Just how badly has Barack Obama and his administration damaged relations with our allies in the Middle East? NBC’s Richard Engel reports that the Sunni nations in the region have begun to fear that the Obama administration leaks intel to Iran as part of its efforts at rapprochement with the mullahs, which is why the US got blindsided by the Saudi-led coalition’s operations in Yemen. The White House’s “incoherence” in policy, Engel reports, has most of them losing confidence in American leadership, according to Engel’s contacts (via Free Beacon):
ENGEL (1:58): I know several people in the US military who were taken by surprise by this [action in Yemen]. Senior officials who would have been expected to know that there was going to be an operation in Yemen, they didn’t. They were finding out about it almost in real time.
And they believe, and some US members of Congress believe, that the reason Saudi Arabia and other states didn’t tell the US that it was going to launch this war against Shi’ite backed, or Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen, is because Saudi Arabia and other countries simply don’t trust the United States anymore, don’t trust this administration — think the administration is working to befriend Iran to try and make a deal in Switzerland, and therefore didn’t think that the intelligence frankly would be secure.
I think that is a situation that is quite troubling for US foreign policy, where traditional allies — like Saudi Arabia, like Egypt, like the United Arab Emirates — don’t know if the US is reliable at this stage to hold onto this information when it comes to Iran.
Category Archives: Iran
And if by “nation” they mean “this White House,” it’s probably true. Here’s a refresher on the administration’s moral calculus these days:
Out: Standing by the only democratic Middle East ally.
In: Entering into deals with theocratic terror-sponsoring regimes that will destabilize the entire region, without the consent of the American people.
Sure, Iran’s top ally may be dropping chlorine gas on civilians, but the real problem in the Middle East is the Israel electorate. “The Price Israel Must Pay: We no longer have a Netanyahu problem. We have an Israel problem”—not a Hamas problem, or Fatah problem, not a random-criminals-shooting-folks-in-markets problem, or a lack-of-a-civil-society-in-the-Middle-East problem, but an Israel problem—writes William Saltean over at Slate. If you turn on Obama—which is the only real “problem” here—there is always a steep price.
It is true, for many Democrats this is about Israel, not any one politician. But the irrational hatred of Benjamin Netanyahu sure does propel things
Guess who is the number one violator of women’s rights in the world today? Israel. Violating the rights of Palestinian women.
At least that is the view of the UN’s top women’s rights body, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). CSW ends its annual meeting on Friday, March 20 by condemning only one of the 193 UN member states for violating women’s rights – Israel.
Not Syria. Where government forces routinely employ rape and other sexual violence and torture against women as a tactic of war. Where in 2014 the Assad regime starved, tortured and killed at least 24,000 civilians, and three million people – mostly women and children – are refugees….
Not Iran. Where every woman who registered as a presidential candidate in the last election was disqualified. “Adultery” is punishable by death by stoning. Women who fight back against rapists and kill their attackers are executed. The constitution bars female judges. And women must obtain the consent of their husbands to work outside the home….
The Obama administration has an answer to this dilemma. Vote against the resolutions, while paying the fees to run the bodies that adopt them. Join and legitimize the institution, while consoling the delegitimized that it feels their pain.
But the reason the president is facing such bipartisan backlash is that an overwhelming number of voters are deeply worried about the direction of the negotiations. Think about how rare, in these polarized times, mobilizing a veto-proof majority of congressional Republicans and Democrats is for any significant legislation. Yet despite all the distractions, Congress is close to achieving that goal: requiring the administration to go to Congress for approval of any deal.
The administration is so focused on process and protocol in attacking the opposition because it’s a useful distraction from how unpopular the administration’s eagerness to strike any deal with Iran has become.
Being so dismissive of public opinion is a dangerous game to play, especially when it comes to foreign policy. For all his mistakes in conducting the Iraq War, former President George W. Bush secured a bipartisan congressional authorization for declaring war against Iraq, working to rally public support in 2003 to win that approval.
Obama views that equation backward: Getting the outcome he wants, and then attacking his opponents for not going along with him. It certainly hasn’t proved to be a healthy process domestically. Now he’s trying to extend that approach to the international stage.
So how might Obama retaliate against Israel for re-electing a pro-American government?
In the wake of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decisive re-election, the Obama administration is revisiting longtime assumptions about America’s role as a shield for Israel against international pressure.
Angered by Netanyahu’s hard-line platform towards the Palestinians, top Obama officials would not rule out the possibility of a change in American posture at the United Nations, where the U.S. has historically fended off resolutions hostile to Israel.
Nice country you have here. Shame if something were to happen to it.
At no time in history has there ever been a “Palestine.” Should there be one now? Does it makes sense for Israel to resist the foundation of a terrorist Islamic state in Judea and Samaria, the heart of Biblical Israel? One might think so.
The administration’s critique goes on and on, as you will see if you follow the link. The bottom line is that we now have, in the United States, an administration that is friendly to the Islamic extremists in Iran who consider us to be the “Great Satan,” who hang homosexuals from cranes, who torture and kill those who want democracy, who have ICBMs and eagerly seek nuclear weapons with which to attack us and our allies. All of that is fine with the Obama administration, apparently. But the administration is bitterly hostile to the only actual democracy in the Middle East–the one place in the region where women in burkas can vote.
Does this make any sense? Seemingly not. But over the next year and a half, watch for Barack Obama to try to punish Israel for electing Benjamin Netanyahu, contrary to his wishes. In the Age of Obama, logic takes a back seat to ego.
Despite this hyperventilation, the Cotton Club did not send its letter anywhere — particularly not Tehran. As I mentioned last Thursday, Cotton drafted this letter, which explained to Iran’s leaders several relevant aspects of basic American civics. “We will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei,” the letter states. “The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen,” it continues.
Cotton got 46 other senators to sign this letter in ink. “Because it was an open letter, it was not sent to Tehran but rather posted on Senator Cotton’s website and social-media accounts,” Caroline Rabbitt, Senator Cotton’s communications director, explained to me last week. Cotton & Co. never even dropped an envelope in the mail.
The fact that Cotton and his colleagues created a letter to nowhere seems to have escaped the loudest voices in this national conversation. Had that letter been posted on the website of the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, or the Washington Times, the tumbrels would not be rolling toward Capitol Hill. So, this fight largely concerns which website first carried Cotton’s letter.
As Americans debate the wisdom of this GOP gambit, it should not surprise Obama that nearly half the Senate went around him to express its views on what White House chief of staff Dennis McDonough calls a “non-binding arrangement” with Iran. (This sounds like handcuffs without locks.) After all, Obama very openly craves an accord with Iran that goes around Congress. Thus, Obama is getting precisely what he deserves, given his overbearing, anti-Constitutional lust for common cause with the ayatollahs — to the exclusion of America’s duly elected representatives. Obama is desperate for a deal with this radical-Islamic, terrorist-sponsoring, IED-detonating regime. And he wants Republicans to shut up about it.
If Obama finds this Republican medicine bitter, he should stop pouring his own acrid elixir down their throats.
Agree or disagree with that point, here is the inescapable truth: Tom Cotton and his Senate colleagues never contacted anyone in Iran. That fact alone should turn the Left’s fluttering “GOP = Treason” banner into a wet rag.
The Obama administration insists that it is negotiating an agreement with Iran that will prevent that country from acquiring nuclear weapons–for a while, anyway. Critics of the negotiations, as reflected in the interim agreement already reached and in news reports of the discussions in progress, suspect that the deal Obama has in mind will facilitate, not prevent, a nuclear Iran. As reported, the deal will sunset in ten years, leaving Iran free to put its centrifuges, its enriched uranium and its ICBMs to work as a nuclear power.
But don’t take our word for it. For Iran’s rivals in the region, the current negotiations are potentially a matter of life and death. So what is Saudi Arabia doing? Beginning to develop its own nuclear capability. The Wall Street Journal reports:
As U.S. and Iranian diplomats inched toward progress on Tehran’s nuclear program last week, Saudi Arabia quietly signed its own nuclear-cooperation agreement with South Korea.
That agreement, along with recent comments from Saudi officials and royals, is raising concerns on Capitol Hill and among U.S. allies that a deal with Iran, rather than stanching the spread of nuclear technologies, risks fueling it.
Saudi Arabia’s former intelligence chief, Prince Turki al-Faisal, a member of the royal family, has publicly warned in recent months that Riyadh will seek to match the nuclear capabilities Iran is allowed to maintain as part of any final agreement reached with world powers. This could include the ability to enrich uranium and to harvest the weapons-grade plutonium discharged in a nuclear reactor’s spent fuel. …
So even though no agreement has been announced, the consequences of the administration’s fecklessness are already being seen.
Forty-seven U.S. Senators have released an open letter to the Iranian government warning that any nuclear deal signed by President Barack Obama could be revoked by a subsequent U.S. president unless it is ratified by the Senate. The letter, while addressed to the “Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” is really a warning to Obama not to bypass Congress.
The president has vowed to veto the “Corker-Menendez-Graham” bill, also known as the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, currently pending in the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had prepared the bill for a vote this week, following last week’s stirring address by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but delayed the vote under pressure from Democratic supporters of the bill who want to wait for the administration’s March negotiation deadline to expire first.
The letter (full text here) is a response to that threat, and informs Iranian leaders that they “may not fully understand our constitutional system…while the President negotiates international agreements, Congress plays the significant role of ratifying them.”
It concludes: “…we will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei. The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen…”.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may have looked like he stood alone at the podium as he addressed Congress this week.
But as he hammered away at his view that a nuclear deal with Iran would dangerously empower an Iranian regime already in full expansion mode, his words no doubt drew vigorous nods from what might seem a surprising group: Arab leaders from Saudi Arabia to Egypt.
Already alarmed at the gains the Shiite government in Tehran is making in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and now apparently in Yemen, Sunni Arab leaders worry that an American accord with Iran on its nuclear program will seal the deal on a decade of expanding Iranian influence.
“The focus has been on Netanyahu and his concerns about a nuclear deal, as if he were the only one, but the Arabs are increasingly alarmed at the prospect of a flawed nuclear deal and what that would mean for the region,” says James Phillips, senior research fellow for Middle Eastern affairs at the Heritage Foundation in Washington.
That “alarm” has sharpened in recent months with the growing perception among Arabs that the Obama administration sees Iran as a “useful ally” in the fight against the Islamic State, Mr. Phillips says.
United States President Barack Obama is a sheep, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a sheepdog. Today, despite Obama’s myopic de facto boycott, Netanyahu delivered a speech for the ages in front of a joint session of Congress on the subject of the ongoing “P5+1″ nuclear negotiations with Iran — a harrowing Chamberlain-esque capitulation to the forces of evil and fundamentalist jihadism that even the Washington Post editorial board has substantively described as having “major concerns.” In a speech that helps vindicate Zionism itself, Netanyahu spoke directly to the world about how the Jewish people are no longer stateless and passively defenseless to the threat of existential genocidal evil, and how Israel is thus prepared to act by itself if it sees America about to make a truly bad deal with the Iranian mullahs.
The contrast with Obama could not be more vivid: Netanyahu spoke with utmost moral clarity of the dangers of “Islamism,” “militant Islam,” and “jihad” — and not of amorphous “violent extremism” or of Jen Psaki-style “jobs for jihadists” underemployment. He spoke of how the West has been in a state of cold war with the Islamic Republic of Iran since the 1979 Iranian Revolution: from the Beirut barracks bombing of 1983 to the Argentinian AMIA bombing of 1994 to the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa to the arming of countless Iraqis with I.E.D.s used to kill Americans during the Iraq War to the arming of Hezbollah, Hamas, and Bashar al-Assad alike to the recent plot to blow up the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. in a tony D.C. restaurant to the repeated warnings to annihilate from the face of the Earth the mullahs’ dystopian characterization of the “little Satan” of Israel and the “great Satan” of America. He spoke of Iran’s recent role in effecting a coup in Yemen — a Western-aligned Sunni ally that has been indispensably important in the drone war against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. He calmly explained how the Shia “Islamic Republic” of Iran and the Sunni “Islamic State” of ISIS are firmly rooted, despite their sectarian differences, in the common themes of jihad and anti-Western subjugation, and how “the enemy of our enemy” is thus still our “enemy.” He spoke of Iran’s consistent evading of International Atomic Energy Agency nuclear facility inspectors and of its covert Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (“ICBM”) program, and explained how the latter can only be militarily justified for planned use outside of the Middle East, once technology permits.
All the while, the speech had the distinct feel of a State of the Union Address — except less trivial and more substantive. Lawmakers arrived in the House chamber early to assure themselves aisle seats, where they might get a chance to personally shake hands with the Israeli Prime Minister. There were seemingly dozens of standing ovations, and myriad more applause lines. The Congress loves Benjamin Netanyahu, and so do the American people: he is, in fact, more popular right now with the American citizenry than is Barack Obama himself. Americans respect a leader who stands up for his nation, who stands up for his people, who speaks in unambiguous tones of moral clarity — of black versus white, of good versus evil — and who thus stands up for the West’s core values of individual liberty and representative democracy and stands fervently athwart the totalitarian threat of global jihadism. Benjamin Netanyahu is indeed the Winston Churchill of our time, and in a world in which the U.S. President serially apologizes to the Arab World for America’s ostensible sins he is indeed the de facto leader of the free world. No wonder the sheep Barack Obama cannot stand this sheepdog. Here is Dennis Prager’s simple yet eloquent encapsulation of this Manicheanism:
Those who do not confront evil resent those who do.