Contentions | Has Obama Read the Khamenei Palestine Book?

Posted August 4, 2015 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Diplomacy, Dishonor, Foreign policy, Ideology, Imperialism, Iran scam, Iranian anti-semitism, Iranian proxies, Iranian Threats, Israel, Jews, Khamenei, Middle East, Obama, Obama's affinity for Iran, Obama's America, Obama's anti-semitism, Obama's legacy, Obama's motivations, P5+1, Palestinians, Peace in our time, Peace process, Progressives, Settlements, Two state solution, U.S. Congress

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Contentions | Has Obama Read the Khamenei Palestine Book? Commentary Magazine, August 4, 2015

(Another interesting question would be, does Obama agree with any of Khamenei’s statements and, if so, which? — DM)

The Khamenei Palestine book is important not in and of itself but because the regime’s obsession with Israel is a key to its foreign policy. . . . But as much as Iran is focused on regional hegemony in which Sunni states would be brought to heel, as Khamenei’s Palestine illustrates, it is the fixation on Israel and Zionism that really animates their expansionism and aid for terror groups.

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It turns out President Obama isn’t the only world leader who writes books. His counterpart in Iran – Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — has also just published a new book. But while it may not be as introspective as Obama’s Dreams From My Father, it does tell us at least as much about the vision of the person in charge in Tehran (as opposed to Hassan Rouhani, the faux moderate who serves as its president) as the president’s best-selling memoir. As Amir Taheri reports in the New York Post, Palestine is a 416-page diatribe against the existence of the state of Israel and a call to arms for it to be destroyed. Supporters of the nuclear deal the president has struck with Khamenei’s regime may dismiss this book as merely one more example of the Supreme Leader’s unfortunate ideology that must be overlooked. But as the New York Times noted last week, the administration’s real goal here isn’t so much in delaying Iran’s march to a nuclear weapon (which is the most that can be claimed for the agreement) as it is fostering détente with it. Seen in that light, the latest evidence of the malevolence of the Islamist regime should be regarded as yet another inarguable reason for Congress to vote the deal down.

In his interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg on May 21, President Obama was asked directly about the significance of Iran’s anti-Semitism and its commitment to destroying Israel. The president said the anti-Semitism of the Iranian leadership did not mean they weren’t also “interested in survival” or being “rational.” As far as he was concerned, the ideology of the regime was not something that would influence its decisions.

But everything Khamenei says and, even more importantly, everything the regime does, by funding terrorist groups at war with Israel such as Hamas and Hezbollah or by embarking on a ruinously expensive nuclear project that placed it in conflict with the West, speaks to its commitment to policies that Obama may think are irrational but which are completely in synch with what he called its “organizing principle.” Why would a nation so rich in oil need to risk international isolation or war seek nuclear power if not to help Khamenei fulfill his pledge to “liberate” what is now Israel for Muslims?

The president told Goldberg that the American military option would be a sufficient deterrent to ensure that Iran didn’t violate the nuclear pact or behave in an irrational manner. But since the president has ruled out the use of force in a categorical manner, it’s hard to see why the Iranians would fear it once the U.S. and Europe are doing business with them. Even if it was a matter of snapping back sanctions, assuming that such a concept is even possible? Once the restrictions are unraveled, it’s fair to ask why would they work then when the president repeatedly tells us additional sanctions won’t work now and require us to accept the current deal that doesn’t achieve the objectives that the administration set for the negotiations when they began.

The Khamenei Palestine book is important not in and of itself but because the regime’s obsession with Israel is a key to its foreign policy. Iran constitutes a grave threat to Neighboring Arab countries that are at least as angry about the president’s embrace of Tehran as the Israelis since their nuclear status would undermine their security. But as much as Iran is focused on regional hegemony in which Sunni states would be brought to heel, as Khamenei’s Palestine illustrates, it is the fixation on Israel and Zionism that really animates their expansionism and aid for terror groups.

As Taheri notes in his article on the book, Khamenei distinguishes his idée fixe about destroying Israel from European anti-Semitism. Rather, he insists, that his policy derives from “well established Islamic principles.” Chief among them is the idea that any land that was once ruled by Muslims cannot be conceded to non-believers no matter who lives there now. While the Muslim world seems to understand that they’re not getting Spain back, the territory that constitutes the state of Israel is something else. Its central location in the middle of the Muslim and Arab worlds and the fact that Jews, a despised minority people, now rule it makes its existence particularly objectionable to Islamists like Khamenei.

Khamenei’s book shows that not only is he serious about wanting to destroy Israel and uproot its Jewish population, he regards this project as a practical rather than a theoretical idea. The administration ignores this because it wants to believe that Iran is a nation that wants to, as the president put it, “get right with the world.” But what it wants is to do business with the world while pursuing its ideological goals. The nuclear deal is a means to an end for the regime and that end does not involve good relations with the West or cooperation with other states in the region, let alone coexisting peacefully with Israel.

What is curious is that this is the same administration that regarded the announcement of a housing project in Jerusalem by low-level Israeli officials as an “insult” to Vice President Biden. But it chooses to regard the “death to America” chants led by regime functionaries in Iran as well as a book by the country’s leader indicating that Obama’s ideas about its character are fallacious as non-events. The only explanation for this remarkable lack of interest in Iranian behavior is an ideological fixation on détente with Tehran that is every bit as hardcore as any utterances that emanate from the mouth or the pen of the Supreme Leader.

Taken out of the context of a vision of friendship with the Iranian regime, the nuclear deal makes no sense. Yet squaring that vision with Khamenei’s literary effort is impossible. Members of the House and Senate must take note of this conundrum and vote accordingly.

Israeli Preemptive Action, Western Reaction

Posted August 4, 2015 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Diplomacy, Dishonor, Foreign policy, Holocaust, Ideology, Iran / Israel War, Iran scam, Iranian nukes, Israel, Netanyahu, Obama, Obama's affinity for Iran, Obama's America, Obama's anti-semitism, Obama's legacy, P5+1, Peace in our time, U.S. politics

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Israeli Preemptive Action, Western Reaction, National Review, Victor Davis Hanson, August 4, 2015

[W]e should conclude that any deal that leads, now or in the near future, to an Iranian bomb is unacceptable to Israel — a nation that will likely soon have no choice but to consider the unthinkable in order to prevent the unimaginable.

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Will Israel do the unthinkable to stop the unimaginable?

The Obama administration seems peeved that almost everyone in Israel, left and right, has no use for the present Iranian–American deal to thwart Iran’s efforts to get the bomb. Indeed, at times John Kerry has hinted darkly that Israel’s opposition to the pact might incur American wrath should the deal be tabled — even though Kerry knows that the polls show a clear majority of Americans being against the proposed agreement while remaining quite supportive of the Jewish state. President Obama, from time to time, suggests that his agreement is being sabotaged by nefarious lobbying groups, big-time check writers, and neoconservative supporters of the Iraq war — all shorthand, apparently, for pushy Jewish groups.

Obama and his negotiators seem surprised that Israelis take quite seriously Iranian leaders’ taunts over the past 35 years that they would like to liquidate the Jewish state and everyone in it. The Israelis, for some reason, remember that well before Hitler came to power, he had bragged about the idea of killing Jews en masse in his sloppily composed autobiographical Mein Kampf. Few in Germany or abroad had taken the raving young Hitler too seriously. Even in the late 1930s, when German Jews were being rounded up and haphazardly killed on German streets by state-sanctioned thugs, most observers considered such activities merely periodic excesses or outbursts from non-governmental Black- and Brownshirts.

The Obama administration, with vast oceans between Tehran and the United States, tsk-tsks over Iranian threats as revolutionary hyperbole served up for domestic consumption. The Israelis, with less than a thousand miles between themselves and Tehran, do not — and cannot. Given the 20th century’s history, Israel has good reason not to trust either the United States or Europe to ensure the security of the Jewish state. Israel has learned from the despicable anti-Semitism now prevalent at the U.N. and from the increasing thuggery directed at Jews in Europe that the world at large would shed crocodile tears over the passing of Israel on the day of its destruction, but, the next day, sigh and get right back to business in a “that was then, this is now” style.

In 1981 the Israelis took out the Iraqi nuclear reactor — sold to Saddam Hussein by France. They were ritually blasted as state terrorists and worse by major U.S. newspapers and at the United Nations — though not by Khomeini’s Iran, which earlier had failed in a preemptive bombing strike to do much damage to the Osirak reactor. Today, in retrospect, most nations are privately glad that the Israelis removed the reactor from a country that had hundreds of years’ worth of natural-gas and oil supplies and no need for nuclear power — and that is now under assault from ISIS.

In 2007, when the Israelis preempted once more, and destroyed the al-Kibar nuclear facility that was under construction in Syria, the world, after initial silence, again in Pavlovian fashion became outraged at such preemptive bombing. The global chorus claimed that there was no intelligence confirming that the North Koreans had helped to launch a Syrian uranium-enrichment plant.

Yet eight years later, most observers abroad once again privately shrug that Bashar Assad most certainly had hired the Koreans to build a nuclear processing plant — and are quietly satisfied that the Israelis took care of it. Note that the al-Kibar site lies in territory now controlled by ISIS. One can imagine a variety of terrifying contemporary scenarios had the Israelis not preempted. Most of those who condemned Israel’s attack would now be worrying about an ISIS improvised explosive device, packed with dirty uranium, that might go off in a major Western city.

In all these cases, the Israelis assumed that Western intelligence about nuclear proliferation in the Middle East was unreliable. They took for granted that Westerners automatically would blame Israelis for any preemptive attack against an Islamic nuclear site. And they likewise concluded that, privately and belatedly, Westerners would eventually be happy that the Israelis had belled the would-be nuclear cat.

But in a larger sense, the Israelis also recall the sad story of the West and the Holocaust less than 75 years ago — a horror central to the birthing of a “never again” Jewish state. By 1943, the outlines of the Nazis’ Final Solution were well known in both Washington and London; Jews were already being gassed at German death camps in Poland in an effort to kill every Jew from the Atlantic Ocean to the Volga River.

It was also a matter of record that the major Western democracies — America, Britain, and prewar France — had refused sanctuary to millions of Jewish refugees who had been stripped of their property by the Third Reich and told to leave Germany and its occupied territories. In some notorious cases, shiploads of Jews were turned away after docking in Western ports and were sent back to Nazi-occupied Europe, where the passengers were disembarked and soon afterward gassed. Moreover, Israelis understand that Hitler’s Final Solution would have been far more difficult to implement without the active participation of sympathetic anti-Semites in occupied European nations, who volunteered to round up their own Jews and send them on German trains eastward to the death camps.

In the case of the United States, anti-Semitic or indifferent officials high up in the State Department and elsewhere within the Roosevelt administration went out of their way to hide data about the plight of Jewish refugees, and circumvented protocol in order to refuse entry into the United States to the vast majority of Jews fleeing the Holocaust. The British were nearly as exclusionary, and also did their best to stop Jewish refugees from fleeing to Palestine to escape the death camps.

As it happens, Fascist and Nazi-allied Japan was sometimes more sympathetic to Jews desperate to leave Europe than were the Allies. Indeed, Hitler and his Nazi top echelon constantly bragged about the fact that neither the Allied powers nor occupied European nations wanted to take Jews off Berlin’s hands — proof, in Nazi eyes, of a supportive wink-and-nod attitude to the Holocaust. Each time the Allies published a threat to the Nazi leadership that there would be an accounting and war-crime trials after the war, Hitler, Goebbels, and Himmler remembered that none of these outraged governments wanted to accept Jews themselves, and thus they must secretly still have remained indifferent to their fate. Thus the threats rang hollow to the Nazis, and the crematoria burned on.

By mid-1943 at the latest, American authorities had comprehensive knowledge — from firsthand reports by camp escapees, from photo reconnaissance, and from brave Germans who passed on detailed inside information through the neutral Swiss — of the vast scope of the Holocaust. They were constantly beseeched by international Jewish advocates to at least bomb the crematoria and gas chambers at Auschwitz, which were within range of the Allies’ four-engine heavy bombers. Indeed, an Allied bombing mission would on occasion hit one of the key German factories that surrounded Auschwitz itself — to the delight of the doomed inmates of the death camps.

Given that eventually over 10,000 Jews per day were being gassed and cremated at Auschwitz, almost every Jewish leader advocated bombing the camps to destroy the rail links, the intricate camp machinery, and the SS guards so essential to the perpetration of the Holocaust. Again, such pleas were met with both indifference and lies, once more offered up by heralded American statesmen like U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Breckinridge Long and well-connected consigliere and future “wise man” John McCloy of the War Department. The latter falsely argued at times that the camps were not really in reach of Allied bombers, or that the numbers of Jews being slaughtered were exaggerated, or that the diversion of even one or two missions from the strategic bombing of Germany would hamper the entire Allied war effort.

After the war, with rising Cold War tensions and a need to ensure that the West German public remained firmly in the new NATO alliance, many Nazi war criminals either were let out of prison early, had their sentences commuted, or were never charged at all. For all the Western empathy about the horrific Final Solution, Jews remembered (1) that it would once have been possible to save many fleeing Jews, if only the democracies had just allowed in political refugees; (2) that many of the death camps could have been leveled by Allied bombers in their last year or two of full-bore operation, saving perhaps 2 to 3 million of the doomed; and (3) that the political expediency of the postwar Western alliance had trumped bringing Nazi war criminals to a full accounting for their horrendous acts.

The Israelis have taken to heart lots of lessons over the last 70 years. They have concluded that often the world quietly wants Israel to deal with existential threats emanating from the Middle East while loudly damning it when it does. They have learned from the experience of the Holocaust that, for good or evil, Jews are on their own and can never again trust in the world’s professed humanity to prevent another Holocaust. And they are convinced that they can also never again err on the side of the probability that national leaders, with deadly weapons in their grasp, do not really mean all the unhinged things they shout and scream about killing Jews.

Given all that, we should conclude that any deal that leads, now or in the near future, to an Iranian bomb is unacceptable to Israel — a nation that will likely soon have no choice but to consider the unthinkable in order to prevent the unimaginable.

More bad news for Obama from Iran about the secret deals

Posted August 4, 2015 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Diplomacy, Dishonor, Foreign policy, IAEA, Ideology, Iran - secret deal, Iran nuke inspections, Iranian media, Iranian missiles, Iranian nukes, Kerry, Khamenei, Obama, Obama's affinity for Iran, Obama's America, Obama's legacy, P5+1, Sanctions, U.S. Congress, United Nations

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More bad news for Obama from Iran about the secret deals, Dan Miller’s Blog, August 4, 2015

(The views expressed in this article are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of Warsclerotic or its other editors. — DM)

An Iranian official recently stated that no International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) personnel will be permitted to enter military or missile sites. Another stated that “no country is permitted to know the details of future inspections conducted by the IAEA.” Their statements are probably consistent. There may well be other secret deals we don’t know about and perhaps never will. Meanwhile, Iran is preparing to test long range ballistic missiles “to prove that the missile ban was invalid.”

It's not MY fault.

It’s not MY fault.

I. No IAEA inspections of the sites that matter most

Entry-into-Iran-military-sites-forbidden (1)

In an interview on Al Jazeera TV last week Ali Akbar Velayati, Security Adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader, stated that

United Nations nuclear inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency would not be given access to Tehran’s sensitive military nuclear sites.

. . . .

“First, allow me to emphasize that the issue of the missiles and of Iran’s defensive capabilities were not part of the negotiations to begin with,” Velayati said. [Emphasis added.]

“No matter what pressure is exerted, Iran never has negotiated and never will negotiate with others – America, Europe, or any other country – about the nature and quality of missiles it should manufacture or possess, or about the defensive military equipment that it needs. This is out of the question.” [Emphasis added.]

A video of Mr. Velayati remarks, with translations by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), is available here. Since I have been unable to find it on You Tube I have no way to embed it.

Unfortunately, Mr. Velayati is essentially correct. The November 2013 Joint Plan of Action focused almost exclusively on Uranium enrichment, to the exclusion of the “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s military nuclear activities including missile research, development and testing.

II. Details of IAEA inspections will not be disclosed

Reza Najafi, Iran’s ambassador and permanent envoy to the IAEA, stated over the weekend that “no country is permitted to know the details of future inspections conducted by the IAEA.”

Najafi’s statement could mean (a) that no details about inspection methodology will be disclosed, (b) that no details about inspection results will be disclosed or (c) both. If inspection methodologies — who did the inspections as well as when, where and how, are not disclosed, what useful purpose will they serve, other than for Iran? If details of the results of inspections are not disclosed, that will also be the case. How, in either or both cases, will the members of the P5+1 negotiating teams have sufficient information to decide whether to “snap back” sanctions — if doing so is now even possible — or anything else?

III. Even details about inspections of non-military sites will be hidden

Considering Parts I and II together, and assuming that the statements of Iranian officials are reasonably consistent and not mere gaffes, IAEA personnel will be permitted to inspect non-military sites only and hence only to keep tabs on Uranium enrichment; even the details of those inspections will not be disclosed. Is that what Kerry and the other P5+1 negotiators had (pardon the expression) in mind?

IV. Iran says, Ballistic missile testing and development are OK

games

As reported by DEBKAfile,

Shortly before US Secretary of State John Kerry was due in Qatar Monday, Aug. 3, Iran’s highest authorities led by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Sunday launched a public campaign to support Tehran’s noncompliance with the Vienna nuclear accord and UN Security Council Resolution 2231 of July 20, on its ballistic missile program. The campaign was designed by a team from Khamenei’s office, high-ranking ayatollahs and the top echelons of the Revolutionary Guards, including its chief, Gen. Ali Jafari. [Emphasis added.]

It was kicked off with a batch of petitions fired off by the students of nine Tehran universities and Qom religious seminaries to Iran’s chief of staff Maj Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, demanding immediate tests of long-range ballistic missiles to prove that the missile ban was invalid. [Emphasis added.]

. . . .

The Security Council Resolution, which unanimously endorsed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Vienna nuclear accord) signed by Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, called on Iran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic technology until the date eight years after the JCPOA Adoption Day.” [Emphasis added.]

Tehran retorted that none of its ballistic missiles were designed to deliver nuclear weapons, and so this provision was void. Shortly after its passage, the foreign ministry in Tehran issued an assurance that “…the country’s ballistic missile program and capability is untouched and unrestricted by Resolution 2231.” [Emphasis added.]

This appears to confirm that all of Iran’s ballistic missile sites are off-limits to inspectors.

V. What does Kerry know?

When questioned by members of Congress on the secret deals, Secretary Kerry testified that he had neither seen nor read them but that he had been fully briefed and knew “exactly” what they say. Put charitably, it seems unlikely that he knew that much.

Less charitably, Kerry knew far more than he said and declined to be forthcoming. Now that two Iranian officials have provided highly important information, thus far probably unknown to Congress, will Kerry have additional comments? Not if he can help it.

VI. Conclusions

I wrote early and often about the miserable “deal” about to be entered into by P5+1 under Obama’s dubious leadership. As Iranian officials provide additional information it should be clear — even to the most enthusiastic “deal” supporters — that the “deal” is far worse than earlier thought possible and that the U.S. Congress is obligated to disapprove it and to override any Obama veto, partisan politics notwithstanding.

Qatari Group Accused of Funding Hamas Hires D.C. Lobbyist

Posted August 4, 2015 by joopklepzeiker
Categories: Uncategorized

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Qatari Group Accused of Funding Hamas Hires D.C. Lobbyist

Founding member Abd al-Rahman al-Nu’aym funneled millions to al Qaeda in Syria, Iraq

BY:
August 4, 2015 5:00 am

via Qatari Group Accused of Funding Hamas Hires D.C. Lobbyist | Washington Free Beacon.

A Qatar-based charity accused of funding Hamas has hired a lobbyist to represent it in the United States.

The Sheikh Eid Bin Mohammed al-Thani Charitable Foundation, located in Doha, Qatar, recently brought aboard Wendell Belew, a Washington D.C.-based lawyer, to lobby on its behalf. Belew, who will work on issues dealing with “NGO regulations and charity best practices,” previously served as chief counsel of the House Budget Committee.

The foundation was one of 36 organizations banned in Israel in July 2008 for its links to fundraising for Hamas.

“This is a significant step against the global network which assists Hamas in raising funds. The order outlaws a great number of bodies that are active abroad and which are responsible for raising very large sums,” the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs said at the time of the foundation bans.

Abd al-Rahman al-Nu’aymi, a founding member of the organization, was said by U.S. officials in 2013 to have funneled millions of dollars to al Qaeda in Syria and Iraq.

The Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions on Nu’aymi in December 2013 after he was named a specially designated global terrorist for being a “financier and facilitator who has provided money and material support and conveyed communications to al-Qa’ida and its affiliates in Syria, Iraq, Somalia and Yemen for more than a decade.”

Nu’aymi ordered the transfer of $600,000 through an al Qaeda representative in Syria with the intention of transferring at least $50,000 more at a later date, according to the Treasury. Additionally, he oversaw a transfer of $2 million per month to al Qaeda in Iraq for an unspecified period of time.

This is not the first time that Belew has worked on behalf of a group with ties to terrorist organizations.

Belew previously represented the Saudi Arabia-based Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, an organization that was found to be a significant backer of al Qaeda.

In July 2004, Aqeel Abdulaziz Aqeel al-Aqeel, the foundation’s leader, was put on the United Nations Security Council Special Notice list of terrorists associated with al Qaeda.

In September 2004, the Treasury announced that the foundation’s American branch, which is based out of Oregon, had direct connections with Osama Bin Laden.

The Treasury investigation found “direct links” between the American branch and Osama bin Laden. It also alleged that the foundation had violated tax laws and engaged in other money laundering offenses. Individuals associated with the branch tried to conceal funds intended for Chechnya by omitting the information from their tax returns and instead claimed that the money was intended to purchase a prayer house in Springfield, Mo.

The Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation is now defunct. Wendell Belew could not be reached for comment.

Funding the Mullahs’ exeution spree

Posted August 4, 2015 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Diplomacy, Dishonor, Executions, Foreign policy, Human rights, Iran scam, Khamenei, Obama, Obama's affinity for Iran, Obama's America, Obama's legacy, P5+1, Sanctions, Theocracy, U.S. Constitution

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Funding the Mullahs’ exeution spree, Front Page MagazineDr. Majid Rafizadeh, August 4, 2015

(Yet “progressive” supporters of the “deal” seem not to be bothered — unless an African lion is killed. — DM)

hangings_in_iran_wikimedia_groundreport.com_640_0

Unfortunately, although President Obama is very vocal about defending the nuclear deal, the lifting of economic sanctions on the Ayatollah, the release of over a hundred of billion dollars to the ruling clerics of Iran, he has not issued any serious criticism against the leaders of the Islamic Republic with regards to the execution spree.

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How the Obama administration is facilitating Iran’s unprecedented killing binge.

President Obama is determined to defend the Islamic Republic as a legitimate government that should receive sanctions relief. He has even overstepped his constitutional authority by signing the nuclear deal (a treaty) in the United Nations Security Council without getting the two-third vote of the Senate. He did not give Congress time to review the nuclear deal as he previously promised.

The Obama administration is advocating for a regime that has been on an execution spree on an unprecedented level, according to Amnesty International’s latest report. Since the beginning of this year, the Islamic Republic has executed approximately 700 people.

People being executed are usually not told about their death sentence until the noose is put around their neck and until they reach the gallows. Family members of the victims often do not know about the execution until weeks after.

As Said Boumedouha, deputy director of Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa program said, “Iran’s staggering execution toll for the first half of this year paints a sinister picture of the machinery of the state carrying out premeditated, judicially-sanctioned killings on a mass scale.” He added, “The use of the death penalty is always abhorrent, but it raises additional concerns in a country like Iran where trials are blatantly unfair.”

I regularly speak with Iranian people living in various cities in Iran including Esfahan, Tehran, Tabriz, and Khorasan in order to obtain a better understanding on the ground. My family lives there too. The words of every one of them (about the current situation in Iran after the nuclear deal was reached) echoes what Zahra, an English teacher in the province of Esfahan, told me. She said, “Any cash given to the these Sheikhs in the government (the clerics) by the powers because of the nuclear deal, will not be distributed to the people. The money will not be used to improve people’s economic standards. The people on top will steal the money, saving it in their bank accounts, or send it to their Arab allies, Bashar Al Assad, Hezbollah, and the Iraqi government. They [Iranian leaders] are also going to increase domestic suppression if they begin seeing the flow of cash.”

If we look at the history of the Islamic Republic closely, we see that when a “reformist” president (Mohammad Khatami) was in power in Iran, the nation witnessed the same increase in executions and suppression. It was one of the worst periods of oppression and crackdowns on civil liberties. In addition, the number of executions normally rises under the so-called “moderates” and “reformists” rules.

When Iranian people feel that they might finally have a better relationships with the West, the ruling establishments ratchets up their imprisonment, torture, suppression and killings in order to show the people who is in charge and in order to impose fear. By using these tactics, they send a clear message that the Islamists are in charge, not the youth.

This staggering number of executions suggests that, as the ruling clerics of the Islamic Republic were gaining global legitimacy due to the nuclear negotiations and “normalizing” relationships with the Obama administration, they have also increased their mass scale killings of their own citizens. At the same time, several American citizens are still spending time in Iran’s prison.

Unfortunately, although President Obama is very vocal about defending the nuclear deal, the lifting of economic sanctions on the Ayatollah, the release of over a hundred of billion dollars to the ruling clerics of Iran, he has not issued any serious criticism against the leaders of the Islamic Republic with regards to the execution spree.

In the Islamic Republic, one can be executed for actions which might not even be a crime or it might be a misdemeanor in other democratic countries. For example, one can be executed for “enmity against Allah” or “corruption on earth.” In addition, a non-Muslim man can be executed for having sex with a Muslim women, but not vice versa. One can be executed or stoned if he/she is married and has sex with an unmarried person. One can also be executed for cursing or using bad words against the prophet.

As the report by Amnesty International described, “They [death sentences] are imposed either for vaguely worded or overly broad offenses, or acts that should not be criminalized at all, let alone attract the death penalty… Trials in Iran are deeply flawed, detainees are often denied access to lawyers, and there are inadequate procedures for appeal, pardon and commutation.”

Boumedouha observed, “For years, Iranian authorities have used the death penalty to spread a climate of fear in a misguided effort to combat drug trafficking, yet there is not a shred of evidence to show that this is an effective method of tackling crime…”

The more the Iranian leaders are empowered and emboldened financially, economically and politically, the more they tighten the noose on all freedoms (including speech, assembly, press, etc.), as well as basic inalienable human rights.

There are currently thousands of innocent people on death row waiting to be unfairly executed in the Islamic Republic. While President Obama finds it urgent to overstep his constitutional authority to quickly sign the nuclear deal with Iran and push for sanctions relief against the ruling clerics, he needs to pay close attention to how the empowerment of the ruling Islamists in Iran is adversely affecting the lives of millions of innocent people.

In Congress, nothing is certain

Posted August 4, 2015 by josephwouk
Categories: Uncategorized

Israel Hayom | In Congress, nothing is certain.

Prof, Abraham Ben-Zvi

Six weeks before Congress is called upon to decide, it has become increasingly clear that the path to approval of the Vienna agreement will be more arduous than expected.

There is considerable doubt that U.S. President Barack Obama — who invested all his prestige and presidential resources in securing, at all costs, a final-status agreement on Iran’s nuclear program — will be able to pass what he views as a cornerstone of his presidential legacy.

The center of the struggle currently raging full force to secure votes from wavering Democratic senators (13 of whom would need to join the Republicans to override a presidential veto) is a direct reflection of the intense debate within the American public on this issue. We should recall that when it comes to voting patterns in the House of Representatives and the Senate, American lawmakers must always remain sensitive and attentive to the swirling political winds, which often set boundaries and red lines for them. After all, if they want to remain in politics, they must reflect the desires and wishes of their constituencies, rather than engage in unilateralism.

If at first it seemed most Americans would come to terms with the Vienna agreement, today — as the contours of the deal are being revealed layer by layer — the picture is changing dramatically over what looks more and more like unconditional capitulation to Iranian dictates. This trend is clearly illustrated in a poll conducted by CNN last week, according to which 52% of the American public oppose the deal, while only 44% support it. In the immediate wake of the deal’s signing, if we recall, the numbers were reversed. Other polls showing that two-thirds of the public believes the deal won’t prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons illustrate yet another aspect of the mosaic of widely held opinions and beliefs, which, if they come together and gain steam in the coming weeks, will form an unassailable obstacle for the administration ahead of the vote in Congress.

These changing winds, meanwhile, can undoubtedly be traced to the recent hearings before the Senate Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and its counterpart committee in the House of Representatives, which caused the White House considerable damage. Indeed, during the hearings we learned, among other things, that the deal contains “black boxes” and other confidential clauses that are hidden not only from the public, but also from Congress (and from some senior administration officials). It is no surprise, therefore, that dissenting voices are on the rise. It is also not surprising that pundits — not only from the conservative camp — are today evoking historical precedents that illustrate the common thread of naiveté, over-optimism and purely mystical beliefs held by U.S. leaders in the power of the written word to mold the behavioral patterns of bitter ideological adversaries, such as the former Soviet Union.

Indeed, Obama’s concept of the importance of gestures and unilateral trust-building measures toward Iran is seen today as identical to former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s efforts to establish a true partnership with the Stalin’s Soviet Union, based on far-reaching, and bizarre, American concessions (specifically over Poland). In the grand superpower context, this approach of appeasement contributed to the outbreak of the Cold War, and there is nothing to do but wait and see if the 44th president’s appeasement will lead to a disastrous hot war.

In any case, it is abundantly clear that the negative trends in public opinion have already begun trickling through to Capitol Hill. We can see, among other things, that Sen. Chuck Schumer, one of the leaders of the Democratic Party (who has been on the fence since the deal was signed), is now leaning toward rejecting the deal. If he indeed decides to cross the party line, it could provide a tail wind for the other undecided Democrats. Such a development would bring an end to the deal, which for the president is a primary foreign policy objective in terms of his legacy, and cast a large shadow over his presidency’s foreign affairs and defense policies.

What are Israel’s options regarding Iran?

Posted August 4, 2015 by josephwouk
Categories: Uncategorized

Globes English – What are Israel’s options regarding Iran?.

Norman Bailey discusses what Israel can do in the wake of the Iranian nuclear deal.

 

All right, we now know the following things:

The six powers signed one of the worst deals in history with the Islamic Republic of Iran, which will now have a greased path to develop the capacity to produce nuclear weapons (if it does not already have them); and receive tens of billions of dollar to restore its economy and greatly increase inward investment and petroleum exports, as well as to increase its interference in regional conflicts and its support of terrorist organizations of all sizes and flavors. Finally, it places Israel in a position of serious existential danger over the next few years.

The current administration in Washington, which has another year and a half in office, doesn’t care.

It makes no difference what the US Congress does or does not do. The trade and investment sanctions are gone through a unanimous vote of the UN Security Council and hotel rooms are already in short supply in Tehran due to the massive influx of Western businessmen and government officials looking to pick up some of the newly-released billions. The financial sanctions in the US were imposed by executive order and can be revoked by executive order, as was already done in November of 2013, when $12 billion were released. Even in the unlikely event Congress rejected the deal by a veto-proof majority of both houses, the only effect would be to prevent American firms from feeding at the Iranian trough, already crowded by the French, Germans, Russians, Chinese, etc. etc.

So, where does that leave Israel? What are its options? Please note the parenthetical phrase above about whether Iran already has nuclear weapons. Some of the Western intelligence services believe that recent low-level nuclear tests in North Korea were really Iranian devices. This would make sense. North Korea knows it can produce nuclear weapons and is doing so. It has even announced that it has succeeded in miniaturizing them, which is highly dangerous for the rest of the world. It could be such devices that it was testing. On the other hand, Iran could hardly perform testing on its own territory while proclaiming to the world that it was only developing “peaceful” nuclear power.

In light of all the above, Israel has the following alternatives: (1) It can adopt a wait and see attitude while continuing to perfect its defensive missile shields. That would, however, even if entirely successful, only protect against Iranian nuclear missiles, an attack most unlikely to actually take place, since Iran knows that Israel has its own nuclear arsenal and the means to deliver those weapons. It would do nothing to protect Israel from eventual miniaturized nuclear weapons in the hands of Iranian proxies. (2) Israel could actively prepare for a military attack on Iran following the announcement by that country of a nuclear capability as well as the possibility of a new administration in Washington more favorable to Israel and more hostile to Iran. The success of such an attack would be more than problematical, given the present level of armaments available to Israel. Israel could, alternatively, attack the Iranian physical infrastructure instead of its nuclear facilities, which would, however, invite massive international condemnation, as well as retaliation by Iranian proxies. (3) Israel could continue to develop and perfect its capacity to conduct cyber-attacks on the

Iranian nuclear facilities, even more devastating than the Stuxnet episode. No reason not to do this, but eventual success is not guaranteed and in any case, the Iranians are no slouches at cyber-warfare themselves. (4) Hopefully, along with a new administration in the U.S., try to foment regime change in Tehran, and/or uprisings by the ethnic minorities, which are about half the population of that country. Unfortunately for this alternative, the deluge of dollars which will now descend on Tehran will make it much easier for the mullahs to deflect popular unrest, while maintaining firm political control.

Some aspects of all these alternatives are likely to be pursued by the current or future Israeli governments. None, as we have seen, is particularly promising. Of course, many other factors are involved and Iran could find itself over-extended and in trouble regardless of what Israel does or does not do. Hope springs eternal, as they say, but do not forget that hope was the only scourge of mankind that Pandora was able to retain in her box.

Norman A. Bailey, Ph.D., is Adjunct Professor of Economic Statecraft at The Institute of World Politics, Washington, DC, and teaches at the Center for National Security Studies and Geostrategy, University of Haifa.


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