Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Countdown To Dangerous Deal With Iran, Russia Warns About Arming Ukraine, The World After America

The Obama administration’s determination to reach an accord with Iran at any cost continues unabated. As the March 31st deadline approaches, the administration has taken to recklessly downplaying Iran’s increasing belligerence, as well as continuing a coordinated attack on Iran’s chief critic, newly re-elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

This weekend, the White House dismissed a speech by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei that included more chants of “Death to America” by both the crowd and Khamenei himself, insisting that it was only “intended for a domestic political audience.” Yesterday White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest doubled down on that contention when CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta asked “if those comments give this White House any pause about moving forward with a nuclear deal with that country?” “Those kinds of comments only underscore why it is so critically important that the United States and the international community succeed in preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” Earnest insisted. “And the best way for us to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapons is sitting down at the negotiating table and getting Iran to make very specific commitments that would prevent them from obtaining nuclear weapons.”

When Acosta pressed Earnest about whether such a statement could undermine good faith negotiations, Earnest remained resolute. “Jim, what we have seen is—we have seen the Iranians sit down at the negotiating table and demonstrate a willingness to have constructive conversations,” he explained.
Those so-called constructive conversations are apparently sufficient to offset more than the Ayatollah’s weekend rhetoric.

In a nationally televised show broadcast in February, Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard participated in a war games drill during which they assaulted and destroyed a replica of a U.S. aircraft carrier. “American aircraft carriers are very big ammunition depots housing a lot of missiles, rockets, torpedoes and everything else,” said the Guard’s navy chief, Adm. Ali Fadavi. Fadavi had previously boasted that his forces are capable of taking out aircraft carriers should war arise. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, the Guard’s chief commander, declared that the drills send a “message of (Iran’s) might” to “extraterritorial powers,” a reference to the United States. The simulation, called Great Prophet 9, took place near the Strait of Hormuz, a critical waterway though which more than 20 percent of the world’s oil passes.

Intellectually bankrupt: Progressive’s notion that Israel remains the chief obstacle to either a two-state solution

The Obama administration was equally dismissive of that effort. “We are aware of a recent exercise by Iranian naval forces involving a mock-up of a vessel similar to an aircraft carrier,” said Defense Department spokeswoman Cmdr. Elissa Smith. “We are confident in our naval forces’ ability to defend themselves against any maritime threat.” Cmdr. Kevin Stephens, spokesman for the Fifth Fleet based in Bahrain, was equally sanguine. “It seems they’ve attempted to destroy the equivalent of a Hollywood movie set,” he noted sarcastically.

Such an easygoing attitude towards a country that remains on the State Department’s list of terror-sponsoring nations stands in stark contrast to the Obama administration’s treatment of Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

On Monday, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonoough led the offensive. In a speech at aimed at left-wing activists attending J Street’s fifth annual conference in Washington, D.C., he attacked the Jewish State’s occupation of the West Bank. “An occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end, and the Palestinian people must have the right to live in and govern themselves in their own sovereign state,” he insisted. He also reiterated the tiresome trope regarding a two-state solution. “Palestinian children deserve the same right to be free in their own land as Israeli children in their land,” he declared. “A two-state solution will finally bring Israelis the security and normalcy to which they are entitled, and Palestinians the sovereignty and dignity they deserve.”

There may be nothing more intellectually bankrupt than the progressive notion that Israel remains the chief obstacle to either a two-state solution, or that such a solution is the ultimate cure for Middle East violence. 

Charles Krauthammer deftly exposes that bankruptcy. “I have news for the lowing herds: There would be no peace and no Palestinian state if Isaac Herzog were prime minister either,” he wrote following the outpouring of leftist handwringing that accompanied Netanyahu’s re-election. “Or Ehud Barak or Ehud Olmert for that matter. The latter two were (non-Likud) prime ministers who offered the Palestinians their own state—with its capital in Jerusalem and every Israeli settlement in the new Palestine uprooted—only to be rudely rejected.”

It’s worse than that. Following Netanyahu’s re-election, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and the PLO have not only threatened to halt security coordination with Israel, but indicated they will also engage in a “comprehensive dialogue” with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, aimed at facilitating their takeover of the West Bank. Both groups are dedicated to the annihilation of Israel, and would undoubtedly use the West Bank as a staging area to do so. Regardless, Israel remains the focus of the Obama administration’s ire.

Israel and Netanyahu remain a punching bag of convenience for a desperate president and a clueless administration

Negotiations are scheduled to end next week, and a final accord is to be reached by June 30. Yet Iran remains defiant. Yesterday they dismissed a suggestion by Yukiya Amano, head of the U.N.‘s International Atomic Energy Agency (IEAE), that Iran submit to snap inspections of its nuclear sites as a way of building reassurance among the international community. “It would be much better if Amano only talked about the IAEA’s seasonal and monthly reports,” responded Iranian nuclear spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi. The IEAE reiterated the French position, insisting it has evidence that Iran has worked on nuclear weapons, even as Iran has stonewalled their effort to follow up on those suspicions. Iran’s lack of candor remains one of the sticking points of the negotiations.

He further notes that Obama’s courtship of Iran
reached the height of absurdity last week, when Obama wished Iranians a happy Persian new year by equating Republican critics of his nuclear deal with the resistance of theocratic hard-liners, saying both “oppose a diplomatic solution.” That is a damnable slur given that a top American military official estimates that Iranian weapons, proxies and trainers killed 1,500 US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Who in their right mind would trust such an evil regime with a nuke?

How about a radical leftist, terror-appeasing president so determined to achieve “peace in our time,” Iran was excluded as a terror threat from the administration’s latest annual security assessment? With leadership like this, dangerous days are ahead.

Yesterday, in a vote that largely slid under the radar, the House of Representatives passed a resolution urging Obama to send lethal aid to Ukraine, providing offensive, not just "defensive" weapons to the Ukraine army - the same insolvent, hyperinflating Ukraine which, with a Caa3/CC credit rating, last week started preparations to issue sovereign debt with a US guarantee, in essence making it a part of the United States (something the US previously did as a favor to Egypt before the Muslim Brotherhood puppet regime was swept from power by the local army).

According to DW,  the measure urges Obama to provide Ukraine with "lethal defensive weapon systems" that would better enable Ukraine to defend its territory from "the unprovoked and continuing aggression of the Russian Federation."

"Policy like this should not be partisan," said House Democrat Eliot Engel, the lead sponsor of the resolution. "That is why we are rising today as Democrats and Republicans, really as Americans, to say enough is enough in Ukraine."
Engel, a New York Democrat, has decided that he knows better than Europe what is the best option for Ukraine's people - a Europe, and especially Germany, which has repeatedly said it rejects a push to give western arms to the Ukraine army, and warned that Russia under President Vladimir Putin has become "a clear threat to half century of American commitment to an investment in a Europe that is whole, free and at peace. A Europe where borders are not changed by force."
This war has left thousands of dead, tens of thousands wounded, a million displaced, and has begun to threaten the post-Cold War stability of Europe," Engel said.
Odd, perhaps the US state department should have thought of that in a little over a year ago when Victoria Nuland was plotting how to most effectively put her puppet government in charge of Kiev and how to overthrow the lawfully elected president in a US-sponsored coup.

Ironically, the biggest stumbling block ahead of an outright overture to World War III, may be Hillary Clinton herself. The former SecState, currently embroiled in an e-mail communication scandal, was recently revealed to have been a recipient of some very generous foreign donations into the Clinton foundation: donations where Ukraine was at the very top!

Considering last week's news of a just as dangerous cold war being waged between Obama's right hand (wo)man, Valerie Jarrett, and the Clintons, it is perhaps just as likely that Obama, whose foreign policy team is absolutely abysmal and whose offshore "achievements" can best be described as a disaster, is not eager to get involved in Ukraine not so much to avert the cold war with Russia to turn hot, but to make Hillary's life difficult as she launches her challenge to Obama's favorite populist Elizabeth Warren.
Then again, when it comes to calling the foreign shots, the US president is merely a figurehead, and the real decision-maker has always been the US military-industrial complex. So while Obama may stall sending weapons, he will ultimately get a tap on the shoulder from the gentle folks shown on the table below, who will soon demand something in exchange for their millions in lobby funding.
The prepackaged spin is already ready: "sending weapons to the Kiev government would not mean involvement in a new war for America", claimed the abovementioned Eliot Engel who sponsored the document. “The people of Ukraine are not looking for American troops," Engel said. "They are just looking for the weapons.

Beautiful. And if weapons the Ukraine wants, the US MIC will be delighted to provide them. 
So the only question is how Russia will responds to this escalation: according to RT, "Washington's decision to supply Ukraine with ammunition and weapons would “explode the whole situation” in eastern Ukraine and Russia would be forced to respond “appropriately,” Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said at the end of February.
“It would be a major blow to the Minsk agreements and would explode the whole situation,” TASS quoted Ryabkov as saying.

The Middle East has witnessed the most complicated withdrawal of all. Obama’s response to the Israeli elections, in which he meddled shamelessly and unsuccessfully, was an outrage: spontaneous complaints from his press secretary that Netanyahu was dividing his own Jewish and Arab citizens. This is a bit rich from the spokesman for a president who has intervened prejudicially and divisively in almost every highly publicized racial incident in the U.S. in his time in office, accused the Republicans of waging “a war on women,” and fiscally assaulted the Roman Catholic Church. And it is cheeky to address such comments to democratic Israel, where dissident Arabs are the third party in the parliament. Benjamin Netanyahu has a mandate to attack Iran’s nuclear capability if he thinks it necessary to Israeli national security and would be supported by the Saudis, and tacitly by the Egyptians and the Turks. It would be better for the United States and the other five countries in the negotiations to abandon their inept meddling and let Israel get on with it, or use that prospect to extract a better agreement from Iran, and for the Saudis and Gulf states to finance the admirable Egyptian president AbdelFattah el-Sisi in modernizing the Egyptian economy if the U.S. continues to sulk over the fate of the Muslim Brotherhood (of all unworthy subjects of American sympathy). The Palestinians can have their state, with a narrower West Bank and a deeper Gaza, if they recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and cease to be a launch-pad for terrorist and rocket attacks on Israel. The ancient Persians, Egyptians, Turks, Jews, and Saudis will work it out in their own way and time, as long as nuclear weapons aren’t in the equation, with special status for Jordan, Lebanon, and the Kurds.

The enfeeblement of the West must be considered aberrant; these societies cannot have simply atrophied in the years since Reagan, Thatcher, Kohl, and Mitterrand, even less since Clinton, Blair, and Chirac, whose governments could at least, and did generally, act sensibly. The real objective must be to complete the demolition of czarist and Stalinist Russian imperialism while recognizing the integrity and distinction of the Russian nationality in a way that liberates those who seek liberation without humiliating Russia. And the big prize is to extend the Western world, whose eastern border was only 100 miles beyond the Rhine when Germany was divided, to the borders of Russia, the better to assist, absolutely peacefully and by example, persuasion, and the ravages of prosperity, the Western emulators in Russia to prevail over the nativists, and to bring Russia, Eurasia, into the West on good terms and as a distinguished partner. This is the real prize, but it is totally obscured by the unfathomable mediocrity of the current cast of characters, and the danger is that Putin will exploit the feeble West and start stirring up Russians in the little Baltic states. No NATO member except Poland is going to consider such a thing, in the NATO Treaty terms, as “an attack upon one is an attack upon all” call to arms. If we get through to the next U.S. presidential-inauguration day without such a test, it will only be because of the munificence of the Saudis in holding oil prices down so Putin can’t even afford a show of strength against the Lithuanians.

An internal EU report heaps blame on Israel for last year’s violence in Jerusalem, contains dire warnings on the two-state solution, and recommends sanctions. But they’re unlikely to be implemented. 
Relative calm has returned to Jerusalem.
Micky Rosenfeld, a spokesman for the Israeli police, told EUobserver on Tuesday (24 March) that “there are thousands of tourists in the Old City … I’d highly recommend that you come and walk around the streets. They’re extremely safe”. 
He added that “every Friday, some 30,000 or 40,000 Muslims come to pray on Temple Mount with no incidents whatsoever”. 
He noted that “once in a while” police have to remove Jewish or Arab activists who break the rules. He gave the example of Arabs who “shout ‘Allahu Akbar!’ and try to stop visitors, including also Christians by the way” from entering the holy site. 
Things were different last year.
The EU report, compiled and endorsed by the 15 member states which have embassies in Ramallah, Palestine’s temporary capital, and seen by EUobserver, describes it as “one of the most troubled years in Jerusalem since the end of the Second Intifada [Palestinian uprising]”.

It notes that violent clashes caused 2,069 Palestinian and 168 Israeli injuries - more than five times higher than in 2013 or 2012.

There were also 19 fatalities - compared to just one in 2013 and 2012.

Rosenfeld, the Israeli spokesman, said the violence was linked to last year's Gaza war. 
But the EU report says the “root causes” are: “increased settlement activity, demolitions [of Palestinian homes], provocations and tension at the Haram Al-Sharif/Temple Mount and the lack of economic and political prospects for 38 percent of Jerusalem’s inhabitants [its Palestinian population]”.
The Gaza war, mentioned by the Israeli spokesman, saw Israeli forces kill more than 2,300 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and saw Palestinian forces kill 71 Israelis, most of them soldiers. 
But another new element, the EU report says, were Israeli “provocations” at Jerusalem’s holiest place. 
It notes that “almost on a daily basis, settlers and national religious activists … ascended onto the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount under the protection of Israeli forces” and that “on several occasions extremists tried to raise the Israeli flag … and chanted offensive slogans”.

The report also says “the number of high-profile and provocative visits by members of the Israeli political establishment” are “a particular cause of concern”. 
It warns the actions risk creating a “religious dimension” to the territorial conflict.

A prominent Jewish figure urged the United States on Tuesday to beware of surging anti-Semitism in Europe and warned that seven decades after World War II Jews on the continent are having to look over their shoulders once more.

World Jewish Congress (WJC) president Ronald Lauder told a congressional committee in Washington that the United States could not sit by quietly, with events such as the recent attack in France underlining the growing threat.

“Once again, like the 1930s, European Jews live in fear,” said Lauder, a billionaire businessman who inherited a fortune from his mother Estee Lauder’s cosmetics empire.
“The United States can and must speak loudly and clearly to condemn this evil for what it is –- the radical Islamic hatred of Jews.”
“To defeat this new flame of radical Islamic terror and survive… the United States must lead,” stressed Lauder, whose mother was Jewish and in whose faith he was raised.
The WJC represents Jewish communities in 100 countries.
Since the attacks in Paris in January that left 17 dead, France has been on the highest possible alert with thousands of police and troops deployed at sensitive sites, such as media headquarters and synagogues.
But counter-terrorism officials say this will do little to prevent an attack like the one on the satirical Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris.

The Times of Israel got it straight from an anonymous “senior Jerusalem official”: Obama wanted “revenge” in the wake of Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Times of Israel that “it’s no secret” that the Obama administration had attempted to influence the outcome of the election…

…“The White House is driven by three main motives,” the senior official said. “The first is revenge [over the Congress speech]. The second is frustration: It’s no secret that they were involved in an attempt to bring down the Netanyahu government – something that we have clear knowledge of – and failed. The third [motive] is the administration’s attempt to divert attention from the negotiations with Iran to the Palestinian issue.”

Not only do Israeli policymakers have a full understanding of Obama’s involvement in Israeli elections, they have also already reasoned their way around Obama’s potential politicking at the UN:

…The White House will attempt to “punish” Israel at the UN or the Security Council, the senior Israeli official said Tuesday, alluding to intimations by US officials to the effect that Washington could change its policy of vetoing anti-Israel measures and even pursue a unilateral Palestinian statehood initiative.

“Congress is currently our only means of preventing a series of harmful initiatives, on both the Iranian and the Palestinian front,” the official said. “If the US government will permit the recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN, then Congress will brandish its knives and defund the UN.” On Sunday, Republic Senator John McCain threatened to do just that.

The plans of the White House and shame of American Jewish Left aren’t bothering members of an Israeli administration who have higher priorities than being #1 on Obama’s popularity list.

Also see:


Bob said...

4/4/15 could be the day it all starts

Scott said...

Bob. I think it all starts in the fall like sept. Why april?