PREPARING FOR BIDEN: Netanyahu and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Meet To Plan Next Moves

The news is awash with rumors of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s face to face meeting with Muhamed bin Salman, the Saudi Crown Prince, also known as MBS. Now confirmed, the meeting took place on Sunday in the desert city of Neom.

Under construction as a $500 billion showcase of technological innovation, the Israeli leader spent nearly five hours with MBS, Saudi Arabia’s heir to the throne. The Prime Minister was joined by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Mossad Director Yossi Cohen.

While the setting of Neom was a fitting place for this groundbreaking meeting, it was not the technology or environmental aspects of Neom the two leaders were discussing. More than likely, they were discussing the incoming Biden administration and the dangers it brings to the region.

It is also true that with less than two months left to President Trump’s term full normalization may be on the table. Such a move is necessary in order to block the potential return of the JCPOA (Iranian nuclear deal), which threatens the safety of both the Sunni Arab Gulf States and Israel.

However, the JCPOA is only one worry. The immediate change in status for Iran in dealing with the White House is what scares Israel and its new Arab allies. Iran, backed by China and a compliant America will be able to demonize the Persian Gulf and beyond.

Biden’s incoming administration is more like a third term for Obama and it is this third term, which seeks to truly transform the world. From faux climate change to reengaging China and Iran, the Deep State and globalists who now find themselves moments away from active control of the USA are salivating for the opportunity to push back on Israel and the Saudi-UAE-Bahrain alliance.

Remember, it was the Obama administration who enabled ISIS and thus created a vacuum of power in Iraq that allowed Iran to march into.

Antony Blinken is Only Tip Of The Iceberg

Antony Blinken the incoming Secretary of State was one of the backers and architects of the JCPOA. He will have full control of America’s foreign policy and appears ready to reengage with Iran. With Biden, largely expected to take a back seat to decision making, Blinken’s role will be magnified.

Another Obama-Clinton retread is Jack Sullivan, who served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Biden has appointed him as incoming Director of the National Security Advisor (NSA).

Finally (at least for now), Avril Haines who worked at the White House starting in 2010 as a national security lawyer and then in 2013, then CIA Director John Brennan appointed her deputy director for the CIA. Brennan was the one who brought us drone assassinations, an expanded Iran, and a decimated Libya among other things.

The above appointments and more show which direction the Biden team plans on heading on Jan. 20th.

Bibi and MBS Building An Alliance

The 1 hour trip to Neom was in essence a path forward for both Israel and Saudi Arabia. The ascendancy of Biden to President means a possible reversal of the gains the Trump Administration accomplished. This is why Israel and Saudi Arabia may have no choice but to forge a path together and build a new Middle East with or without America. By doing so, they will have the ability to hold back the Mullahs and in many ways the coming Biden Administration.

Bibi Netanyahu: “Tehran is the main element undermining stability in the Middle East”

With the war of words between the United States and the Iranian regime heating up, Prime Minister Netanyahu emphasized the destablizing nature of the Ayatollahs on the whole region in today’s cabinet meeting.

“The regime in Tehran is the main element undermining stability in the Middle East. The campaign against its aggression is not over; we are still in the midst of it.

We are working to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons. At the same time we are working against the establishment of an Iranian military presence against us; to this end we are also operating against the transfer of deadly weapons from Syria to Lebanon or their manufacture in Lebanon. All of these weapons are for use against the State of Israel and it is our right – based on the right of self-defense – to prevent their manufacture or transfer.”

The last point is key to understand the shifting lines of what has become a direct confrontation between Israel and Iran.  Iranian bases in Syria were never the regime’s main strategy in isolating Israel.  The IRGC always understood that in order to really isolate the Jewish state it would have to deliver game changing weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon.  This had been occurring since the 2006 Lebanon war.

Hezbollah has nearly 100,000 missiles aimed at Israel.  These are not Hamas style rockets, but rather many of them are serious Iranian precision guided missiles.  While stopping Iran from controlling Syria is extremely important, Netanyahu’s point about preventing the transference of weapons to Hezbollah underscores Iran’s shift back to Hezbollah as their main tool of war against Israel.

In fact, the main targets of attacks by the Israel Airforce (IAF) is now against weapons depots in Syria that are meant to service Iranian arms shipments into Hezbollah’s hands.

With Iran pressed by the Trump administration’s decertification of the JCPOA, Hezbollah now becomes the main angle for the regime in Tehran to attack back against Israel.  This only appears to be a matter of time.



The Crashing Iranian Economy and the Mullahs’ Last Stand

There are reports now that Iranian officials are in a panic as they race to save the nuclear deal and stave off a return of crushing sanctions on their fragile economy. Although European officials have claimed they will stay in the nuclear deal despite President Trump decertifying the it and reapplying crushing sanctions last week, there is little they can do.  Iranian government representatives and their European counterparts have been huddling with ex State Department officials last week, but with little success with a way forward as Congress has been cool to the idea of discussing any relaxing of sanctions.

The Washington Free Beacon reported the following:

European diplomats are said to be blaming the Obama administration for drumming up business with Iran and telling these allies that they could engage in economic transactions without penalty. The reaction from lawmakers has been unsympathetic, source said, explaining that congressional opponents of the deal long warned these European countries the deal would be subject to harsh scrutiny after President Barack Obama left office.

A State Department official familiar with the progress of new negotiations surrounding the deal said the Trump administration is set on fundamentally changing Iran’s behavior, including its buildup on ballistic missiles and support for terrorism, before it agree to any Iranian demands.

One veteran U.S. adviser close to the White House told the Washington Free Beacon that Iran’s reaction indicates its desperation to remain in the Obama-era agreement and continue receiving cash windfalls.

“As President Trump has always said, the Iran deal was great for the mullahs and terrible for the American people,” the source said, speaking only on background. “Obama gave Iran more than they could ever have imagined, and now Trump is taking it away. The Iranians are rushing to grab and save whatever they can. Europe will have to choose a side.”

Despite public calls for doing business with Iran, there is little the EU can do as corporations are pulling out of doing business with the rogue state due to fear from banking sanctions.  Russia has no interest in saving the deal either despite public comradery, since Putin finally has an Iran that is becoming pacified before it grows out of control.

All of this pressure on the regime in Tehran makes it far more likely that a military confrontation is in the offing. This is not a bad thing.  A war was expected eventually between the Ayatollahs in Iran and Israel and the Sunni block. If the JCPOA had been kept, Iran would have waited and been far too powerful to stop.  Now they are in a weak position and except for Hezbollah and the Houthis in Yemen, Iran cannot sustain a warfront for too long unless they have other actors enter on their behalf.

With North Korea threatening to pull out of the Trump-Un meet up and China becoming a serious threat, the Mullahs may be banking on making a last stand. Yet they will have to do this before their economy crashes and their citizens revolt.

Will This Week Change The World As We Know It?

There are moments when we feel something pivotal about to begin. Since September 11th, 2001 when we saw the attack that destroyed the Twin Towers in New York City, the world has increasingly been moving towards an unmanageble level of chaos. Standard geopolitical structures appear to be collapsing, morals crumbling, and the once uni-polar post cold war world order has been rendered no more.

So why this week?

First let me make it clear, that I have never been someone who believes or espouses a Redemption process, which is immediate, but rather I have constantly striven to explain that the events of the End of Days are meant to occur over a period of time. The word “day” in the Bible can also be explained as a block of time as it is often used allegorically.  End of Days is plural on purpose. This connotes an actual process of time.

With this being said, the pressures within the world have now reached the point of explosion and this week appears to be the moment where all things erupt.

Make no mistake, I can be wrong and I hope I am, because the Final Redemption can come in many forms, but the next seven days appear to be setting up a war which many assumed would come eventually, but always hoped it would be sometime when they could better process its fallout.

So now let’s take a look at this week:

Today at 2pm eastern standard time, President Trump will announce his final decision on whether the US recertifies the JCPOA or better known as the Iran nuclear agreement or not. Most observers assume the President will not recertify the deal, thus reestablishing sanctions on Iran’s fragile economy.

May 10th begins the 51st commemoration according to the Hebrew calendar of the Six Day War.

May 12th is Jerusalem Day and it is also the official final day that the US has to recertify the Iran deal.

May 14th is the dedication of the new US embassy in Jerusalem.  The Arab street has promised to hold violent protests.

May 15th is Nakba day, which is the day the “Palestinians” protest over the establishment of the third Jewish Commonwealth of Israel.

While these events are going on, the Iranians are moving troops and missiles into their newest colony of Lebanon and strengthening their hold over southern Syria. Russia has also delivered more weapons to the Assad regime and warned Israel not to harm Russian interests even if there is a conflict with Iran.

It is true there has been a Jerusalem Day every year since 1968 and there have been “Nakba” rallies ever since the “Palestinians” decided they were some sort of people, but the mix of Iranian expansion, Trump’s decision on the JCPOA, and the embassy move has the region and the world on edge.

These times are filled both with wonder and chaos as we approach that moment when a more perfect world order is ushered in.  Until then we have no one to hold responsible on how these events affect us other than ourselves.  Our actions can elicit divine mercy, creating a smooth transition to a better world or one which causes the chaos that already abounds to increase to terrifying levels. This week will be remembered forever, but how events play out is in each of our hands.

The choice is ours.


Iran & the chilling significance of the “No Alternative” argument

The attempt to justify the 2015 deal with Iran, as being the only viable alternative to allowing it to develop nuclear weapons, is both infuriating and disingenuous.

The prime minister of Israel is deeply opposed to it, I think he’s made that very clear. I have repeatedly asked, what is the alternative that you present that you think makes it less likely for Iran to get a nuclear weapon? And I have yet to obtain a good answer on that. Barack Obama, on the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Office of the White House Press Secretary, April 11, 2015.

President Obama has been crystal clear. Don’t rush. We’re not in a rush. We need to get the right deal…No deal is better than a bad deal. And we are certainly adhering to that concept.  Obama’s Secretary of State, John Kerry, “No deal is better than a bad deal”, Politico, Nov. 10, 2013.

Why would the mullahs cheat on a deal as good for them as this one?…Simply put, this is one terrific agreement for Tehran. And Iran is likely to have no interest in violating it…It’s the cruelest of ironies that Iran is reaping huge rewards for giving up something it wasn’t supposed to be doing in the first place. Aaron David Miller, “Iran’s Win-Win…Win Win Win Nuke Deal”, Daily Beast, July 20, 2015. 

The Iran nuclear deal, concluded in July 2015, was catapulted back into the headlines on Monday, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed that the Israel intelligence services had managed to spirit away a huge trove of documents from the heart of Tehran to Israel.


A dodgy deal, born of deception

The documents prove that, in contradiction to public declarations of it leaders, Iran had, indeed, planned to produce nuclear weapons, to develop the ability to deliver them by means of ballistic missiles, and had secretly stored the information in an undisclosed location—presumably for use at some future date, chosen by the Iranians. After all, if this was not the Iranian intent, why bother to store them at all—never mind surreptitiously conceal such storage?

Reactions to Netanyahu’s exposé ranged from the fervently enthusiastic to the dismissively blasé, with opinions being roughly divided between those who opposed the 2015 deal; and those who endorsed it—the former seeing it as a telling endorsement of their prior position, the latter, refusing to be moved by the revelations.

Those who would attempt to diminish the significance of the remarkable intelligence coup, by claiming that what Netanyahu revealed produced nothing substantially new, or anything demonstrating that Iran had breached the 2015 deal, largely miss the point.

Indeed, it is difficult to know what is worse—whether these claims by the deal’s adherents (or more accurately, apologists) are true, or whether they are not.

For if they are true, then the deal was signed with the co-signatories fully aware that the the deal was “born in sin”, and based on blatant deception and deceit on the part of the Iranians—to which they were willingly complicit. Alternatively, if they are not true, then the co-signatories were blatantly hoodwinked by Tehran, and are now disingenuously trying to deny their incompetence and gullibility.


“…the cruelest of ironies…”

For the real point brought home by Netanyahu’s revelation is not that the deal has been violated, but that it should never have been made in the first place. As former senior State Department official, and today Vice President at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, Aaron David Miller, points out, the absurdity of the deal is that it awards “Iran … huge rewards for giving up something it wasn’t supposed to be doing in the first place” (see introductory excerpt).

Indeed, if anything, Miller understates the absurdity.

For, in fact, the deal does not really require Iran to “give up something it wasn’t supposed to be doing in the first place”, but merely to suspend it. Worse, under the terms of the agreement, Iran was essentially allowed—even empowered—“to continue doing things it wasn’t supposed to be doing in the first place”—like developing ballistic missiles to carry nuclear war-heads, fomenting and financing terror across the globe, and effectively annexing other countries–either directly (as in Syria) or by tightly-controlled proxies (as in Lebanon).

In light of all this, the two major claims advanced by the deprecators of Netanyahu’s exposé —i.e. (a) that they heralded nothing new; and (b) indicated no breach by Iran—appear to be specious indeed.


Premature and prejudicial

After all, since Netanyahu divulged only a small fraction of the seized material, it is somewhat premature and prejudicial to determine whether there are any new, previously unknown elements of any consequence in it.

Moreover, as it stands at the moment, it is impossible to know whether Iran is adhering to the deal, or violating it. For it is precisely in those locations, where such violations are likely to take place—its military sites—that Iran has refused to allow inspections!

Thus, according to an August 2017 report by Reuters, Iran brusquely dismissed a U.S. demand for nuclear inspectors to visit its military bases as “merely a dream”.

When U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, pressed the IAEA to seek access to Iranian military bases to ensure that they were not concealing activities banned by the 2015 nuclear deal, an Iranian government spokesman, Mohammad Baqer Nobakht, rejected this outright: “Iran’s military sites are off limits…All information about these sites are classified. Iran will never allow such visits.”

Accordingly, given the telling evidence provided by Israel that Iran lied consistently about its weapons program in the past, and given the faulty inspection regime in place today, the cardinal question should not be whether there is any compelling proof that Iran is in breach of the nuclear deal, but whether there is any such proof that it is in compliance with it.


“Obama chose to ignore the peril…”

This grim assessment is underscored by an opinion piece just published by nuclear expert, Ephraim Asculai, formerly of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and today a senior Research Fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies. He observes: “…the “deal” with Iran dealt only partially and temporarily with the issue of preventing Iran from accomplishing its original program”, noting that “[although]… much of the information disclosed by the prime minister was known –now it is authenticated.”

According to Asculai, “Former US President Barack Obama chose to ignore the potential… But the looming crisis did not disappear. When the term of the [deal] is up in a few years, Iran will legally resume its enrichment activities.”

He warns: “The deal was not a good one. It left Iran with the potential to resume its weapons development program at will, did not really deal with the issue of the development of the nuclear explosive mechanism, did not deal with the issue of missile development, and the verification mechanism is an inefficient one, dealing only with limited issues and not using all available inspections powers.”

Asculai acknowledges the value of Netanyahu’s presentation: “The presentation did a very important thing: it presented evidence of the technical details of Iran’s past program…that includes designs, locations and probably stocks of materials…” explaining that: “This evidence is essential if the IAEA inspectors want to verify that these are no longer active, that the materials are all accounted for and the staff are all interrogated and prove that they are not engaged in the new project.


Aiding and abetting Iran’s nuclear ambitions

Asculai goes on to address Netanyahu’s critics: “From the first international reaction we learn that the general opinion was that there was no proof that Iran violated the agreement” and asks, pertinently: “[B]but is that the real issue?”

For, as he correctly notes: “Had Iran wanted to prove it had abandoned any nuclear weapons-related program it should have consented to opening up its archives, sites and materials to international inspections. It did not do this because this is not its intention”.

Asculai berates detractors of Netanyahu’s presentation and their attempt to dismiss its importance, accusing them of aiding and abetting Iran in its quest for weaponized nuclear capability: “By stating that Iran did not do wrong, these deniers are becoming accessories to its nuclear ambitions”, asking in exasperation: “Is this what they really want?”

In concluding his article, Asculai calls on Netanyahu to map out alternatives: “The prime minister should have presented the possible solutions,” and urges: “It is not too late to do so”.

Indeed, the alleged lack of an “alternative” has constituted the major thrust of the criticism of the proponents of the deal, echoing Obama’s 2015 dismissal of Netanyahu’s rejection of it: “The Prime Minister of Israel is deeply opposed to it. I think he’s made that very clear. I have repeatedly asked, what is the alternative that you present that you think makes it less likely for Iran to get a nuclear weapon, and I have yet to obtain a good answer on that.


Infuriating and disingenuous

The attempt to justify the deal with Iran as being the only viable alternative to allowing the Islamic Republic to develop nuclear weapons is both infuriating and disingenuous.

It is infuriating because the very acceptance of the 2015 deal flies in the face of repeated prior commitments by the Obama administration to eschew bad deals. Indeed, as John Hannah pointed out in a scathing appraisal of the process led by Obama that culminated in the deal: “…the mantra guiding his Iran policy all along has allegedly been ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’.”

Moreover, the claim of “no alternative’ is disingenuous because it was none other than Obama, who laid out the alternative to the current deal – which assures Iran’s weaponized nuclear capability, permits the production of missiles that can threaten European capitals, provides funds to propagate terrorism and to destabilize pro-US regimes.

After all, in Obama’s own terms, the alternative was “no deal”! 

Indeed, it was not that opponents of the deal did not offer cogent alternatives.

It was that the proponents designated–and apparently still designate—anything that Iran did not agree to as “impractical” or “unfeasible”.

Clearly, if the underlying assumption is that the only “practical” option is a consensual one—i.e. one which Tehran willingly accepts; rather that a coercive one—i.e. one which Tehran is compelled to accept, say, by intensified sanctions, backed by a credible threat of military action – then the proponents of the deal might be right that there was no “available” alternative.

Making abrogation inevitable

But by this, they are cutting the ground from under their own feet—and the very logic underlying the deal they endorse.

Indeed, the very assumption that if the deal is abandoned, Iran will acquire nuclear weapons, virtually ensures that it will.

For, if the Iranian leadership believes that co-signatories were unwilling to confront a weak, impoverished, non-nuclear, pre-deal Iran with a convincing coercive threat, why would it possibly believe that they would be willing to do so with a greatly empowered and enriched, near-nuclear, post-deal Iran?

Accordingly, if the US and its allies were not willing to confront Tehran with a credible specter of punitive, coercive action, which will compel it to abandon its nuclear program, then clearly there is no inducement for it to adhere to the deal – making its future abrogation inevitable…at any time Iran deems expedient.

That is the true—and chilling—significance of the unfounded contention that there is “no other viable alternative”.

Netanyahu is Making the Case for Trump to Leave the Iranian Nuclear Deal

Below is just one American show Prime Minister Netanyahu joined to press his case for the USA to leave the heavily flawed Iranian nuclear agreement, officially known as the JCPOA.

Will this work?  Most likely President Trump has already decided to leave the deal and is actually coordinating with Netanyahu.  The Prime Minister has a far more positive profile than Trump does and can make the case succinctly.  Of course no one knows what Trump will decide on May 12th, but it increasingly appears to be likely he will leave it.

U.S. Confirms Authenticity of Secret Iran Nuclear Docs, Officials See Game Over for Deal

Trump administration officials praise Netanyahu’s ‘powerful presentation’

U.S. officials and congressional insiders view the disclosure Monday by Israel of Iran’s ongoing efforts to develop a nuclear weapon as game over for the landmark nuclear deal, telling the Washington Free Beacon that new evidence of Iran’s top secret nuclear workings makes it virtually impossible for President Donald Trump to remain in the agreement.

Senior Trump administration officials confirmed the findings as authentic and praised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s for disclosing thousands of secret documents proving Iran lied about its past work on a nuclear warhead, telling the Free Beacon the revelation was a “powerful presentation” by Israel outlining why the Iran deal must be fixed or killed.

U.S. officials who reviewed the secret documents confirmed their authenticity and said that Israel has shared the information fully with the United States, most likely to help build the case for Trump to abandon the nuclear deal, rather than try to fix what the White House views as a series of insurmountable flaws.

Multiple sources who spoke to the Free Beacon say that Monday’s presentation by Netanyahu resulted from a recent conversation between the prime minister and Trump, who has expressed his opposition to remaining in the deal.

During his presentation, Netanyahu disclosed that Israel had obtained some 100,000 secret documents that provide “conclusive proof” Iran lied to the world about its past nuclear work. The Israeli leader further presented information from these documents purporting to show that Iran continues to build on its nuclear know-how in pursuit of a fully functioning weapon.

While Trump has not made a final decision on whether to scrap the deal, sources close to the president say he is increasingly wary of the deal itself, as well as proposed fixes to the deal currently being discussed by the Europeans.

One senior administration official, speaking only on background, confirmed to the Free Beacon that the United States assessed the secret documents obtained by Israel to be fully authentic.

“All the materials we have reviewed are in our assessment authentic,” the official said, praising Netanyahu for presenting the evidence to the world.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu gave a powerful presentation today of compelling new evidence documenting Iran’s determined pursuit of a nuclear weapon,” the senior official said. “It certainly would have been helpful to have this information when the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] was negotiated but the Iranians decided to lock it away in a secret vault for future reference.”

The cache of documents showing that Iran has retained the infrastructure and know-how to produce a nuclear weapon has cast further doubts on U.S. efforts to broker a series of fixes to the landmark agreement.

“Only the regime knows what else they’re hiding, but the revelations today don’t give us much confidence in their protestations that they have never had interest in militarizing their nuclear program,” the official said. “They’re showing us in Syria how they plan to deploy their existing arsenal—we would be foolish to think that behavior is going to change because of a deal that was implemented two years ago that was based on a lie.”

Following Netanyahu’s remarks, Trump emphasized his opposition to the deal.

Those familiar with the president’s thinking said that he has soured on efforts to fix the deal and would prefer to see a wholly new agreement, a demand Iran has rejected in recent days.

Trump “made a clear signal today that he’s not confident in the JCPOA,” said the senior administration official. “The decision is with him and I don’t think he’s made it, but he seemed to indicate he’s more open to a new deal then to try to fix something this broken.”

A senior congressional official who has worked closely with the White House on the Iran issue told the Free Beacon the news has sent shockwaves through Capitol Hill.

“Everything the Obama administration told us about the Iranian nuclear program was a lie,” said the source, who was not authorized to speak on record. “They assured us that we knew everything about Iran’s nuclear weapons program, that it was put on ice, and that the intelligence community had full insight into what was going on.”

“Now we find out the Iranians have warehouses of nuclear weapons designs. People are in shock,” the source said. “Forget the policy implications, which get to the heart of the deal, this shows how the whole sale was built on a lie. Expect to see momentum build in Congress for just scrapping the whole thing.”

The White House National Security Council and the State Department have yet to comment formally on Netanyahu’s disclosures.

Originally Published in the Free Beacon.



Money keeps flowing to the Mullahs as their Israel hatred heats up.

The website Iran Front Page proudly announces: “The first edition of International Hourglass Festival, dedicated to anti-Israel art and media productions, will be held in the Iranian capital Tehran in April.”

Last week a press conference on the festival was held in Tehran. During it Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, identified as “the Secretary-General of the International Conference on Supporting Palestinian Intifada and an international advisor to Iran’s Parliament Speaker,” explained that “the ‘Hourglass Festival’ is a symbol of the imminent collapse of the Zionist regime of Israel, as predicted by the Leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.”

Amir-Abdollahian further explained that he “cannot publicize the Islamic Republic’s plan to realize the Leader’s prediction that the Israeli regime will collapse within 25 years, but it will definitely happen.”

What will the Hourglass Festival be like? Its executive secretary, Mahdi Qomi, offers a preview, saying it “will be held in 11 sections”:

Audio-visual productions, graphic design (poster, cartoons, etc.), mobile apps, mobile and web-based games, social media and websites, animation, motion-graphics, start-ups are among the fields in which the festival accepts entries.

The festival will accept entries until April 21, when all the submitted works will be put on display to the public….

The organizers will work with 2,400 anti-Israel NGOs in Europe, North America, Latin America, and Eastern Asia to promote the festival across the world, Qomi said.

The website for the festival itself features a disappearing Star of David. It declares that “Israel Will Not Exist in 25 Years: if the resistance fron [sic] stands firm, the enemy cannot do a damn thing,” while offering instructions for submissions and much else.

Seemingly this is news; it’s one UN member-state not only calling for the destruction of another UN member-state but holding an international festival devoted to that goal. Yet so far it is almost solely some Israeli and pro-Israeli websites that have reported the development.

This is hardly, of course, the first time Iranian leaders and officials have openly called for Israel’s eradication. Apparently, if you do it enough it becomes humdrum and acceptable—even with the added twist of an international effort, in tandem with “2,400 NGOS,” to instill the notion that the Jewish state needs to be wiped off the face of the earth.

Meanwhile West European countries are in a state of anxiety over President Trump’s warning that unless the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, or JCPOA, is seriously modified, he will withdraw from the deal and reinstate U.S. sanctions. These countries regard Iran—ayatollah regime and all—as an invaluable business partner to be protected at all costs.

As the Financial Times reported last October:

European countries are battling to save commercial ties with Iran as part of a wider effort to stop the US upending the landmark deal to curb Tehran’s nuclear programme. [That includes] contingency plans to protect companies such as Airbus, Total, Siemens and Peugeot, which have all struck deals in Iran….

[Since the JCPOA] trade  between Iran and the EU, which was Tehran’s top trading partner before broad economic sanctions were imposed in 2010, has all but doubled annually to almost €10bn for the first half of [2017]….

It turns out Germany is one of the countries reaping a bonanza from this renewed trade. In the first nine months of 2017 “Germany sold 2.358 billion euros worth of goods ($2.846 billion) to Iran,” while it “imported just $328 million worth of goods from Iran”—a huge trade surplus in Germany’s favor. And “German exports to Iran…remain on a steep upward curve.”

The article—posted on the Deutsche Welle site—complains that “The Trump Administration has taken a strident anti-Iranian tone, as have the political establishments of Israel and the Gulf Arab countries.” That is, even though Iran sponsors subversion and terror against Israel and Gulf Arab countries and threatens their destruction, strident tones are something to avoid when German business is at stake.

At the Munich Security Conference in February, U.S. national security adviser H. R. McMaster and Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir raised the issue that European funds are flowing to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The Revolutionary Guard is the main engine of Iranian subversion and terror and is believed to control about a third of Iran’s economy.

Yet CNBC reports that Iran’s key business partners Germany, France, and the UK keep fighting the good fight for European multinationals Airbus, Siemens, Peugeot, and Total, all of which have “struck major deals in the country worth billions.”

When business is that good, it would be naïve in the extreme to think that any further Iranian outrage—even an innovation like the International Hourglass Festival—could swing the Euros toward Trump’s stance on reining in Iran.

Instead it can be confidently predicted that the festival in April will go forward and most of the international community will keep trading with Iran and treating it as a respectable, legitimate country. Meanwhile Israel’s government will be seen as “too right-wing.”

 Originally Published on FrontPageMag.

Congress to Investigate Obama Scheme to Nix Investigation into Hezbollah Terrorists

Originally Published in the Free Beacon

Investigation to focus on Rhodes, senior Obama officials

Lawmakers are launching an investigation into Obama-era efforts to thwart a longstanding U.S. investigation into the Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah, according to multiple congressional officials and insiders who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

The Obama administration worked behind the scenes to thwart a decade-long Drug Enforcement Agency investigation into Hezbollah and its highly lucrative drug trade in Latin America, according to a report in Politico. These officials are believed to have run interference on the investigation in order to avoid upsetting Iran and jeopardizing the landmark nuclear accord.

Senior Obama officials in the Treasury and Justice Departments are said to have undermined the DEA’s investigation at multiple junctures in order to avoid angering Hezbollah’s patron Iran, which could have jeopardized the landmark nuclear agreement.

Congress is now taking steps to formally investigate the reports, which multiple sources described to the Free Beacon as part of a larger Obama administration effort to overlook Iran’s global terror operations in order to cement the nuclear deal.

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), a member of the House Oversight Committee and chair of its National Security Subcommittee, told the Washington Free Beacon on Wednesday that he and other top lawmakers are examining evidence that could implicate top former Obama officials, including National Security Council official Ben Rhodes, the architect of the former administration’s self-described pro-Iran “echo chamber.”

“I’ve long believed that the Obama administration could not have done any more to bend over backwards to appease the Iranian regime, yet news that the Obama administration killed the investigation into a billion dollar drug ring that lined the terrorist group Hezbollah’s pockets in order to save its coveted Iran deal may very well take the cake,” DeSantis said.

“Hezbollah is a brutal terrorist group with American blood on its hands and it would be unconscionable for American policy to deliberately empower such a nefarious group,” he said.

Lawmakers will be paying particular attention to whether Rhodes or other senior officials accused of misleading Congress and the American public about the Iran deal played a role in thwarting the Hezbollah investigation.

“Congress will be investigating this thoroughly and my National Security subcommittee will be particularly interested in how such a decision came about and whether it was driven by key Iran deal architects such as Ben Rhodes,” DeSantis said.

Congressional investigators are already preparing letters to various U.S. government agencies in order to obtain greater information about the alleged interference, according to those with knowledge of the matter.

Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.), a chief national security voice in the House who fought against the nuclear accord, told the Washington Free Beacon that Congress must investigate the Obama administration’s actions and work to increase pressure on Hezbollah.

“The report alleging the Obama Administration turned a blind eye and allowed Hezbollah to pump drugs into the United States to fund its terror campaigns in the Middle East is not surprising,” Roskam said. “Hampering the DEA’s investigation of Hezbollah would be emblematic of the previous administration’s fixation to strike a nuclear accord with Iran at any costs.”

“This blind eye imperiled our efforts to combat Iran and its proxies’ malign behavior and left us with a cash-flush Iran on the warpath across the Middle East with a nuclear program legitimized by the JCPOA,” Roskam said, using the acronym for the nuclear deal’s official name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. “Congress needs to investigate this report and do what the Obama Administration refused to do, severely increase pressure on Hezbollah and hold the terrorist group, and its benefactor Iran, accountable for their crimes.”

U.S. drug enforcement agents who spoke to Politico about the matter accused the Obama administration of intentionally derailing an investigation into Hezbollah’s drug trafficking and money laundering efforts that began in 2008 under the Bush administration.

The investigation centered on Hezbollah and Iranian-backed militants who allegedly participated in the illicit drug network, which was subject to U.S. wiretaps and undercover operations.

Hezbollah is believed to have been laundering at least $200 million a month just in the United States, according to the report.

When U.S. authorities were ready to make the case against Hezbollah’s most senior leadership, Obama administration officials allegedly “threw an increasingly insurmountable series of roadblocks in its way,” according inside sources who spoke to Politico about the situation.

The Obama-led effort to block the investigation was “a policy decision, it was a systematic decision,” one source said. “They serially ripped apart this entire effort that was very well supported and resourced, and it was done from the top down.”

One senior congressional source apprised of the matter told the Free Beacon that while lawmakers have long known about the former Obama administration’s efforts to steamroll over Congress and ink the nuclear deal, the interference in the Hezbollah investigation could be a matter for law enforcement.

“Add this to the long list of concessions the Obama administration made in pursuit of the nuclear agreement with Iran,” said the source, who was not authorized to speak on the record about the matter. “The difference here is that this wasn’t just bad policy—it was potentially criminal. Congress absolutely has a responsibility to get to the bottom of this.”

Other sources described a long list of efforts by the Obama administration to downplay Iran’s terror efforts and turn a blind eye to its illicit efforts to skirt U.S. sanctions.

“The Obama administration started sucking up to Iran from Day 1, because they thought if they showed good faith the [Iranian] Supreme Leader would let Iranian diplomats negotiate with them,” according to a longtime congressional adviser who works on Middle East issues, including Iran.

The former administration “looked the other way at sanctions busting, fought Congress against new pressure, and did everything possible to slow roll enforcement,” the source said. “Meanwhile the Ben Rhodes echo chamber went into overdrive to sell that they were aggressively—that was the word they shopped around, ‘aggressively’—dealing with Iran. Now we know they were tearing down whatever parts of the federal government where still trying to stop Iran and its terrorists.”

Meanwhile, a delegation of lawmakers on the House’s Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere sent a letter to President Trump Wednesday urging greater action on Hezbollah in light of the Obama administration’s behavior.

The letter pushes the Trump administration to formally designate Hezbollah as a Transnational Criminal Organization (TCO) and as a Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficking Kingpin (SDNTK). It also demands an investigation into Hezbollah’s criminal enterprises under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.), chair of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa and a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said that Hezbollah’s illicit operations in Latin America are growing and threaten the U.S homeland.

“It’s no secret that, in its pursuit of the weak and dangerous nuclear deal, the Obama administration ignored Iran’s illicit activity and the threat the state sponsor of terror-regime posed to our national security and the security and stability of our allies,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “If recent reports of the size and scope of Hezbollah’s operations in Latin America are true, we should all be alarmed as it puts the terror group right in our own hemisphere.”

Originally Published in the Free Beacon

Decertifying Iran- A moral imperative. But now what?

As the experience of 2003 shows, Iran will only abandon its nuclear program if confronted by what it perceives to be a tangible military threat

In a large country with multiple facilities and ample experience in nuclear concealment, violations will be inherently difficult to detect. Devising theoretical models of inspection is one thing. Enforcing compliance, week after week, despite competing international crises and domestic distractions, is another. Any report of a violation is likely to prompt debate over its significance—or even calls for new talks with Tehran to explore the issue – Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2015.

…in 2015, Congress passed the Iran nuclear agreement review act to ensure that Congress’s voice would be heard on the deal. Among other conditions the law requires the president of his designee to certify that the suspension of sanction under the deal is appropriate and proportionate to…measures taken by Iran to terminate its illicit nuclear program. Based on the factual record…I am announcing today that we cannot and will not make this certification we will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror, and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout – President Donald Trump, October 13, 2017.

Last Friday, the US president, Donald Trump, refused to certify the July 2015 nuclear Iran “deal” concluded in Vienna on July 14, 2015 between Iran, and the P5+1(the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany), and the EU on the other.

Dubbed with the wildly inappropriate misnomer the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” (JCPOA) the “deal” is—as we shall see—anything but “comprehensive”. Moreover, it could hardly be designated a “plan of action” when a far more fitting characterization of it would appear to be a “plan of inaction”.  

Decertification: The moral imperative

In effect, by decertifying the JCPOA, Trump was merely fulfilling his legal obligations under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA).

Passed immediately following the signature of JCPOA, the INARA bill mandates (among other things):

The President shall, at least every 90 days, determine whether the President is able to certify that:

– Iran is fully implementing the agreement,

– Iran has not committed a material breach of the agreement,

– Iran has not taken any action that could significantly advance its nuclear weapons program, and

– Suspension of sanctions against Iran is appropriate and proportionate to measures taken by Iran with respect to terminating its illicit nuclear program and vital to U.S. national security interests.

In light of the record of Iran’s gross misconduct, it is patently clear—or at least, it should be—that no US president could, in good faith, certify that Iran was in compliance with its JCPOA commitments or that continued US adherence to the JCPOA—particularly the suspension of sanctions against Iran—was “vital to US national security interests”.

After all, how can anyone certify that Iran is in compliance with its pledges to not “advance its nuclear weapons program” or is not in “material breach of the agreement”, when this is impossible to verify, given the fact that Tehran has barred inspection of its military sites—the very sites in which one might suspect militarized Iranian endeavor is taking place.

Moral imperative (cont.)

But perhaps even more astonishing and disconcerting is the revelation that “secret side deals” exist between Iran and third parties, to which the US is neither privy, nor party to—and hence has not the foggiest notion as to how these may impact or impair the implementation of, or the adherence to the terms of the JCPOA. Typically, these involve “deals” between Tehran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the body charged with the inspection of Iranian nuclear sites. Incredibly, in some cases, these deals allow Iran to conduct its own inspection of its facilities. Moreover, the IAEA is obliged to keep much of the information gathered confidential and not share it with other parties—including the US.

You couldn’t make this stuff up!

No less crippling to effective inspection—and hence to the ability of the US president to certify that Iran is in compliance with the JCPOA—is the fact that if suspicion arises that illicit activity is being conducted, Iran must be given weeks of advance warning, providing it ample opportunity to conceal or dispose of any incriminating evidence. Worse, the Iranians must also be provided with adequate reasons for the suspicion of untoward conduct on their part, thus   risking exposure of intelligence sources that provided the relevant information!

Indeed, these very absurdities of the JCPOA were crisply and caustically conveyed by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in a Knesset address on the day immediately after it was reached: “It’s like giving a criminal organization that deals drugs a 24-day warning before inspecting its drug lab…The agreement also requires the world powers to… show Iran the very intelligence for which they want to conduct the inspections in the first place.”

Incomprehensive plan of inaction

To be honest Donald Trump has never really been my “cup-of-tea”. Indeed, without wishing to be too disparaging, to my mind, his incontestable advantage is that he is…not Hilary Clinton.

That said, the decertification speech was undeniably impressive. He provided an effective tour d’horizon of Iranian malfeasance: Tehran’s violation of agreed production quotas of heavy water and operation of advanced centrifuges; its intimidation of inspectors from carrying out their work effectively; its flouting of international resolutions regarding the development of ballistic missile technology; its fomenting turmoil “throughout the Middle East and beyond”; and last but not least, its sponsorship of terror across the globe.

In this, Trump demonstrated compellingly that Iran had not only violated the spirit, but also the letter, of the JCPOA. But beyond that, he not only exposed how appallingly incomprehensive this purportedly “comprehensive” blueprint is, but also the grave perils of inaction the alleged “plan of action” necessarily entails.

Indeed, without wishing to push historical parallels too far, some portions of Trump’s speech were distinctly reminiscent of Winston Churchill’s stern caveat in his epic account of World War II, ‘The Gathering Storm,’ in which he cautioned: “…. if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival”.

Expressing strikingly similar sentiments, Trump warned: “History has shown that the longer we ignore a threat, the more dangerous that threat becomes…We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror, and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout”.

Incomprehensive inaction (cont.)

Trump detailed Iran’s transgression as justification for his decision to desist from certifying the JCPOA: “Our policy is based on a clear-eyed assessment of the Iranian dictatorship, its sponsorship of terrorism, and its continuing aggression in the Middle East and all around the world…Based on the factual record I have put forward, I am announcing today that we cannot and will not make this certification.”

Of course, this catalogue of Iranian misconduct underscores just how hopelessly ineffectual the entire JCPOA edifice is. For by limiting its relevance to Iran’s nuclear program (and even then inadequately), it, in effect, allows the Islamist theocracy license to wreak mayhem in any other sphere, wherever and whenever it chooses—without incurring any of the penalties in the unverifiable nuclear deal.

To convey just how ludicrous the JCPOA arrangement is, just imagine reaching an agreement with a belligerent neighbor down the road that he will refrain from attacking you and your family with firearms but is free to stab you with knives, batter you with clubs, impale you on spears and target you with arrows. Worse, not only is he free to do this without retribution, but you actually agree to help him finance  his stockpile of said knives, clubs, spears and arrows.

Ridiculous as this might seem, this is in principle precisely what Trump was called on to certify last Friday—and is being vilified by allies and adversaries for not doing so.

Go figure.

The futility of “fixing”, the necessity of “nixing”

While decertification of the JCPOA is both inevitable and imperative, it is not in itself an alternative strategy. Indeed, even the Trump administration itself has been at pains to clarify that, in and of itself, the decertification does not automatically imply that—with all the withering criticism it has of the agreement—the US will not necessarily opt out of it.

This is a risky position to adopt and, like a man with one foot on the pier and the other in the boat, it is one that cannot be maintained for long. Indeed, the US has now created a clear choice for itself if it is not to retreat humiliatingly from the robust stance it has taken: Either to endeavor to fix the defective JCPOA, or to nix it.

Any remotely realistic analysis will swiftly lead to the conclusion that any endeavor to fix the JCPOA (i.e. introduce far more intrusive inspection procedures and impose far more extensive and intensive punitive measures for delinquent Iranian behavior) are futile.

Clearly, it would require large doses of unfounded and unbounded optimism to believe that Iran could be induced by diplomatic pressure to submit itself to a harsher regime of inspections/sanctions than that currently stipulated in the JCPOA. After all, if the P5+1 countries backed away from sterner coercive measures when confronting a weaker, poorer Iran, what reason is there to believe (and more importantly, for Tehran to believe) they would stand up to a now much richer and stronger Iran??

This bleak prospect leaves us with only one other option – the necessity to nix the JCPOA in its entirety – which might just happen anyway. For as Brookings Institution’s Suzanne Maloney predicts: “Decertification corrodes the legitimacy of the deal…[It]will slowly collapse.”

Decertification- what now?

So how is the US (and Israel( to deal with a post-JCPOA reality? What strategies are available to prevent a good initiative from making the situation worse?

According to its adherents, the JCPOA was the best possible agreement. This is clearly an untenable contention—unless the underlying assumption is that the only feasible alternatives are those Iran deigns to accept.

However, if the rationale is not to accommodate the ayatollahs, but to coerce them or replace them, the alternatives are clear:

The first of these options is to enhance US sanctions, backed by a credible threat of military action aimed at destroying Iran’s nuclear facilities and their attendant infrastructure.


Skeptics as to the efficacy of such a harsh alternative should be reminded of the events of 2003, when Iran, in effect, curtailed its nuclear program after the US-led invasion of Iraq created a tangible threat which US-military presence projected in the eyes of the Islamic Republic. As a result “Iran agree[d] to suspend its uranium–enrichment activities and ratify an additional protocol requiring Iran to provide an expanded declaration of its nuclear activities and granting the IAEA broader rights of access to sites in the country.


Significantly, once the threat perception receded, Tehran annulled this agreement and reverted to accelerating its nuclear program.


What now? (cont.)


The only effective alternative to coercing the ayatollahs to abandon their nuclear program is to replace them –i.e. induce regime change. Sadly, just as it has greatly reduced the possibility (or at least, greatly increased the cost) of coercing them to forgo nuclear weapons capability, so it has dimmed the prospects for regime change. In the words of one well-known Iranian expatriate: “The Vienna [i.e JCPOA] deal bears a very grave danger for Iran’s civil society. Not only won’t we see their economic situation improve, but the regime will also have an incentive to abuse human rights more severely. A flood of cash is going into the pockets of this leadership. It will be used to tighten their grip [on power] and to further imprison, torture and kill innocent Iranians.”

So over  two years after it was agreed upon, all the JCPOA has really achieved is to empower the Iranian tyranny militarily, enrich it economically and entrench it politically—for nothing more than a dubious delaying of its acquisition of weaponized nuclear capability.

Which, of course, is why decertifying it was no more than a moral imperative.