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”.

Syria-Reaping the storm Obama sowed

If surrendering US primacy in the region to Russia was the result of US passivity and inaction, the intrusion of Iran into Syria can very definitely be attributed to ill-conceived, active American policy.


So rather than offer false promises…we have to take a long view of the terrorist threat, and we have to pursue a smart strategy that can be sustained…we have to draw upon the strength of our diplomacy…Just think about what we’ve done these last eight years without firing a shot…We’ve eliminated Syria’s declared chemical weapons program. – Barack Obama, Address on Counterterrorism, December 6, 2016.


With respect to Syria, we struck a deal where we got 100% of the chemical weapons out… – John Kerry, Obama’s Secretary of State, Meet the Press, July 20, 2014.

“We were able to find a solution that didn’t necessitate the use of force that actually removed the chemical weapons that were known from Syria, in a way that the use of force would never have accomplished. Our aim…was…to deal with the threat of chemical weapons by virtue of the diplomacy …We were able to get the Syrian government to voluntarily and verifiably give up its chemical weapons stockpile.”Susan Rice, Obama’s National Security Advisor, NPR , January 16, 2017.

The past years have been ones of great trauma and tragedy in Syria.

Sadly, ongoing trends may well herald trauma and tragedy on even a greater scale – not only for Syria itself, but for the entire region, and well beyond.

On the cusp of catastrophic conflict

Indeed, barely five years ago, few analysts—if any—would have predicted that the world would be poised on the brink of a militarized confrontation between the US and Israel on the one hand, and Russia, Iran, Syria and possibly Turkey (perversely and paradoxically a NATO member), on the other.

Yet these are precisely the emerging contours of the conflict on whose cusp we are now perched.

Much of the blame for the unfolding drama of human misery must be laid squarely and unequivocally on Barack Obama—and his disastrous policy decisions.

The source of virtually every vector of bestial brutality that has converged on Syria in the last half-decade—and which now threaten to diverge from it and engulf others, both near and far—can be traced back to the previous administration’s foreign policy preferences.

Indeed, a straight line can be drawn from the flaccidity of the Obama positions on US military presence in Iraq and his disdainful dismissal of the threat posed by ISIS; his disregard for his own “red lines” in Syria over Assad’s use of chemical weapons, coupled with his surrender of US influence to Russia; and of course, his capitulation to the tyrannical theocrats in Tehran on Iran’s nuclear program.

After all, the substantive content of these policies were so patently divergent from their declared purpose, it is difficult to reconcile their adoption with genuine good faith—unless one assumes almost child-like naiveté or staggering ignorance, neither of which are reassuring qualities for a leader of the world’s most powerful nation.

Obama: The most Islamophilic president ever

Significantly, the consequences of Obama’s “legacy’ have been so unambiguously calamitous that even the once sycophantic Obama-phile, Jeffrey Goldberg, penned an article (The Atlantic, April 7, 2017), disapprovingly headlined: The Obama Doctrine, R.I.P. With uncharacteristic acerbity for someone once so unreservedly supportive of the former president, Goldberg admits: “The 2013 Obama-Putin deal to disarm Assad of his chemical weapons was a failure… The argument that Obama achieved comprehensive WMD disarmament without going to war is no longer, as they say in Washington, operative.”

However, I hesitate to deem these decisions “errors of judgement”, for the really disturbing thing about Obama’s foreign policy is that it is difficult to know whether the appalling outcomes they produced were the result of well-intentioned, but unintended, blunders—or of malevolent and deliberate intent.

For whatever one might believe regarding Barack Obama’s genuine religious affiliation, one thing is beyond any honest dispute: He is without doubt the most Islamophilic president to ever to hold office, unabashedly unmoored to the bollards of the Judeo-Christian legacy that has underpinned—indeed, shaped—the character of the United States since its inception. This undoubtedly colored his view of America’s national interests and the appropriate manner in which they ought to be pursued, in hues very different from any other White House incumbent.

“…Muslims built our tallest building”

Thus, in his seminal outreach address in Cairo (June 2009) to the Muslim world, which in many ways laid the corner-stone for the subsequent orientation of his administration’s foreign policy, Obama, with scant historical corroboration to back himself up, declared: “I…know that Islam has always been a part of America’s story”—adding somewhat incongruously “…Muslims have enriched the United States …They have [among other things] built our tallest building”…just a few years after Muslims knocked down two of America’s tallest buildings. No kidding!

He then proceeded to draw a highly questionable equivalence between the ethos of the US and that of Islam: “America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles — principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”

Just how ludicrous his alleged parallel is, is something I have dealt with elsewhere –see Will the West Withstand the Obama Presidency?, and will thus forego any further elaboration here. However, it would be imprudent to ignore how this clearly articulated perspective impacted his policy-making.

Few have expressed what effect this overtly professed proclivity in Obama’s political credo (conveyed in his 2009 Cairo address) had on his administration’s ensuing foreign policy more succinctly than former Israeli ambassador to the US, Michael Oren.

From Cairo 2009 to Syria 2018

In a 2015 “Foreign Policy” essay, Oren excoriates Obama’s “naiveté as peacemaker, blinders to terrorism, and alienation of allies.”

Referring to Obama’s Cairo speech and other similar remarks made at the start of his incumbency, Oren observes: “These pronouncements presaged what was, in fact, a profound recasting of U.S. policy.”

He recounts that whenever leaders “ were perplexed by the administration’s decision to restore diplomatic ties with Syria — severed by Bush after the assassination of Lebanese president Rafik Hariri — or its early outreach to Libya and Iran, I would always refer them to that text. When policymakers back home failed to understand why Obama stood by Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who imprisoned journalists and backed Islamic radicals, or Mohamed Morsi, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and briefly its president, I would invariably say: ‘Go back to the speech.’ ”

In the essay, written barely a month before the July 2015 deal struck with Iran, Oren berates Obama’s “unique approach to Islam”, and his “assumption that a nuclear deal with Iran will render it ‘a very successful regional power’ capable of healing, rather than inflaming, historic schisms”, adding dryly: “That assumption was scarcely shared by Sunni Muslims, many of whom watched with deep concern at what they perceived as an emerging U.S.-Iranian alliance.”

“The Terrible Cost of Obama’s Failure in Syria”

The utter failure of the Obama doctrine can no longer be papered over. Its calamitous consequences are now beginning to be openly acknowledged in the mainstream media.

Thus, earlier this month, a withering review of what Obama has helped wreak in Syria appeared in “The Atlantic”—where the once obsequious Goldberg is Editor-in-Chief—under the caustic title “The Terrible Cost of Obama’s Failure in Syria”, detailing the atrocities inflicted on the civilian population since the administration’s glowing predictions that “we struck a deal where we got 100% of the chemical weapons out”.

But as tragic as the wholesale slaughter of civilians by Assad—once considered a “reformer”—are, there are many other grave, more strategic ramifications of the now widely discredited Obama doctrine.

The failure to assess the true nature of the threat ISIS posed in Iraq allowed the civil war there to spill over into Syria, compounding the carnage there. The uncontrolled escalation of fighting—and the absence of any US initiative to reign in Assad’s brutality—led to massive flows of refugees fleeing into Turkey and from there, into Europe—precipitating massive socio-cultural tensions across the continent, and threatening to undermine much of the domestic societal fabric.

Moreover, much like nature, politics abhors a vacuum. So when US reticence created a power vacuum in Syria, it was Putin and the Ayatollahs who were only too eager to fill it.

Freeing the Iranian tyranny from its bonds

But if surrendering US primacy in the region to Russia was the result of US passivity and inaction, the intrusion of Iran into Syria and the establishment of an ominous military presence there, together with the threat of a Shi’ite land bridge, linking Iran to the Mediterranean Coast, can very definitely be attributed to ill-conceived, active American policy.

After all, the current Iranian brazenness in Syria (and other portions of the region) would be inconceivable without the 2015 nuclear deal, ushered in by the Obama administration. Indeed, it is difficult to envisage the Iranian regime, prior to the deal, crippled by sanctions and deprived of assets, being able to orchestrate its current provocative mischief. The Obama orchestrated deal freed it from these inhibiting constraints and allowed it to pursue its global agenda of terror and aggression.

For in reality, there were only two ways to effectively restrain Tehran, force it to dismantle and discard its nuclear program, and to curtail its promotion of international terror.

In the short run, this involved maintaining—even tightening—the sanctions, which brought it to the negotiating table in the first place, backed up by a credible threat of military action against Iranian infrastructure—its dams, bridges, power plants and its tele-communication installations—in the case of continued defiance.

In the longer run, Iranian compliance with acceptable international norms can only be assured by regime-change—and replacement of the current tyrannical theocracy by rulers not driven the will to impose its fanatical brand of Islam across the globe.

Tyranny empowered, enriched & entrenched

Sadly, Obama obviated both these possibilities.

By unequivocally taking the military option off the table and relinquishing his pledge that “no deal is better than a bad deal”, he left Tehran secure in the knowledge that if the West backed away from the use of force against a weak, impoverished, non-nuclear Iran, there was little chance of it being adopted later, against a stronger, richer nuclear Iran.

Secondly, by abolishing the sanctions and freeing billions of Iranian assets, Obama empowered the current regime militarily, enriched it economically, and entrenched it politically. Thus, he inevitably made any chance of regime-change commensurately more remote.

Accordingly, without any real threat to its grip on power, the ruling tyranny was left unencumbered to pursue its malevolent designs in Syria; and together with the Russians, prop up their puppet, Assad, while developing a military presence to threaten Israel, and enhance its hegemonic aspirations across the Mid-East and beyond.

This is clearly a situation which Israel cannot tolerate, bringing the potential for large-scale militarized confrontation perilously close.

The bitter fruits of appeasement

The last great global conflict was the result of appeasement—and the attempt to assuage tyranny by concessions. In the aftermath of the Obama era, we are left to hope that yet another ill-advised attempt to appease tyranny will not precipitate yet another human catastrophe.


The Radical-in-Chief didn’t just support one monster. He backed two.

Obama owns the disaster in Syria in a way that no one else does. Three of his policies intersected to cause the bloodshed, devastation and horrors there.

  1. The Iraq Withdrawal
  2. The Arab Spring
  3. The Iran Deal

Obama’s Iraq withdrawal turned the country over to Iran and ISIS. The tensions between the Shiite puppet regime in Baghdad (which Obama insisted on backing) and the Sunni population created a cycle of violence that reduced the country to a bloody civil war between Shiite militias and Al Qaeda in Iraq.

The collapse of the multicultural Iraqi army allowed Al Qaeda in Iraq to seize huge swathes of territory. And ISIS and Iran began carving up Iraq into their own ethnically cleansed dominions.

Then his Arab Spring empowered the Muslim Brotherhood’s Sunni forces to seize power in countries around the region. Unlike Egypt and Tunisia, whose governments fell under White House pressure, and Libya, which Obama bombed and invaded, the Iranians and Russians didn’t cut their Syrian allies loose.

Iraq’s civil war spread to Syria. Initially Obama backed the Sunni Brotherhood militias. These groups represented themselves as free, secular and democratic. They were actually nothing of the kind. But as Libya and Yemen turned into disasters, and the Syrian militias clamored for direct military intervention, Obama instead turned to Iran. The Sunni Islamists hadn’t worked out so he cut a deal with the Shiites.

Obama’s new deal with Iran was sealed with a fortune in illegal foreign currency shipments flown in on unmarked cargo planes, a virtual blank check for Iran’s nuclear program, the collapse of sanctions and the withdrawal of support for the Sunni militias in Syria. And that gave Iran a free hand in Syria.

If you want to understand why Syria is a disaster area, these are the three reasons.

Obama empowered ISIS and Iran next door to Syria. Then he empowered Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda militias in Syria. And then he finally empowered Iran, Assad and Russia in Syria.

If he had set out to cause as much death and devastation as possible in Syria, he couldn’t have done any more damage without dropping nuclear bombs or his campaign propaganda on its major cities.

Every major terror player in Syria was empowered by Obama’s terrible decisions.

ISIS and Iranian expansionism grew in the vacuum his policies had created. He backed the Brotherhood and Al Qaeda militias with training, political support and weapons shipments. And then he decided to create another vacuum that would allow Iran to overrun the region to do the work he didn’t want to do.

Syria is just the culmination of a series of bad decisions guided by a single disastrous philosophy.

Obama’s foreign policy was a leftist response to 9/11 and the Iraq War. Its central premise was that Islamic terrorism was our fault. Islamic terrorists had attacked us because of our support for the governments in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. This idea was implicitly expressed in his Iraq War speech.

“Let’s fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle East, the Saudis and the Egyptians, stop oppressing their own people, and suppressing dissent, and tolerating corruption and inequality, and mismanaging their economies so that their youth grow up without education, without prospects, without hope, the ready recruits of terrorist cells,” he had declared.

The solution was withdrawing from Iraq. And withdrawing political support from our allies.

The Islamic terrorists would run for office, win elections and then stop being terrorists. Or at least they would limit their terrorism to domestic and regional violence. There would be no more justification for our “imperialist” military interventions in the region. That was Obama’s “smart power” foreign policy.

Instead it all went badly wrong.

The alliance between the Muslim Brotherhood, Qatar and the Obama regime toppled friendly governments and replaced them with terror states across the Middle East. But popular uprisings against Islamist rule in Tunisia and Egypt forced out Obama allies: Mohammed Morsi and Rashid Ghannouchi. Obama’s illegal invasion of Libya led to everything from the return of slave markets to ISIS cities. Libya’s Brotherhood allied with Al Qaeda influenced terror militias leading to the Benghazi attack.

Obama’s other worst Arab Spring disasters happened in Syria and Yemen. Iran used the Brotherhood bids for power as an opening. The fighting between Shiite and Sunni Jihadists devastated both countries. Obama wanted the Muslim Brotherhood to win, but he didn’t want to keep invading countries to do it.

The Muslim Brotherhood couldn’t take power or hold on to it without military support. Hillary Clinton had talked Obama into invading Libya. But he didn’t want any more wars. Especially after Libya.

When some of his advisers urged him to intervene more strongly in Syria, he wavered.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner, who vacationed all over the world, couldn’t actually find anyone except the French to actually support action in Syria. And he was too used to leading from behind to take the lead. The red line had been broken. He slowly crawled all the way up to action. And then ran away while pathetically blaming the British for his own cowardice, double-dealing and broken promises.

The former UK PM would reportedly describe Obama as, one of the “most narcissistic, self-absorbed people”.

Obama avoided the war by humiliating his own Secretary of State and colluding with the Russians. He dodged having to deliver on his red line by agreeing to pretend that Syria had destroyed its WMDs.

Triumphant press releases and media accounts claimed that all the chemical weapons were gone.

This fake deal would serve as a precedent for another fake deal to stop Iran’s own WMD program. Both deals were equally worthless and were backed by the experts and reporters who are now demanding action all over again against the Syrian WMDs that, if you listened to them, weren’t supposed to exist.

“The credible threat of force brought about an opening for diplomacy, to come in, which then led to something that no one thought was possible,” Derek Chollet, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, said.

There was no credible threat of force. And there was a reason no one thought that it was possible.

It wasn’t.

The Russians and Iranians had played Obama. And they would go on playing him. But Obama wanted to be played. He wanted to save face by handing over his disaster to the Russians and Iran.

He wanted to implement regime change in the Middle East. But he didn’t want to get his hands dirty.

It all began with his backing for Sunni Islamist takeovers. Then he switched to backing Shiite Islamists.

As Hillary once said, “What difference does it make?” Except to the dying and the dead.

We support monsters.

That is the familiar leftist critique of American foreign policy during the Cold War. The same radicals who supported the racist Sandinistas, who chanted, “Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh, the NLF is gonna win” at their anti-war rallies, and wore red Che t-shirts, claimed that we wrongly supported anti-Communist dictators.

But the left is always twice as guilty of its own accusations.

In Syria, Obama didn’t just support one monster. He backed two. The bloodshed in Syria is entirely a product of the decisions that he made. But he wasn’t satisfied with supporting just one bunch of genocidal Islamic fanatics in a holy war. In one of the most extraordinary crimes, he backed both.

And he closed his eyes and allowed a third, ISIS, to rise.

Obama wanted to overthrow the dictators who were our allies. And he turned to the Brotherhood to do the job. When the Brotherhood couldn’t stand up to Iran or ISIS, he turned to Iran. He violated the law numerous times, providing weapons to Sunni Jihadists and cash to Shiite Jihadists, launching one illegal war and threatening to launch another, and it all ended in a miserable disaster that he ran away from.

The blood of 500,000 people is on his hands.

Originally Published in FrontPageMag.


Fake outrage and real crimes.

After weeks of outrage at the close ties between top Democrats and Louis Farrakhan, the leader of an anti-Semitic hate group, the media finally condemned anti-Semitism by a top political official.

President Trump and OMB Director Mick Mulvaney had referred to outgoing NEC Director Gary Cohn as a “globalist.” And “globalist,” according to Think Progress, the Huffington Post, Salon and Vox, is an “anti-Semitic slur.”  Those are the same media outlets that had no problem using “globalist” as a slur when targeting Trump. HuffPo had published a piece tarring him as “Trump: The Globalist Plutocrat” and Vox had described Trump going to Davos, “the world’s biggest party for globalist elites.”

Both Trump and Mulvaney were praising Cohn and minimizing a globalist-nationalist split. That’s why President Trump said, “He may be a globalist, but I still like him. He’s seriously globalist, there’s no question, but you know what, in his own way he’s also a nationalist because he loves our country.”

And why Mulvaney wrote that, “I never expected that the coworker I would work closest, and best, with at the White House would be a “globalist.” Gary Cohn is one of the smartest people I’ve ever worked with. Having the chance to collaborate with him will remain one of the highlights of my career in public service.”

Can’t you just spot the “anti-Semitic dogwhistles”?

There are some in the alt-right who use “globalist” as an anti-Semitic slur, just as there were those on the left who used neo-conservative as an anti-Semitic slur. But that’s not what those terms mean.

When Stephen Miller, a Jewish Trump adviser, told CNN’s Jim Acosta, a Cuban-American, that he was suffering from a “cosmopolitan bias,” Politico accused Miller of using an “anti-Semitic dog whistle.” While “cosmopolitan” was an anti-Semitic euphemism in the USSR, Miller isn’t a Russian Communist, he’s a Jewish conservative.

But a congressional Democrat recently did use an anti-Semitic dogwhistle.

Rep. Danny Davis defended his ties to Farrakhan, the anti-Semitic leader of the Nation of Islam, by arguing, “The world is so much bigger than Farrakhan and the Jewish question and his position on that.”

About the only people who think there’s a “Jewish question” these days are anti-Semites. When Hitler and Marx weighed in on the Jewish question, it was to denounce the Jews. Unlike “globalist,” when the term is used by the alt-right today, (shortened to JQ), its meaning is unambiguously hostile.

But the national media chose to ignore Rep. Davis’ remarks. It embargoed the story, just as it embargoed the recent release of a photo of Obama and Farrakhan and the controversy over Women’s March leaders’ ties to Farrakhan. And Farrakhan, who once praised Hitler, has been venting a stream of anti-Semitic invective at the “Satanic” Jews because he knows that the national media won’t touch him.

The controversy over Obama, Davis, Keith Ellison, Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory has played out in the Jewish and conservative media. But no one in the mainstream media is willing to ask why Obama, the No. 2 man at the DNC, the Congressional Black Caucus and the next generation of intersectional feminist leaders are comfortable hanging out with a racist who suggested that Jews use pot to make black men gay. But the  media will only discuss anti-Semitism is when it serves its political agenda.

ThinkProgress had the chutzpah to accuse President Trump of using an “anti-Semitic dogwhistle” when the lefty advocacy site had been forced to clean house over actual anti-Semitic dog whistles. The uproar over the use of “Israel firsters” by the site led its editor-in-chief to denounce the “terrible, anti-Semitic language”. But Salon, which also denounced Trump’s “globalist” remark, had published pieces defending TP’s anti-Semitic language while smearing the lefty group’s Jewish critics. Some of the same culprits are now targeting Bari Weiss at the New York Times for her willingness to call out anti-Semitism on the left.

But while its personnel were using anti-Semitic dog whistles, TP accused Sarah Palin of using an “anti-Semitic term” when she defended herself against false accusations of being responsible for the Arizona shooting by accusing the media of a “blood libel”. The accusation that Palin was being anti-Semitic made as much sense as Politico suggesting that Stephen Miller was using Soviet anti-Semitic slurs against CNN.

But the left is happy to invent fake anti-Semitism while refusing to address its own real anti-Semitism.

It will pretend that Mulvaney, Trump and Miller are using anti-Semitic language, but it won’t speak up when a member of the Congressional Black Caucus talks about a Hitler-lover and the “Jewish question”.

The left doesn’t just use anti-Semitism as a political weapon while refusing to renounce it. It will even deploy accusations of anti-Semitism as a political weapon in support of anti-Semites like George Soros.

The same media outlets that won’t talk about the genocidal threats by Iran’s regime and by its terror proxies in Gaza, have been accusing the critics of Soros, a billionaire lefty donor, of anti-Semitism. Soros, a former Nazi collaborator, had called his wartime activities “the most exciting time of my life.”

Soros described growing up in a “Jewish, anti-Semitic home” with a mother whom he called, a “typical Jewish anti-Semite” who hated his first wife because she was “too Jewish.”

After he compared Israeli Jews to Nazis at an event honoring a Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel had declared, “I heard what happened. If I’d been there—and you can quote me—I would have walked out.” That same year, Soros had blamed the Jewish State for a “resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe”.

And Soros’ J Street, an anti-Israel group, is still mulling whether to stop endorsing Rep. Danny Davis. That’s their version of the Jewish Question. How much anti-Semitism by a progressive ally is too much?

The left treats anti-Semitism as another identity politics counter to be tossed in whenever convenient. It wants to be racist while accusing Republicans of racism. It wants to assault women while accusing Republicans of sexism. And it wants to be anti-Semitic while accusing Republicans of anti-Semitism.

Even while it appropriates anti-Semitism, treating it like another microaggression, triggered by terms like “globalist”, “cosmopolitan” or “blood libel” that have some anti-Semitic associations, but not in the context where they are presently being used, the left ignores what anti-Semitism actually is.

Anti-Semitism is not just another of the many intersectional expressions of bigotry as the left sees it. That misguided view of anti-Semitism makes it too easy to dismiss it as part of a bundle of attitudes that progressives don’t share. Emphasizing “globalist” and “cosmopolitan” appropriates anti-Semitism and reduces it to the worldview of people who don’t think about the planet the way that progressives do.

But anti-Semitism is ubiquitous. It’s not just a general phenomenon, but a specific one. It can pop up in any political worldview. It’s a black hole that curves ideologies and religions around its event horizon.

Appropriating anti-Semitism as a partisan political weapon lends cover to internal anti-Semitism within a political movement by externalizing it. The media can spot anti-Semitism in a random Trump quip, but not in the affinity of a former president, the second-in-command at the DNC and numerous members of Congress for Louis Farrakhan, a racist who praised Hitler and accuses Jews of running the country.

When Islamic terrorists kill Jews, when campus BDS thugs intimidate Jewish students, when their own party pals around with an anti-Semitic racist, they’re nowhere to be found. The left traffics in classic anti-Semitic stereotypes, supports rabid bigots and aids anti-Semitic regimes, but the moment they hear a whistle from the other side of the fence, they come barking as loudly as they can.

It’s bad enough that the left aids anti-Semitism from Berkeley to Tehran. It’s even worse when it appropriates anti-Semitism as a political weapon even while it remains an anti-Semitic movement.

Originally published in FrontPageMag.

Are the wheels falling off Obama’s “signature” foreign policy endeavor?

The ongoing turmoil in Iran highlights both the duplicity to which the Obama administration resorted & the missed opportunity for a better deal.

The alternative is a region wide explosion with totally unpredictable consequences….Just think how that would work out in the end… I think that is a policy of self-destruction  – Zbignew Brzenski, trying to justify Obama’s Iran deal by scaremongering, Apr. 4, 2015, MSNBC.

We created an echo chamber…They [legions of ‘freshly minted” arms-control experts who became key sources for hundreds of often-clueless reporters] were saying things that validated what we had given them to say. Ben Rhodes, Barack Obama’s Advisor for Strategic Communications, revealing the duplicity resorted to in order promote the 2015-Iran nuclear deal, New York Times, May 5, 2016.

Things are going badly—very badly—for the Barack Obama “legacy”.

Myopic, moronic or malicious?

Nowhere is this more apparent than with what had been dubbed his “signature foreign policy goal”—the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Indeed, as time passes it is becoming ever-more evident that the entire arrangement with Tehran is on an inevitable collision course with recalcitrant realities.

For as more and more comes to light regarding what was done—and what was not—in order to ruthlessly and recklessly railroad the dubious deal through, the more astonishing—indeed, inexplicable—the Obama administration’s behavior seems to be.

Or does it?

After all, as more and more revelations emerge, so does what appears to be almost incomprehensible incompetence, and/or deliberate dereliction, making it increasingly difficult to accept unquestioningly that the negotiations with Tehran were conducted in good faith.

Indeed, as I have written elsewhere, the really chilling aspect of the Obama incumbency is that it is genuinely difficult to diagnose whether the abysmal results it produced,  represent a crushing failure of his policies—or a calculated success; whether they are the product of chronic ineptitude or purposeful foresight; whether they reflect myopic misunderstanding, moronic incompetence or malicious intent.

At least two recent developments have propelled this quandary into even sharper relief —in two different ways: The one alludes to the depths of the duplicity to which the Obama administration was prepared to resort in order to push the deal through; the other, to the needlessness of the generous accommodation of the Iranian demands, which the deal entailed.

No rabid radical right-wing rag

The first of these developments was the December 2015 Politico exposé  charging that the Obama administration purposely impeded a federal investigation into the drug and weapons trafficking of Tehran’s terror surrogate, Hezbollah, to avoid undermining the nuclear deal—a topic I dealt with in a recent column.

The other is the current wave of unrest sweeping across Iran, sparked by the dire economic conditions, spiraling unemployment and rampant corruption in the country, reflecting wide-spread disaffection and discontent with the incumbent tyrannical theocracy. This evident socio-economic disarray and civic dissatisfaction portray a picture of a country with a precarious political regime and a poorly performing economy—even in the relatively conducive post-sanctions conditions. This utterly belies the perception conveyed by the Obama team of a formidable foe, which could compel the US and its powerful allies to accept the highly accommodative 2015 deal, and the consequent ominous warning that there was “no alternative”, other than catastrophic war.

The fact that the almost 15,000 word exposé on the obstruction, orchestrated by the White House, of a federal investigation into Hezbollah was published in a major mainstream media outlet such as Politico, imparts weight to the gave allegations its lays out. After all, Politico is hardly a rabid rightwing rag, purveying radical Obama-phobic rumors. Indeed, soon after publication, Secretary of Justice Jeff Sessions, ordered the Department of Justice to initiate a review of the conduct of the federal investigation into Hezbollah’s illicit operations—including the funneling of cocaine into the US.

Obama’s obsession

Accordingly, whatever the outcome of such a review, the fact that such grave allegations are not publicly perceived as totally implausible, is sufficient to cast a pall of doubt not only on the merits of the substantive content of the deal and the manner in which it was concluded, but inevitably, also on the underlying motivations of those who pursued it with such unswerving—read “obsessive”—vigor. Indeed, in the words of Bloomberg columnist, Eli Lake: “Obama from the beginning of his presidency tried to turn the country’s ruling clerics from foes to friends. It was an obsession.”

This diagnosis appeared in a 2016 analysis by Lake of why Obama turned his back on the Iranian demonstrators, who took to the streets in protest against the regime in what has become known as the 2009 “Green Revolution”.

This brings us back to the issue of civil discontent in Iran, and what it reveals about Obama’s fixation with making a deal—any deal—with the ayatollahs, and about what other alternatives, which could—indeed, should—have been pursued.

Indeed, Lake catalogues the sharp divergence between the manner in which the US responded to other cases of popular uprisings against despotic rulers, where it actively supported them; and the manner in which it responded to the Iranian uprising, where it explicitly prohibited extending backing to any opposition to the incumbent regime.

“A deal at any cost…”

Lake’s bleak analysis is largely corroborated by former Israeli ambassador to the US during the Obama-era, Michael Oren.

In a recent interview, Oren noted that: “The Obama administration’s lack of support for the Green Revolution was part of a pattern in which it did not hold Iran accountable for any provocation. It would seem it was part of a general approach that began in Obama’s first week in office in 2009 of wanting to reach a deal with Iran at pretty much any cost.”

Indeed, perhaps one of Oren’s most troubling claims is that Obama failed to follow through on the “red line” he himself imposed on the Iranian backed Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad, regarding the use of chemical weapons, so as not to undermine the prospects of the nuclear deal.

This excessive eagerness on Obama’s part for a deal, matched only by his far-reaching reluctance to hold Iran (or its proxies operating under its auspices) responsible for any malfeasance, however nefarious, cannot but raise disturbing and dismaying speculation by any fair-minded person as to the real motives that lay behind the Iran nuclear deal.

This sense of unease is heightened by the stark divergence between the stated objectives, set by the Obama administration itself, that were purportedly to be attained in any agreement with Tehran, and those actually attained in the final agreement.

Disturbing divergence

Thus, in a debate in his 2012 bid for reelection, Obama himself proclaimed that the US’s goal was what he later claimed to be unattainable: “Our goal is to get Iran to recognize it needs to give up its nuclear program and abide by the UN resolutions that have been in place…the deal we’ll accept is: They end their nuclear program. It’s very straightforward”.

Obama’s Secretary of State, John Kerry, who played the leading role in ushering in the Iran deal, echoed very similar sentiments. Appearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on December 10, 2013, Kerry declared: I don’t think that any of us thought we were just imposing these sanctions for the sake of imposing them. We did it because we knew that it would hopefully help Iran dismantle its nuclear program. That was the whole point of the [sanctions] regime.

Of course, the deal eventually concluded, came nowhere close to meeting these professed goals. Indeed, former Secretary of State and Nobel Peace laureate, Henry Kissinger, aptly articulated the abandonment of the original goals, lamenting that the US had shifted its focus from preventing, to permitting, proliferation. Thus, in a January 2015 appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee he warned: “Nuclear talks with Iran began as an international effort, buttressed by six U.N. resolutions, to deny Iran the capability to develop a military nuclear option. They are now an essentially bilateral negotiation over the scope of that capability…The impact of this approach will be to move from preventing proliferation to managing it.”

Iran on a glide path to nuclear weapons

Underscoring the deadly detriments in the then-emerging Iran deal, John Hannah cautioned ominously in “Foreign Policy” a few months prior to its conclusion.

Make no mistake,” he warned “ …It puts us on a glide path to a world in which a militant Islamic theocracy — with the blood of at least a thousand Americans on its hands — that wants to destroy Israel and spread terror and violence across the Middle East is but a stone’s throw away from having the capacity to achieve a nuclear arsenal that… no one will have time to stop.”

He reminded his readers: “This is exactly the outcome that U.S. policy has fought so mightily to prevent for the better part of two decades,” adding caustically: “That strikes me as a pretty good definition of a bad deal.”

He disdainfully dismissed the contention that no better alternative existed, pointing out that it was “irrelevant to the standard that the president himself has repeatedly insisted would guide his strategy. That is: No deal is better than a bad deal period. Full stop. End of sentence.” He ends his article endorsing the “No deal is better than a bad deal” principle, urging Obama to adhere to the policy parameters he himself set: “The president is right. Now, difficult as it may be, he needs to follow his own policy.

Sadly, Obama chose not to.

What current unrest exposes: Cowardice or complicity

The claim that the US and its powerful allies could not coerce an impoverished, economically emaciated, drought stricken Iran to agree to a far more advantageous deal, that would not only compel it terminate its nuclear program, but also to curtail its other nefarious and bellicose operations—such as sowing regional instability, developing longrange missiles, and propagating global terror—has a distinctly hollow ring to it.

Elsewhere, I have detailed the overwhelming imbalance of power in favor of the US, essentially making a mockery of the implicit claim by the Obama White House that Iran could deter America from imposing the dismantlement of its nuclear facilities by threatening a military response.

However, the recent riots in Iran amplify the absurdity of such a claim. For they expose Iran—even after the lifting of sanctions–as an inherently weak, mismanaged nation, with a politically challenged leadership and dismally dysfunctional economy–crippled with cronyism and corruption and massive unemployment (13% overall, almost 20-30% among young people and in some cities reportedly as high as 60%).

The country is facing a dramatic water crisis, which according to some sources will compel the relocation of up to 60% of its population within the next 25 years.

It is thus inconceivable that if a pre-deal Iran, facing economic implosion, social unrest and simmering political insurrection, were confronted with a resolute demand to dismantle its nuclear installations; or face the specter of enhanced sanctions backed by a credible threat of coercive action aimed at destroying its national infrastructure – dams, power-stations, bridges, harbors and airports –it would not have been compelled to comply.

Only cowardice or complicity of the US administration can explain why this policy was not adopted.

Iran’s inalienable rights vs. the West’s unavoidable duty

To be sure, in an international system comprised of sovereign states, Iran, as a sovereign state, has an inalienable right to pursue weaponized nuclear capability.

However, as the current regime is manifestly inimical to everything the Free World purportedly holds dear, the countries comprising that group (aka “The West”), led by the US, have an unavoidable duty to prevent it from exercising this right.

That is the unavoidable dialectic dynamic that must be maintained in the international system, if it is  not to spiral into a cataclysmic nuclear confrontation.

In the short-run, the potential for such a clash can only be averted by confronting Iran with a credible coercive option along the lines outlined above. In the long-run, it can only be avoided by a regime-change, in which the current rulers are replaced by less aggressive and less expansionist successors.

However, if the West could not find the resolve or courage to implement such a strategic blueprint when facing a non-nuclear Iran, economically depleted by sanctions, how plausible is it that it will be willing/able to do so when facing a nuclear Iran, economically replenished by sanction relief?

Could it be that ,at least on the Iranian issue, many Netanyahu-phobic critics, both in Israel and abroad, have some serious soul-searching to do?

Trump, Iran, and the Time for Regime Change

Donald Trump tweeted the following concerning the wave of anti-regime protests sweeping Iran:

What started out as a series of economic protests in select cities in Iran has turned into the largest wave of anti-regime protests in Iran since the failed Green Movement. Despite the show of force by the regime protests keep growing threatening to spiral out of control.

Unlike the Green Movement, which many blame Obama for not backing at the same time he backed the Arab Spring, Donald Trump has gone out and warned Iran.  Does this mean he will step in.  Absolutely not, but what is clear is that his vocal support maybe key in helping to further destablize what is seen as a brutal theocratic regime.

With Iran on the move across the Middle East, the regime has pumped billions of dollars into bolstering its proxies while many of its citizens suffer from economic woes.

For this revolution to succeed, it cannot be seen as a Western inspired uprising, but rather homegrown in nature. So far that seems to be the case. While the IRCG and the security forces are brutal, the populace must hang in there for this to have long term consequences for the Ayatollahs and their supporters.  With internal divisions growing in Iran, it is clear that this may take off.

Yet, if the Iranian regime believes this uprising threatens its very existance, war may be the regime’s only way out.

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

North Korea, Donald Trump, and Obama’s Controlled Chaos

With news coming out of North Korea that the regime has in fact tested another engine for an ICBM capable of reaching the USA, observers are begining to wonder if the only real solution to North Korea is war. Russia and China have alredy moved troops to the border as early as May when tensions began to increase, but now any pressure the international community might have had (especially China) on the North Korean regime has melted.

President Trump himself acknowledged this in a tweet.

The world like the Syria crisis moves ever closer to the point of no return. If the Kim regime would get an ICBM, it’s nuclear ambitions would be fully realized.  This means the Trump administration has little time to avert a fully nuclear capable North Korea, which would destablize Asia and upend America’s dominance in the Pacific, not to mention being held “captive” by a mad man who could decide to nuke America whenever he got angry.

So how did we get here?  Afterall, even the most ardent Trump critics do not blame the crisis on him. The North Korean nuclear program flourished under Obama after it achieved break out under Bush.

The Obama administration could  have stopped it early on, but allowed it to develop and grow. Why?

Everything the Obama administration did when it came to foreign policy should be seen through the prism of chaos creation.  This can be applied to funding ISIS ( in its early days), Black Lives Matter, not preventing Russia from entering Syria, and of course North Korea.

This attempt at creating controlled chaos serves both the Deep State and the Globalists, because chaos breeds the need for placing a new order so as to provide a solution where there was none within the chaos. This allows the Deep State and Globalists to take more control.

The problem is, chaos cannot be controlled.  It goes the way it wants and almost never where the party who creates intends it to. The world is at the precipice because the Deep State and Globalist elite network of rulers has put us there.

Donald Trump will have no choice but to take down the North Korean regime. It is clear he does not wnat to go to war, but an ICBM in the hands of a madman is not an option. In the ensuing chaos, the Deep State and Globalists will attempt to assert control, but the chaos may very well be too much even for them.

Burying Obama’s legacy

The fact is that Trump has given Netanyahu support as he has walked away from the failed policy paradigm of the Obama years.

It may very well be that this week was the week that Israel and the US put to rest former president Barack Obama’s policies and positions on Israel and the Palestinians.

If so, the move was made despite the best efforts of Obama’s team to convince the Trump administration to maintain them.

The details of Obama’s policies and positions have been revealed in recent weeks in a series of articles published in Haaretz regarding Obama’s secretary of state John Kerry’s failed peacemaking efforts, which ended in 2014.

The articles reported segments of two drafts of a US framework for a final peace treaty between the PLO and Israel. The drafts were created in February and March 2014.

The article series is predicated on the assumption that Kerry and his team were on the precipice of a historic breakthrough between PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. But a close reading of the documents shows that the opposite was the case.

There are two reasons that Kerry had no prospects for reaching a deal.

First, he, Obama and their advisers were too hostile to Israel and its citizens to ever convince Netanyahu that Israel’s interests would be secured.

A February 2014 draft framework agreement, which was based on conversations Kerry and his team held with Netanyahu and his advisers, makes this clear. The draft includes Netanyahu’s demand that Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria not annexed to Israel would remain “in place” after the implementation of a peace deal, and presumably, become towns in the future Palestinian state.

In other words, Netanyahu demanded that the Israelis in Judea and Samaria whose towns would be located in the territory of “Palestine” would enjoy the same rights and protections as Israel’s Arab citizens enjoy.

Kerry and his team would have none of it. The February draft agreement notes, “[US] negotiators need to check with PM [Netanyahu] on whether he wants to [maintain this position]… They believe that if so, he will push strongly for ‘in place.’ ‘In place’ is inconsistent with US policy and therefore unacceptable to us as well as the Palestinians.”

In other words, the position of the Obama administration was that all Israelis living in areas that would become part of the Palestinian state must be forcibly removed from their homes and communities.

Haaretz reporters Barak Ravid and Amir Tibon recalled that in previous rounds of negotiations, the Palestinians – unlike the Obama administration – had not rejected this Israeli position out of hand. That is, in demanding the mass expulsion of Israeli Jews from their homes, the administration adopted a policy more extreme than the PLO.

Then there is the problem with the PLO.

Abbas rejected Kerry’s February 2014 draft framework agreement, which was based on conversations with Netanyahu and his advisors. But he also rejected Kerry’s March 2014 agreement, which was based on the US’s conversation with him and his advisors.

The March 2014 draft was presented to Abbas by Obama himself during a meeting between the two in the White House. Not only did Abbas not accept Obama’s offer, he refused to respond to it.

This should have surprised no one. Abbas did the same thing in 2008 after then-prime minister Ehud Olmert presented Abbas with his peace proposal. Abbas’s predecessor, Yasser Arafat, responded in the same way in July 2000 to then-prime minister Ehud Barak’s peace offer, and in December 2000, to then-president Bill Clinton’s peace offer.

Given the consistent track record, it is beyond foolish to believe that anyone – even Trump – will fare differently from his American and Israeli predecessors.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Haaretz series is what they tell us about Netanyahu.

Like him or hate him, the Netanyahu revealed in the articles is a brilliant statesman. In difficult diplomatic conditions, with the US openly siding with the PLO against him, Netanyahu managed to parry and duck. Although Haaretz tries to present Netanyahu as weak and compliant, the text shows that the opposite was the case.

In the face of massive pressure from Obama, Netanyahu refused to commit to anything. His only recorded position was that all Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria remain in place in perpetuity.

Rather than confront Kerry directly, Netanyahu stood aside and watched as the Americans drafted their anti-Israel proposals. He nodded. He smiled. He refused to commit to anything.

And he waited patiently for Abbas to walk away from the table.

Until this week, much to the dismay of many of his supporters, Netanyahu appeared unwilling to move beyond the defensive position he maintained throughout the Obama presidency. This week he took three great big steps forward.

First, Netanyahu announced that he supports amending Israel’s NGO law to ban foreign governments from funding political nonprofits registered in Israel.

For the past 20 years, Israel has been subjected to ever-escalating subversive campaigns funded and often directed by foreign governments and carried out by Israeli-registered NGOs. The purpose of these campaigns is to legitimize political and economic warfare against the Jewish state by European and other Western governments. The campaigns legitimize political and economic warfare against Israel by demonizing the Jewish state, its citizens and its soldiers.

In recent years, lawmakers have tried repeatedly to block the funding. But due to US pressure, Netanyahu scuttled all their attempts. Proposed reform bills were watered down until they were limited to instituting weak reporting requirements. Foreign government funds continue streaming into the coffers of NGOs whose positions are supported by no significant domestic constituencies.

By announcing that he now supports passing legislation that will bar foreign government funding of nonprofits, Netanyahu is striking a strategic blow at the political and economic war being waged against Israel by the EU and by the international Left.

This war, waged in the name of the Palestinians, has harmed Israel’s relations with the Palestinians by discouraging them from living peacefully with their Israeli neighbors.

Then there is UNRWA. The UN’s refugee agency dedicated to the Palestinians is arguably one of the central reasons for the perpetuation of the Palestinian conflict with Israel. Indeed, UNRWA was formed by the Arab governments to specifically block all prospect of peace between Israel and its neighbors.

UNRWA prevents the permanent resettlement of the Arabs who left Israel in 1948 and 1949 as well as their descendants. It has doomed five generations of “refugees” to live in the squalor of its camps, blocked from receiving citizenship in the countries of their birth and prevented from being resettled in other countries.

After Hamas took over Gaza in 2007, then-secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and then-foreign minister Tzipi Livni decided that the best way to respond to the move was by massively increasing UNRWA’s budget. They were unmoved by the fact that UNRWA employs Hamas terrorists. They ignored the fact that UNRWA schools in Gaza and elsewhere indoctrinate their students to embrace jihad and the cause of Israel’s annihilation.

Under Obama, the US increased its payments to UNRWA even as UNRWA schools, clinics and other facilities have been used as missile launching pads and storage depots in Hamas’s war against Israel.

This week, Netanyahu finally put to rest the dangerous folly that UNRWA is a foil to Hamas and a positive force in the region. He called for UNRWA to be dismantled and for the Palestinians and their descendants to be treated like every other refugee group in the world and be resettled by the UN’s high commissioner for refugees.

If Netanyahu’s move against UNRWA is translated into actual Israeli and US policy, it will mark the beginning of the end of one of the primary causes of the Palestinian conflict with Israel.

Finally, there is incitement. Palestinian terrorism would vastly diminish were it not for constant incitement that encourages terrorism and rewards and celebrates terrorists.

Since it was established by the Qatari regime in 1996, Al Jazeera has been a central engine of antisemitic and jihadist indoctrination of the Palestinians. And yet, Israel has never moved to close Al Jazeera’s bureau in Israel.

Israel has given the terrorist network a pass largely because it hasn’t wanted to deal with the Western outcry that such a move would provoke.

This week, for the first time, Netanyahu, along with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, announced they support Al Jazeera’s closure and have directed their staff to consider the best way to do so.

In so doing, Netanyahu and Liberman are making the most of the opportunity afforded Israel by the Arab states’ open cleavage with Qatar. Last week, Saudi Arabia and Jordan closed Al Jazeera’s bureaus in Riyadh and Amman. Egypt, which closed Al Jazeera’s offices in 2013, blocked its website.

Taken both separately and together, Netanyahu’s moves this week strike strategic blows at three central components of the Palestinian conflict with Israel. Incitement, political warfare and the eternalization of Palestinian refugee status all render the conflict intractable and prevent peaceful Palestinian leaders from emerging.

Notably, whereas the Obama administration would have subjected Israel to hysterical condemnations if Netanyahu had dared to take the steps he took this week, the Trump administration has taken no position on Netanyahu’s announcements.

The real reason that Trump appears to be burying Obama’s legacy is because unlike the ideologically- driven Obama, Trump is willing to consider evidence and facts when determining his opinions.

In May, Abbas came to the White House and told Trump that he abjured terrorism. Israel then presented Trump with evidence that Abbas publicly incites terrorism and uses the Palestinian Authority budget to support terrorists and their families.

Trump took in the information and upbraided Abbas for lying to him.

True, this week Secretary of State Rex Tillerson falsely told Congress that Abbas had cut off the payments. And true, Tillerson doubled down on his assertion after both the Palestinians and Israel said the payments have not been cut off.

True as well that Trump continues to believe that he can make “the deal” that his predecessors failed to secure.

But the fact is that Trump has given Netanyahu support as he has walked away from the failed policy paradigm of the Obama years.

In other words, Netanyahu’s moves this week, and the fact that the Trump administration has left him alone to make them without being second-guessed or condemned by Washington, indicates that we have finally moved past Obama’s legacy.

Where we are going is still unknown. But what is certain is that by going after the sources of the continued malignancy of the conflict and pushing back against the lies that informed Obama’s policies, both Israel and the US have abandoned them.

Originally published in Jerusalem Post

Did the US Create ISIS?

Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made the following statement yesterday:

“You (the United States) and your agents are the source of instability in the Middle East…who created Islamic State? America … America’s claim of fighting against Islamic State is a lie.”

Iran’s Supreme leader went on to claim that Iran has proof that the US did indeed create ISIS.

As I wrote last year, there is overriding evidence that this is indeed true.

Department of Defense documents that have been declassified in the last year confirm that the Obama administration encouraged the flow of weapons into the moderate rebel groups in Syria, knowing they would eventually fall into Jihadists.  This worked well as it helped grow an independent Sunni state in Eastern Syria and Western Iraq.  Of course, when this state, later to be renamed ISIS refused to play by the rules, the game had turned dangerous.  Far worse was the West’s Sunni Caliphate than Assad or Iran.  Now to destroy the Frankenstein they built, the USA is forced to work with its sworn enemies.

Furthermore, it was Qatar and Obama’s willingness to work with Qatar’s leaders in helping to sow chaos that makes the current conflict between the Saudis and their allies and Qatar, Turkey, and Iran so interesting. The theory has been that the Obama administration sought to create a new Al-Qeida that would pave way for a Muslim Brotherhood run Sunni Middle East, it has been Russia, Iran, and Turkey that has benefited most from the chaos.

Instead of an anti-Iran Sunni caliphate, the Iranians have used the chaos to reach the borders of Israel.  Turkey has attempted to use the chaos to wipe out the Kurds, who have successfully repelled Erdogan’s advances. In fact, one can see a pattern far more sinister at play.  Obama, knew that the chaos could be used to give a now friendly Iran the ability to create real stability in the Middle East.

What about the DOD document above?  For Obama and his pro-Iranian advisers, the reasons are not important.  They understood the DOD had their own reasons to build ISIS. Obama only had to encourage it in order to use its creation to give Iran the go ahead to create their version of “stability” in the Middle East.

Iran, their proxies, and Russia are now in control of the Northern Levant, a situation no one thought possible a few years ago. ISIS became Obama’s perfect foil to give the Shiites what they always wanted. The Middle East Obama handed Trump on January 20th became a region in chaos, whose only savior appeared to be Iranian hegemony.

Trump is Dismantling Obama’s Chaos Creation

President Trump understood that ISIS was a dual creation of NATO, mainly the US and Turkey, which is why he has spent weeks demolishing the ISIS network with serious bombing missions, which Obama never meant to carry out. More than this, the Trump administration is actively arming the Kurds to destroy ISIS, no matter the consternation felt in Turkey. There is no question ISIS is going down. The only question is if Obama’s true master plan, that of Iranian control in the region can rolled back or not.

With that, the Ayatollah is correct, but it is his country who has truly benefited from the America’s 44th President’s misguided world vision.