Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Obama Plans to Circumvent Congress on a Bad-for-Israel Iran Nuke Deal

President Barack Obama will not seek Congressional approval for any deal his negotiator Wendy Sherman might reach with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Teheran's nuclear weapons program,  The New York Times reported.

The U.S. is negotiating with Iran as part of the P5+1 talks— the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany— in Vienna that are scheduled to conclude on Nov. 24.

A spokesman for EU foreign minister Catherine Ashton-- who is not known for her Zionist sympathies -- said the talks had reached a critical point. 

On Sunday, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that a prospective agreement might leave Iran with the capacity to build nuclear weapons on short notice. "This is a threat to the entire world, and first and foremost to us. This threat is far more serious than that posed by the Islamic State,"  Haaretz reported.

The anti-Netanyahu tabloid Yediot Aharanot claimed there was no basis to Netanyahu's concerns. That's because no one at Yediot read the Times story and because their dislike for the mercurial Netanyahu clouds their ability to report the news. 

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has insisted that Iran must expand its nuclear enrichment program.

Any Iran deal would likely involve the gradual lifting of sanctions. Obama can do this without congressional approval. "We wouldn't seek congressional legislation in any comprehensive agreement for years," a senior official told the Times.

Sherman has been briefing key congressional committees on the talks, the Times reported.

New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said that "If a potential deal does not substantially and effectively dismantle Iran's illicit nuclear weapons program, I expect Congress will respond. An agreement cannot allow Iran to be a threshold nuclear state," the Times reported.

If no agreement is reached by Nov. 24, Menendez has proposed tightening sanctions on Iran.

"Congress will not permit the president to unilaterally unravel Iran sanctions that passed the Senate in a 99 to 0 vote," in 2010 said Republican Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, the Times reported.

The president's goal "between now and 2017" is to avoid having to bomb Iran or having Teheran announce that it has an atomic bomb, said Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The talks are expected to be extended should no agreement be reached, according to the Times.

I've been saying for years that the U.S. would not take out Iran's nuclear facilities. A large part of the reason is that Washington exhausted itself in Iraq. A war with Iran is not something American public opinion would tolerate. 

Obama's tenure has been a disaster for Israel though on Iran -- given the mess George W. Bush left in the Middle East -- I doubt a Romney presidency would have been any different.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The British Street

The British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould has just been on Army Radio to say that yesterday's vote in the British Parliament was a reflection of the mood on the British Street and that Israelis should be worried.

The vote – a nonbinding resolution to give diplomatic recognition to a Palestinian state – was a lopsided Ayes 274, Noes 12 ... which suggests the Parliament is becoming more like the UN General Assembly.

An automatic anti-Zionist majority.

Israel's "friends" in Parliament and its enemies voted together. The friends are "tired" of defending us against popular opinion.

"The conflict in Gaza over the summer, the announcement on settlements since the summer, have had a big impact. And I think that this parliamentary vote is a sign of the way that the wind is blowing in public opinion," said Gould.

Reading between the lines, Gould is saying that if Israel were to permit Hamas in Gaza to bombard its territory with impunity and not attempt to deter such behavior, Israel could begin to win back the British Street.

Somehow, I doubt it.

Of course, Israel would still have to pull back to the 1949 Armistice Lines because "settlements" in Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria are another reason why we've lost the British Street.

The Palestinian Arabs would then establish a Muslim state in the West Bank. 

How much longer afterwards it would still be comfortable to live in a truncated Israel is something we'd soon discover.

When would mortars let alone rockets make air travel from our only airport all but impossible?

For if the events in Syria/Iraq -- the ISIS advance on Baghdad -- prove anything it is that territory and strategic depth not airpower or nuclear weapons is what matters on the ground.

Would Palestine be controlled by Fatah? By Hamas? By a Palestinian offshoot of al-Qaida or ISIS?

That's of no particular concern to the British Street.

They'll be some MP's who will claim their vote is for Israel's own good and others who well know what they are doing will only bolster the Arab side.

The Arabs are engaged in a zero sum game. 

All of them. All of them that matter.

The British Street – including its 2-3 million Muslims – are fine with the Palestinian Arabs getting their way without having to make concessions at the negotiating table.  Without having to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

It is so convenient to buy into the mantra that the settlements are the problem. 

So lazy to blame Palestinian violence, intransigence, and victimization on Israel.

So easy for "friends" to say they've lost patience with the Jewish state.

What amazes is that there are 12 MPs who – for whatever the reason –  some perhaps even out of principle – did not jump on the anti-Israel or "save-Israel-from-itself" bandwagon.

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