WASHINGTON — When President Obama began making the case for a deal with Iran that would delay its ability to assemble an atomic weapon, his first argument was that a nuclear-armed Iran would set off a “free-for-all” of proliferation in the Arab world. “It is almost certain that other players in the region would feel it necessary to get their own nuclear weapons,” he said in 2012.
Now, as he gathered Arab leaders over dinner at the White House on Wednesday and prepared to meet with them at Camp David on Thursday, he faced a perverse consequence: Saudi Arabia and many of the smaller Arab states are now vowing to match whatever nuclear enrichment capability Iran is permitted to retain.
“We can’t sit back and be nowhere as Iran is allowed to retain much of its capability and amass its research,” one of the Arab leaders preparing to meet Mr. Obama said on Monday, declining to be named until he made his case directly to the president. Prince Turki bin Faisal, the 70-year-old former Saudi intelligence chief, has been touring the world with the same message.
And he had to defend foisting off a 1/2 governor as a valid candidate to head the Most Powerful Military In The World should he, fall down, and not get up. So Bibi can lie cheat and steal, after coming here on the GOP’s dime, and then it doesn’t matter what he says? Ah. Elections. In other nations. Outside our borders. With implications for all of us here because…Bibi can say whatever and it’s just “politics”. Just when you think John McCain learned to STFU, he proves you wrong.
Led by freshman Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), 47 Republicans used the letter to inform Iran’s leaders that such an agreement would be “nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei.” They said the “next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.”
Conspicuously absent among signatories to the letter is Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, who says he’s working to build a veto-proof majority for his legislation restricting President Barack Obama’s negotiating options with Iran and ensuring congressional approval before any deal is struck. He hinted that the Cotton letter wouldn’t help advance the cause.
“I knew it was going to be only Republicans on [the letter]. I just don’t view that as where I need to be today,” Corker told Politico. “My goal is to get 67 or more people on something that will affect the outcome.”
Corker needs 13 Democrats to reach a veto-proof 67 votes, and the letter hasn’t earned him any favors. Senate Democrats are rallying to Obama’s side and attacking the Republicans for what they describe as an extraordinary act of openly undercutting a president during sensitive foreign policy negotiations.
The gambit is earning attention well outside traditional foreign policy circles. As of Tuesday morning, the hashtag #47Traitors was the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter in the United States.
Cotton is unfazed by the criticism. He stood by his letter in appearances Monday on CNN and Tuesday on MSNBC, saying that he wants Iran to dismantle its nuclear program “forever” — not for the 10 or 15 years that reportedly make up the duration of the deal that the Obama administration is closing in on.
“The point we’re making to Iran’s leaders, who, if you talk to many of the Iran experts, will say don’t understand our Constitution, is that if Congress doesn’t approve a deal, Congress won’t accept a deal,” Cotton said on MSNBC. “Now or in the future.”
Among the many reasons I will not attend are the following:
We know what he is going to say. Netanyahu’s position on the ongoing negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program is not a secret. Like many other members, I have been visited by the Israeli ambassador and understand what they want and how that differs from what U.S. negotiators are attempting to accomplish.
The Prime Minister has plenty of other places to express his opinions. In fact he has done so many times.
Netanyahu will specifically be arguing against the foreign policy of the administration. Speaker Boehner invited the Prime Minister to address Congress specifically to refute President Obama’s position. I will not contribute to the impression that this body does not support the President of the United States in foreign affairs.
It will become a matter of score-keeping as to who stands up and applauds and who doesn’t. Having visited Israel only months after Netanyahu addressed Congress in 2011, I know how much political impact these scenes have in that country. There is pressure to join the applause even if a member does not agree with statements made.
Congress has a broader responsibility than the security interests of Israel. While it certainly is important that we understand the Israeli perspective, the American people will hear only Netanyahu’s perspective, creating a public perception that could undermine a broadly supported resolution to the Iranian nuclear situation.
The Prime Minister’s appearance will be construed by many to infer congressional support for his position as opposed to US policy.
I do not want my respectful attendance to in any way imply support for his position.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate passed a measure authorizing the nation’s defense programs Friday, and along with it managed to give lands sacred to Native Americans to a foreign company that owns a uranium mine with Iran.
The $585 billion National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 is one of the must-pass pieces of legislation that Congress moves every year. But like they did in attaching extraneous riders to the must-pass government funding bill, lawmakers used the defense bill as a vehicle to pass a massive public lands package.
The bill sailed through on a vote of 89 to 11.
A guest on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry show, Iraq war veteran Earl Catagnus Jr., seems to believe that the number of military advisors President Obama is sending into Iraq (300) is extremely significant. He said:
“I have to just mention this about the 300, and what the significance of that number is, it’s symbolic. The movie now, 300 with the 300 Spartans, is an East versus West fight. I don’t know if this is where the sophistication - why the President chose 300, and I don’t know but it signals maybe to Iran, because we see that because the movie was a big downer, and Iran it wasn’t allowed to be played because it shows the Persians in this negative, barbarous state. Again, it’s an example of something, if it isn’t intended, and it’s an unintended consequence, you’re thumbing your nose at another part of the region just because of your ignorance of what that means, that 300 military advisers, American Spartan warriors that are the special forces and, again, I don’t know if that was intended or unintended, but it will signal a message to Iran.”
Yes, that’s someone trying to claim that President Obama’s decision to send 300 military advisers to Iraq is somehow tied with the movie 300 starring Gerard Butler.
I’m sure in the midst of an extremely tense situation developing in Iraq, President Obama sat there thinking to himself, “You know, let’s send 300 troops over to Iraq in a symbolic gesture like the Spartans used against the Persians in that movie 300. That way, we’ll not only be advising Iraq on how to handle these Islamic insurgents, but we’ll be sticking it to Iran at the same time.”
It is interesting that Hamas has been unable to prevent Islamic Jihad militants from operating along the border with Israel, in an area that is supposed to be off limits to them. This, despite having recently stationed its Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades in the area to ensure that no rockets are fired from it. But what is actually stopping Hamas, a group that even Israel recognizes as the sovereign authority in the Gaza Strip, from disarming the Al-Quds Brigades? Who or what is preventing fighters from the al-Qassam Brigades, whose military strength is several orders of magnitude greater than Islamic Jihad’s military wing, the Al-Quds Brigades, to enforce their authority? And what made the Hamas slogan of “concentrating military power in one hand” so hollow and meaningless?
Right now, the leaders of Hamas are looking at Islamic Jihad and coming to the conclusion that the Al-Quds Brigades are capable of doing to them exactly what Hamas did to Fatah seven years earlier. They can achieve military superiority, thereby posing a threat to Hamas and especially to its position of seniority in the Gaza Strip.
Iran favors Islamic Jihad. Hamas realizes this, and is not trying to disarm it. For its part, Islamic Jihad now knows how to take advantage of the crisis facing Hamas and the movement’s weaknesses. This leaves the leaders of Hamas caught between a rock and a hard place. On one side they have Israel, which threatens them with a large scale military attack if the rocket fire doesn’t stop. On the other side is Iran, which will not stand silently by if Hamas causes any harm to the members of Islamic Jihad or to Iranian interests in Gaza.
The leaders of the Hamas movement are being forced to evaluate the options and choose between Israel or Iran. Which frightens them more? Which poses a greater threat, as far as they are concerned? Which threat has far-reaching implications for their future? From which threat will they emerge with damage they can tolerate? Hamas tends to choose Iran.
2014 john McCain : Obama Is ‘Near Delusional In Thinking The Cold War Was Over’
2008 John McCain : “The Cold War is over, the Soviet empire is gone and neither one is missed,”
2014 John McCain : ‘Obama’s foreign policy “feckless” “We have a weak and indecisive president that invites aggression.”
1980’s John McCain: The fundamental question is: What is the United States’ interest in Lebanon? It is said we are there to keep the peace. I ask, what peace? It is said we are there to aid the government. I ask, what government? It is said we are there to stabilize the region. I ask, how can the U.S. presence stabilize the region?… The longer we stay in Lebanon, the harder it will be for us to leave. We will be trapped by the case we make for having our troops there in the first place.
I was checking out a thread downstairs yesterday and noticed the mention of Iran with regard to state sponsorship of terrorism, so I’d like to point out that the Department of State puts out a fairly detailed yearly report called Country Reports on Terrorism:
U.S. law requires the Secretary of State to provide Congress, by April 30 of each year, a full and complete report on terrorism with regard to those countries and groups meeting criteria set forth in the legislation. This annual report is entitled Country Reports on Terrorism. Beginning with the report for 2004, it replaced the previously published Patterns of Global Terrorism. […]
The reports contain a chapter specifically devoted to state sponsors of terrorism. There are four countries the U.S. has designated as state sponsors of terrorism: Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria. In case you’re not aware of how a country gets on the list (I wasn’t), the determination is based on the following criteria:
Countries determined by the Secretary of State to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism are designated pursuant to three laws: section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act, section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act, and section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act. Taken together, the four main categories of sanctions resulting from designation under these authorities include restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; certain controls over exports of dual use items; and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions. […]
Based on the reports I looked at, it appears they aren’t released until sometime between May-August, so I guess we should expect to see a new one for 2013 within the next 3-6 months.
Here’s the one for 2012 for anyone who’s interested:
Additionally, since the death penalty (in Iran) was also mentioned in the thread I linked to above, and since I know many here are against it regardless of which country it happens in, I began searching and found a site called Death Penalty Worldwide which provides a searchable worldwide death penalty database as well as a mini “Country of the Day” profile that changes on each page refresh.
Being wary of any site I’m unfamiliar with, I read their About Us and FAQ pages, then Googled the site’s creator, Professor Sandra Babcock. Based on the half dozen items I read, she appears to be a well-respected Clinical Professor of Law.