Who Are These ‘Moderate’ Syrians Obama Wants to Pit Against ISIS?

Posted September 15, 2014 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Syria war

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Who Are These ‘Moderate’ Syrians Obama Wants to Pit Against ISIS? Daily BeastJamie Dettmer, September 15, 2014

(Will Obama send a battalion of like minded savants, who claim that Islam is peaceful, to convince their “moderate” inferiors in Koranic wisdom that Islam really is peaceful and freedom loving? Perhaps he should accompany them.– DM)

ModeratesDaniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty

Like other countries convulsed by Arab Spring insurrections, there was a mismatch between Western expectations and perceptions and the thinking and religious views of the majority involved in the fighting, and that was a year before the emergence of ISIS. The war back then was clearly becoming more sectarian and Islamic—the trajectory was obvious.


There were few modern democrats among the armed opposition to Assad two years ago. There are far fewer now. So who can Obama trust not to turn Western-supplied weapons against us later?

The young rebels and opposition activists gathered in a school to discuss how the northern Syrian town of Al Bab should be governed after the departure of Bashar al Assad’s soldiers were taken aback by the question: “Why aren’t there any women here?” It was the summer of 2012, more than 12 months into the uprising against the Syrian president, and more than a year before Abu Bakr al Baghdadi announced the formation of his al Qaeda breakaway, the Islamic State of Syria and Sham, or ISIS.

Initial surprise at my question was followed by smirks. The young men who had talked about ushering in a new era of modern democracy and freedom in Syria pushed forward a nervous young imam to explain. “It is not in our tradition for men and women to mix,” he said. “They can have their own meeting, if they want. And if we need advice on some issues, we can ask them.” There were some chuckles at this. So much for democracy, at least in its Western guise.

Later that night I sat with two local sheikhs who explained how they were forming a court to adjudicate civil disputes and rule on criminal cases. “We will use Sharia law,” said Abdulbaset Kuredy. “What else is there? After Assad, the whole country will be governed by Sharia.” Then he launched into a condemnation of the corrupt West and its acceptance of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. The sheikhs were aligned with the Free Syrian Army, the rebel group now touted in Washington as the “moderates” to support in the fight against Assad on the one hand, ISIS on the other.

There was nothing I saw in Al Bab in August 2012—still early days in the insurrection that is now halfway through its fourth year—that led me to feel that if the Syrian uprising toppled Assad, it would lead to an inclusive, minority-respecting, and more or less democratic outcome. Like other countries convulsed by Arab Spring insurrections, there was a mismatch between Western expectations and perceptions and the thinking and religious views of the majority involved in the fighting, and that was a year before the emergence of ISIS. The war back then was clearly becoming more sectarian and Islamic—the trajectory was obvious.

After two years of brutal and barbaric sectarian warfare, the Syrian rebellion has seen an even greater hardening of sectarian attitudes among Syrian opponents of Assad and his regime, which is dominated by members of the minority Alawite sect. Many secular activists from the urban areas of Damascus or Aleppo withdrew long ago, sickened by what the uprising was becoming. They were appalled at the rise of the jihadists and their cruelty, worried by the strength of Islamist factions among the rural fighters who are the backbone of the militias. The center did not hold.

A key element in President Obama’s strategy to halt the jihadist campaign of terror across the Levant involves reversing his earlier decision to refrain from fully backing so-called moderate Syrian rebels with arms and training. Exasperated by infighting among the leaders of the Syrian National Council and the Free Syrian Army, and worried by the weakening of the more secular elements, the Obama administration basically left the uprising alone. Critics like Sen. John McCain say that helped the rise of extremists like ISIS.

Now the president is asking Congress for $500 million to bolster rebels he kept at arm’s length to give them weapons and pay for training these insurgents he once derided as ineffectual “former doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth.”

But we shouldn’t imagine this is a change of policy in line with President George W. Bush’s “freedom agenda” or the “New Beginning” philosophy of Obama’s 2009 address in Cairo that sought to mend relations between the U.S. and the Arab world.

In his 13-minute speech last week, Obama did not mention the word “democracy” once—nor, for that matter, did “freedom” make any appearance. The arming and training of Syrian rebels is about U.S. national security interests and the rolling back of the jihadists.

But the decision to do so prompts a key question once again: Who are the moderates? Who in rebel ranks can be trusted not to turn Western-supplied weapons against the West later, or switch sides as we’ve seen in Mali and other countries racked by Islamist rebellions? Who can receive arms that won’t be shared with ISIS or the official al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra? Who won’t embarrass the West by engaging in some act of egregious cruelty, torturing prisoners or executing foes?

There were not many moderates around two years ago, as I found in Al Bab then, and there are far fewer now. A year ago the town was overrun by ISIS and many of the young rebels joined the group; others who remained loyal to brigades affiliated with the FSA pulled out. The bulk of those, according to locals, hooked up with the Islamic Front, a coalition of Islamist militias who are the second largest fighting insurgent formation after ISIS. The front has close ties with al-Nusra.

The Obama administration’s frustration with the rebellion and distrust of the insurgents were overlooked briefly a year ago, when Obama’s “red line” was crossed and Assad used chemical weapons against rebels and civilians. The administration considered taking action. Under skeptical questioning by some lawmakers, Secretary of State John Kerry insisted last summer: “The opposition has increasingly become more defined by its moderation, more defined by the breadth of its membership, and more defined by its adherence to some, you know, democratic process and to an all-inclusive, minority-protecting constitution, which will be broad-based and secular with respect to the future of Syria.”

That wasn’t the case then and it isn’t now. Shortly after Kerry’s comments, a respected British defense consultancy, IHS Jane’s, released a study claiming that more than half of the rebels battling to oust Assad were either jihadists or hardline Islamists.

“There are certainly moderates remaining,” says Jonathan Schanzer, a Mideast expert with the Washington-based think tank the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. “The problem is that they are few in number and lacking in support. They have been marginalized by U.S., European, Turkish, and Arab policies that have only served to boost the presence and capabilities of the more radical factions. It’s unclear to me how Washington’s new approach can help reverse this trend in an urgent or expeditious manner—which is what is needed.”

Most of the militias that are effective fighting formations and have scored off-and-on successes on the battlefield against ISIS are not moderate by Western standards. Most are Islamist to varying degrees and some, like Ahrar al-Sham, which lost most of its top leaders this week in a bomb attack in Idlib, are dedicated to establishing a Sunni theocracy in Syria. They don’t subscribe to transnational jihadism, but they do have strong ties to al-Nusra, which is part of the al Qaeda international franchise.

The most effective anti-ISIS fighters are with the Kurdish self-defense forces of the YPG, but because of their links with the Turkish separatist PKK, which is designated as a terrorist organization by the United States and European countries, they can’t be included in groups that receive Western backing.

According to a report issued this week by the International Crisis Group, the “mainstream” rebel opposition is caught in a desperate plight, “locked in a two-front war against the regime and IS [Islamic State or ISIS], their position is more precarious than at any time since the fighting began.”

ISIS has pressed an offensive north of Aleppo and is threatening to deliver a severe blow to rebel opposition groups by cutting off their supply lines to Turkey. If this can’t be stopped, the Crisis Group warns, the loss “would reverberate throughout the country, pushing many to give up the fight or join a more powerful militant force: IS.”

So speed is also of the essence. But not only is the Obama administration going to find it hard to select rebel groups it can work with, it will also have the problem of persuading them to focus on ISIS at the expense of their struggle against Assad, and if the regime starts making up more ground, that in turn could ignite local Sunni anger to the benefit of the jihadists.

There are already signs emerging that key Islamist groups aren’t ready to fall into line with the Obama agenda. This week a deal was struck between IS and an important Islamist coalition, the Syrian Revolutionaries Front, which is made up of about 20,000 fighters.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based Syrian opposition monitoring group, the jihadists and the Front have agreed “not to attack each other” while fighting the principal enemy, Assad.

Paths to War, Then and Now, Haunt Obama – an excerpt

Posted September 15, 2014 by Louisiana Steve
Categories: Uncategorized

Paths to War, Then and Now, Haunt Obama

(Only one paragraph in this article was worth reading. I posted it below. You can follow the link if you wish to read the complete text. I call this excerpt…Yet Another Declaration of War.-LS)

He made clear the intricacy of the situation, though, as he contemplated the possibility that Mr. Assad might order his forces to fire at American planes entering Syrian airspace. If he dared to do that, Mr. Obama said he would order American forces to wipe out Syria’s air defense system, which he noted would be easier than striking ISIS because its locations are better known. He went on to say that such an action by Mr. Assad would lead to his overthrow, according to one account.

Report: $36 billion in mystery funds enter Turkey

Posted September 14, 2014 by Peter
Categories: Uncategorized

Report: $36 billion in mystery funds enter Turkey

Al-Monitor quotes insiders who speculate that the source of funds could be Iran, Syria or Qatar

In the last 12 years, since the AKP party has taken over Turkey, over $36 billion in cash from undisclosed sources has flowed into Turkey, according to the Washington-based al-Monitor publication.

According to the report, the year 2011 was a record-breaker, with $9.4 billion arriving in mystery funds.

Former Treasury undersecretary Faik Oztrak, now deputy chairman of the main opposition Republican Peoples Party (CHP) told Al-Monitor that the current account deficit is being financed by money coming from unknown, mystery sources.

“In the first six months of this year, $8.8 billion came to Turkey from unknown sources, while $2.6 billion exited Turkey from unknown sources. This means that in the first half of the year there was a net entry of $6.4 billion from unknown sources, which actually means that in the first half of 2014, a $26 portion of each $100 of the current deficit was financed by money from mystery sources. This is extraordinary and needs explanation.”

Oztrak has submitted queries to the minister responsible for economic coordination asking where the money came from but has not received a response, according to Al-Monitor.

Oztrak speculated as to the origin of the funds: “At one point Iran was cited as the source. Now the addresses are Syria and Gulf countries. The state must investigate this seriously and should not allow speculation.”

Political scientist Mustafa Sahin, known to be close to the AKP, told Al-Monitor, “The secret of how Turkey avoided the 2008 global economic crisis is in these mystery funds. …Qatar and other Muslim countries have money in Turkey. These unrecorded funds came to Turkey because of their confidence in Erdogan and the Muslim features of the AKP and the signs of Turkey restoring its historic missions.”

Egypt’s Brotherhood leaders to quit Qatar

Posted September 14, 2014 by Peter
Categories: Uncategorized

Egypt’s Brotherhood leaders to quit Qatar

Qatar has come under tremendous pressure to stop supporting the group and other Islamists

Leaders of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood exiled in Qatar will leave the Gulf country after it came under enormous pressure to cut support for the Islamist group, a Brotherhood official said.

Amr Darrag, a leader of the Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, said several members were relocating to “spare Qatar embarrassment”, in a statement posted on his Facebook page late Friday.

Two Brotherhood officials in Qatar reached by AFP confirmed Darrag’s statement.

Egypt designated the Brotherhood a “terrorist organization” after the military ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in July 2013.

Since then, the group’s exiled leaders set up headquarters in several countries including Turkey, where the leadership in Doha may now relocate to.

“Some figureheads of the Freedom and Justice Party and the Muslim Brotherhood who have been requested to relocate their headquarters outside of Qatar have agreed (to do so),” Darrag said.

The Brotherhood’s secretary general Mahmoud Hussein, who is based in Doha, is thought to be the effective exiled head of the group after Egyptian police detained much of its leadership.

The Brotherhood is blacklisted in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and both countries withdrew their ambassadors from Doha partly over Qatar’s support for the group.

The conservative states of the Gulf view the Brotherhood’s political Islam as a threat to their stability, while Qatar was seen to be backing the movement and other Islamists in a bid to extend its influence in the region.

With the leadership in Qatar likely to relocate to Turkey, where other Brotherhood figures are already based, Istanbul is poised to host the regional headquarters for the 86-year-old movement.

Other leaders are based in Britain, which has conducted an inquiry into the Brotherhood’s alleged links to militants.

Qatar has come under tremendous pressure, mostly from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to stop supporting the Brotherhood and other Islamists such as the militias that have overrun the Libyan capital Tripoli.

But the decision to relocate the Brotherhood’s leaders will leave an estimated dozens of Islamist activists in Doha, and does not suggest a major change in Qatar’s policies, said Andrew Hammond, an analyst with European Council on Foreign Relations.

“I don’t think it signals a major shift in policy, it looks like incremental concessions to placate (Qatar’s) neighbors and prevent the dispute from getting out of hand,” he said.

Cairo and its Gulf allies have also campaigned against the Doha-based Al-Jazeerabroadcaster, whose journalists have been imprisoned in Egypt. The network’s Arabic channels have strongly opposed Morsi’s overthrow.

“The other issue is what happens with Jazeera‘s line. Does that shift? Nothing has changed so far,” Hammond said.


Obama understands neither war nor Islam

Posted September 14, 2014 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Uncategorized

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Obama understands neither war nor Islam, Dan Miller’s Blog, September 14, 2014

Winston Churchill understood both. Instead of “blood, toil, tears and sweat,” Obama offers a coalition of unwilling nations which reject our basic values of freedom. He intends to arm and train “moderate” Islamists who not only reject our basic values but are likely to help the Islamic State and its various cohorts and permutations. 

ISIS scared

Islam is as Islamists do

Is Islam the “religion of peace? Here’s a video of a debate held nearly three years ago in New York City.

While arguing that Islam is now peaceful, the debaters so arguing also argued that they hoped it would become so. One even urged those watching the debate to vote that it is a peaceful religion to help it to become one.

Please see also the current discussion at Yale on whether Hirsi Ali should be permitted to speak. The Muslim Students’ Association,

along with 35 co-signing student organizations, including the Yale Women’s Center, the Slifka Center (Yale’s hub for Jewish life), the Black Student Alliance, and Yale Students for Israel, sent a campus-wide e-mail that argued that Hirsi Ali’s history of “hate speech” and provocative statements, which include advocating the “defeat” of Islam, ought to disqualify her from speaking at Yale. They felt “disrespected,” they said, by the very act of inviting her; evidently they found her ideas too dangerous and her words too caustic for the virgin ears of their fellow undergraduates.

Some fine day, Islam may become peaceful and tolerant of other religions. However, we are stuck with Islam as it is now, not as it once may have been and not as it may eventually become. Islam, despite fantasies about the cataclysmic horrors of man-made global warming climate change, is the greatest threat to Western civilization and must be dealt with accordingly.

Obama and the Islamic State

On September 12th, Mark Steyn opined that

When it comes to war, [Obama] suffers from an additional burden: before he can persuade anybody else, he first has to persuade himself. And he can’t do it. So he gave the usual listless performance of a surly actor who resents the part he’s been given. It’s not just the accumulation of equivocations and qualifications – the “Islamic State” is not Islamic, our war with them is not a war, there’ll be no boots on the ground except the exotic footwear of a vast unspecified coalition – but something more basic: What he mainly communicates is that he doesn’t mean it. [Emphasis added.]

Unlike Obama, Churchill left no doubt that he understood war and that he intended to achieve victory over the horrors of Nazism. That is what happened.

Churchill had long urged the civilized world to halt the advance of Nazism. Nazism, Communism and Islam are similar.

[A]ll three are predicated on supremacist propositions – namely that a group of people is inherently superior to all the others.  What exactly that Master Group is depends on the specific differentiator that the particular ideology is centred upon.  Since Nazism saw the world through a ‘racial’ perspective, its fundamental proposition was the superiority of the ‘Aryan race’ (the Master Race or Herrenvolk); centred on ‘social’ differences, the Communists decreed that the ‘proletariat’ was inherently loftier than every other class; for the Islamists, whose particular angle is ‘religious’, it is the adherents of Islam that are ‘entitled’ to unquestioned, divinely-ordained supremacy. [Emphasis added.]

. . . .

[A]ll three extreme ideologies promote a world view in which there is an inherent, perpetual and inevitable conflict between the superior or ‘Master Group’ (race, class or religion) and ‘the others’.  ‘The others’, needless to say, despite being fundamentally inferior, are intent on subjugating the Master Group.   The conflict (call it ‘Kampf um Lebensraum’, ‘class struggle’ or ‘jihad’) is fundamental not just to the ideology, but also to its practical implementation.  Conflicts (especially when portrayed as global and quasi-existential) represent ‘exceptional circumstances’ or ‘force majeure’; as such, they justify employing ‘exceptional means’. [Emphasis added.]

. . . .

ll three ideologies have a similar ultimate goal: to do away with the extant ‘injustice’ and replace it with a ‘new global order’.  The end is thus, invariably, the ‘Perfect World’; so perfect, in fact, that that end justifies and even sanctifies the murderous means.  That ‘Perfect World’ – call it Millenarian Reich, Global Commune or Islamic Caliphate – will be achieved as a result of the Master Group’s final victory over ‘the others’. [Emphasis added.]

Going to war with Islam may not be enough and “reeducation” may also be necessary. However, it is necessary to get their attention, in ways they can understand, first.

A coalition of the unwilling

Who is in the alleged coalition and what does Obama want them to do? The Obama Administration is not saying.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough repeatedly declined to say whether any other countries have agreed to provide troops on the ground in Syria as a part of President Obama’s efforts to build a coalition.

He repeatedly said Americans would hear the news from Secretary of State John Kerry later this week.

But then he said that the president wasn’t looking for boots-on-the-ground troops, after all.

“Other [countries] have suggested that they’re willing to do that, but that’s not what we’re looking for right now,” McDonough said.

What does Obama want His alleged coalition to do? Send imams armed with fatwas urging that the IS, et al, repent and become true (and therefore peaceful) Islamists?

Please see also Coalition of the unwilling, US Gen. John Allen named to lead coalition war on ISIS, but allies deterred by Obama’s ambiguities, Turkey’s Frankenstein Monster and Obama, the Islamic State and Islam, the enemy which shall not be named.

“Moderate, vetted rebels”

As noted by Patrick Poole at PJ Tatler on September 13th in an article titled Yet Another US-Backed Syrian Rebel Group Makes Peace With ISIS,

Obama’s hopes to do anything of substance in Syria has taken another severe blow as the US-backed and armed Syrian Revolutionaries Front (SRF) has struck a peace deal with ISIS yesterday according to both Arabic and English language news reports. [Emphasis added.]

The SRF had only a few months ago been deemed by the US foreign policy establishment as “the West’s best fighting chance against Syria’s Islamist armies.”

Now AFP reports:

Syrian rebels and jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria have agreed a non-aggression pact for the first time in a suburb of the capital Damascus, a monitoring group said on Friday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the ceasefire deal was agreed between ISIS and moderate and Islamist rebels in Hajar al-Aswad, south of the capital.

Under the deal, “the two parties will respect a truce until a final solution is found and they promise not to attack each other because they consider the principal enemy to be the Nussayri regime.”

Nussayri is a pejorative term for the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam to which President Bashar al-Assad belongs.

According to the media reports other groups joining the ceasefire with ISIS include Liwa Ahrar Turkman al-Golan, Liwa Hittin & Liwa al-Umma al-Wahida.

As Congress takes up a bill to fund Obama’s plan to arm and train so-called “vetted moderate” Syrian rebels, even some analysts are beginning to admit that finding the right allies in Syria will be difficult. With the State Department’s disastrous record so far of identifying “vetted moderate” rebel groups who refuse to ally with Al-Qaeda and ISIS, and ISIS leaders openly bragging about the US arming and training rebels groups that have now defected to ISIS, some prudent caution on the part of Congress is in order before throwing more money and weapons into Syria and Iraq.


Obama claims to believe that Islam, like all other religions, rejects violence and those who use it. However, Christians, Jews and others neither torture nor behead infidels and apostates. The IS, et al, do that. Nor do Christians and Jews fight wars to force others to embrace their religions. The IS, et al, also do that. However, based on the words and actions of the United Nations against Israel, one might conclude that “Zionists” are worse than the Islamic State and its affiliates.

Is the legacy that Obama wants to leave behind when He vacates the White House one of peace through submission to Islam? It seems so, and far too many appear to react with apathy rather than alarm. Will there be enough time — and sufficient will — after He leaves office to pursue a policy of peace through victory? If not, Islam will continue to be violent and, most likely, will become even more violent than now.

Mr. Magoo

Here, as a public service, is a video on how to behave during an Islamic massacre:

OFF TOPIC: Jon Stewart Rips Into Obama’s ‘America, F*ck Yeah!’ ISIS Speech

Posted September 14, 2014 by Peter
Categories: Uncategorized

An intervention: Dennis Ross tries to end Obama’s infatuation with appeasing Iran – The Washington Post

Posted September 14, 2014 by Joseph Wouk
Categories: Uncategorized

An intervention: Dennis Ross tries to end Obama’s infatuation with appeasing Iran – The Washington Post.

September 12

I read Dennis Ross’s op-ed in the New York Times as a message in a bottle, floated down the Potomac to the White House. We should hope someone scoops it up and heeds its warning. Ross doesn’t say it directly, but the inevitable conclusion is: Don’t cozy up to Iran.

You might think this is self-evident, but it hardly is and, in fact, our Sunni allies and a fair number of critics suspect that this is Obama’s aim, his attempt at re-conceiving the Middle East. Why else stiff the Green Revolution, “engage” Iran, enthusiastically embrace the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt, try to rope in Qatar (a Hamas patron) and Turkey (another Iran ally) in truce talks on Gaza and ignore Iranian provocations while working toward a deal on nukes that relaxes sanctions and one day envisions an Iran with no restrictions on its nuclear weapons program?

Ross puts it delicately: “On one side are the Islamists — both Sunni and Shiite. ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood represent the Sunni end of the spectrum, while the Islamic Republic of Iran and its militias, including Hezbollah (in Lebanon and Syria) and Asaib Ahl al-Haq (in Iraq), constitute the other. Many of these Islamists are at war with one other, but they are also engaged in a bitter struggle with non-Islamists to define the fundamental identity of the region and its states. What the Islamists all have in common is that they subordinate national identities to an Islamic identity.” (He might want to include Israel since the Obama administration seems to regard Israel as a burden, not its most important ally in the region.) Translation: Don’t think you can pal around with Tehran and form an alliance against Sunni jihadists.

Ross reiterates who the non-Islamist good guys are (“traditional monarchies, authoritarian governments in Egypt and Algeria, and secular reformers who may be small in number but have not disappeared. They do not include Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria; he is completely dependent on Iran and Hezbollah and cannot make decisions without them”). He then continues: “Today, the non-Islamists want to know that the United States supports them. For America, that means not partnering with Iran against ISIS, though both countries may avoid interfering with each other’s operations against the insurgents in Iraq.” Translation: Again, do not pal around with Iran.

And here’s the tough message, which suggests that Ross is worried about what the Obama/Susan Rice/Valerie Jarrett brain trust is up to inside the hermetically sealed White House:

It means actively competing with Iran in the rest of the region, independently of whether an acceptable nuclear deal can be reached with Tehran. It means recognizing that Egypt is an essential part of the anti-Islamist coalition, and that American military aid should not be withheld because of differences over Egypt’s domestic behavior.

Translation: Don’t think you can buy Iran off with a sweetheart nuclear deal or ignore its aggressive behavior so as to get a nuclear deal to wave in triumph.

Just to be certain, Ross twice more warns the White House not to buddy up to Iran: “The Obama administration worries about the consequences of excluding all Islamists. . . [D]o not reach out to Islamists; their creed is not compatible with pluralism or democracy.”

It is stunning when you think the administration has been so accommodating toward a regime that seeks to wipe Israel off the planet, defies international injunctions against nuclear weapons, is the largest state sponsor of terror, seeks to subvert traditional U.S. allies and brutalizes its people. Yet Obama has refused to pursue regime change; done nothing effective to dislodge Iran’s junior partner Bashar al-Assad; once counted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan among his best international friends; done nothing to retaliate against the attempted assassination of a Saudi official on U.S. soil; been largely mum on Iran’s dreadful human rights record; refused to intercept Iranian arms shipments around the region; and threatened to veto more sanctions while then proceeding to drag out the negotiations. If not an explicit alliance, you can’t help but see Obama as trying to woo Iran and reach some reconciliation.

The administration has said as much. John Kerry in March, 2013 announced, “Despite the difficult history of the last decades between the United States and Iran, there is an opportunity to work diplomatically to reduce tensions and address the mistrust between our two countries, to the mutual benefit of both of our people.” Less than a year ago The Post reported on Obama’s speech to the United Nations: “President Obama said . . . that he will use the remainder of his term to pursue better relations with Iran in the hope of resolving the controversy surrounding its nuclear program, pledging an activist U.S. agenda in the Middle East and beyond despite growing isolationist pressure at home.” Indeed he could not have been more solicitous:

The United States and Iran have been isolated from one another since the Islamic revolution of 1979. This mistrust has deep roots. Iranians have long complained of a history of U.S. interference in their affairs and of America’s role in overthrowing the Iranian government during the Cold War. On the other hand, Americans see an Iranian government that has declared the United States an enemy and directly or through proxies taken American hostages, killed U.S. troops and civilians, and threatened our ally Israel with destruction.

I don’t believe this difficult history can be overcome overnight. The suspicions run too deep. But I do believe that if we can resolve the issue of Iran’s nuclear program, that can serve as a major step down a long road toward a different relationship, one based on mutual interests and mutual respect.

Since I took office, I’ve made it clear in letters to the supreme leader in Iran and more recently to President Rouhani that America prefers to resolve our concerns over Iran’s nuclear program peacefully — although we are determined to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

We are not seeking regime change, and we respect the right of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy.

Yikes! Now you see why Ross might be concerned. Perhaps he needs to say it a few more times: Stop trying to ingratiate yourself with Iran, Mr. President.


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