan Rouhani, but they aptly reflect what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently thinking about the thawing relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States of America.

Netanyahu has made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t mind standing alone in his opposition to the Iranian overtures, and that he will continue to pour cold water on the budding d├ętente between Tehran and Washington. He seems to embrace being the sole voice of dissent to a Western chorus that is willing to test Iran’s sincerity, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the prime minister makes a point about being a party-pooper during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

It has become a tradition for Netanyahu to insert some sort of gimmick into his major speeches to draw attention, be it a visual aid such as last year’s UN cartoon bomb or rhetorical shtick like the similarly awkward “nuclear duck” he discussed in a March 2012 speech to AIPAC delegates. So internet meme-makers, be prepared. A possible motif for his speech at the UN this week could be an image of Rouhani barely a week ago, presiding over a military parade which featured Shehab-3 missile trucks bearing anti-American messages and the slogan “Israel must be destroyed.” “And I’m the party-pooper?” Netanyahu might ask.

Netanyahu and his speechwriters, as of Sunday, had said very little about its content, beyond that it will compare the Iranian regime to North Korea and warn of the inherent dangers in striking deals with rogue states. The prime minister will almost certainly mention the fact that Rouhani was Iran’s nuclear negotiator in 2003 and has reportedly prided himself on fooling the West into believing that the program had been halted. He may also highlight Rouhani’s place at the heart of the regime going back many more years. 

Netanyahu knows all too well that the Iranian diplomatic train has left the station. Obama is already engaging with Rouhani, regardless of what “my friend Bibi” has to say. It’s too late to dissuade the president from at least testing Rouhani’s sincerity. Rather, at the White House on Monday, the Israeli leader will focus on the substance of that engagement, trying to define the parameters of a possible deal as tightly as possible.