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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Netanyahu Should Represent Israel In Front Of Congress. Iran Is A Disaster Waiting To Happen.


Iran, Obama, Boehner and Netanyahu


On Wednesday night, Channel 2 showed satellite imagery taken by Israel’s Eros-B satellite that was launched last April. The imagery showed new missile-related sites that Iran recently constructed just outside Tehran. One facility is a missile launch site, capable of sending a rocket into space or of firing an ICBM.
On the launch pad was a new 27-meter long missile, never seen before.
The missile and the launch pad indicate that Iran’s ballistic missile program, which is an integral part of its nuclear weapons program, is moving forward at full throttle. The expanded range of Iran’s ballistic missile program as indicated by the satellite imagery makes clear that its nuclear weapons program is not merely a threat to Israel, or to Israel and Europe. It is a direct threat to the United States as well.
Also on Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was invited to address a joint session of Congress by House Speaker John Boehner.
Boehner has asked Netanyahu to address US lawmakers on February 11 regarding Iran’s nuclear program and the threat to international security posed by radical Islam.
Opposition leaders were quick to accuse Boehner and the Republican Party of interfering in Israel’s upcoming election by providing Netanyahu with such a prestigious stage just five weeks before Israelis go to the polls.
Labor MK Nachman Shai told The Jerusalem Post that for the sake of fairness, Boehner should extend the same invitation to opposition leader Isaac Herzog.
But in protesting as they have, opposition members have missed the point. Boehner didn’t invite Netanyahu because he cares about Israel’s election. He invited Netanyahu because he cares about US national security. He believes that by having Netanyahu speak on the issues of Iran’s nuclear program and radical Islam, he will advance America’s national security.
Boehner’s chief concern, and that of the majority of his colleagues from the Democratic and Republican parties alike, is that President Barack Obama’s policy in regard to Iran’s nuclear weapons program imperils the US. Just as the invitation to Netanyahu was a bipartisan invitation, so concerns about Obama’s policy toward Iran’s nuclear program are bipartisan concerns.
Over the past week in particular, Obama has adopted a position on Iran that puts him far beyond the mainstream of US politics. This radical position has placed the president on a collision course with Congress best expressed on Wednesday by Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez. During a hearing at the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee where Menendez serves as ranking Democratic member, he said, “The more I hear from the administration and its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran.”
Menendez was referring to threats that Obama has made three times over the past week, most prominently at his State of the Union address on Tuesday, to veto any sanctions legislation against Iran brought to his desk for signature.
He has cast proponents of sanctions – and Menendez is the co-sponsor of a pending sanctions bill – as enemies of a diplomatic strategy of dealing with Iran, and by implication, as warmongers.
Indeed, in remarks to the Democratic members of the Senate last week, Obama impugned the motivations of lawmakers who support further sanctions legislation. He indirectly alleged that they were being forced to take their positions due to pressure from their donors and others.
The problem for American lawmakers is that the diplomatic course that Obama has chosen makes it impossible for the US to use the tools of diplomacy to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
That course of diplomatic action is anchored in the Joint Plan of Action that the US and its partners Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia (the P5+1) signed with Tehran in November 2013.
The JPOA placed no limitation on Iran’s ballistic missile program. The main areas the JPOA covers are Iran’s uranium enrichment and plutonium reactor activities. Under the agreement, or the aspects of it that Obama has made public, Iran is supposed to limit its enrichment of uranium to 3.5-percent purity.
And it is not supposed to take action to expand its heavy water reactor at Arak, which could be used to develop weapons grade plutonium.
THE JPOA is also supposed to force Iran to share all nuclear activities undertaken in the past by its military personnel.
During his State of the Union address, Obama claimed that since the agreement was signed, Iran has “halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material.”
Yet as Omri Ceren of the Israel Project noted this week, since the JPOA was signed, Iran has expanded its uranium and plutonium work. And as the Eros-B satellite imagery demonstrated, Iran is poised to launch an ICBM.
When it signed the JPOA, Obama administration officials dismissed concerns that by permitting Iran to enrich uranium to 3.5% – in breach of binding UN Security Council Resolution 1929 from 2010 – the US was enabling Iran to develop nuclear weapons. Enrichment to 3.5%, they said, is a far cry from the 90% enrichment level needed for uranium to be bomb grade.
But it works out that the distance isn’t all that great. Sixty percent of the work required to enrich uranium to bomb grade levels of purity is done by enriching it to 3.5%. Since it signed the JPOA, Iran has enriched sufficient quantities of uranium to produce two nuclear bombs.
As for plutonium development work, as Ceren pointed out, the White House’s fact sheet on the JPOA said that Iran committed itself “to halt progress on its plutonium track.”
Last October, Foreign Policy magazine reported that Iran was violating that commitment by seeking to procure parts for its heavy water plutonium reactor at Arak. And yet, astoundingly, rather than acknowledge the simple fact that Iran was violating its commitment, the State Department excused Iran’s behavior and insisted that it was not in clear violation of its commitment.
More distressingly, since the JPOA was signed, Iran has repeatedly refused to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to access Iran’s nuclear installations or to inform the IAEA about the nuclear activities that its military have carried out in the past.
As a consequence, the US and its partners still do not know what nuclear installations Iran has or what nuclear development work it has undertaken.
This means that if a nuclear agreement is signed between Iran and the P5+1, that agreement’s verification protocols will in all likelihood not apply to all aspects of Iran’s nuclear program. And if it does not apply to all aspects of Iran’s nuclear activities, it cannot prevent Iran from continuing the activities it doesn’t know about.
As David Albright, a former IAEA inspector, explained in a Wall Street Journal op-ed last May, “To be credible, a final agreement must ensure that any effort by Tehran to construct a bomb would be sufficiently time-consuming and detectable that the international community could act decisively to prevent Iran from succeeding. It is critical to know whether the Islamic Republic had a nuclear weapons program in the past, how far the work on warheads advanced and whether it continues. Without clear answers to these questions, outsiders will be unable to determine how fast the Iranian regime could construct either a crude nuclear-test device or a deliverable weapon if it chose to renege on an agreement.”
Concern about the loopholes in the JPOA led congressional leaders from both parties to begin work to pass additional sanctions against Iran immediately after the JPOA was concluded. To withstand congressional pressure, the Obama administration alternately attacked the patriotism of its critics, who it claimed were trying to push the US into and unnecessary war against Iran, and assured them that all of their concerns would be addressed in a final agreement.
Unfortunately, since signing the JPOA, the administration has adopted positions that ensure that none of Congress’s concerns will be addressed.
Whereas in early 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry declared that “the president has made it definitive” that Iran needs to answer all “questions surrounding Iran’s nuclear program,” last November it was reported that the US and its partners had walked back this requirement.
Iran will not be required to give full accounting of its past nuclear work, and so the US and its partners intend to sign a deal that will be unable to verify that Iran does not build nuclear weapons.
As the administration has ignored its previous pledges to Congress to ensure that a deal with Iran will make it possible to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons, it has also acted to ensure that Iran will pay no price for negotiating in bad faith. The sanctions bill that Obama threatens to veto would only go into effect if Iran fails to sign an agreement.
As long as negotiations progress, no sanctions would be enforced.
OBAMA’S MESSAGE then is clear. Not only will the diplomatic policy he has adopted not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons (and the ability to attack the US with nuclear warheads attached to an ICBM), but in the event that Iran fails to agree to even cosmetic limitations on its nuclear progress, it will suffer no consequences for its recalcitrance.
And this brings us back to Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu.
With Obama’s diplomatic policy toward Iran enabling rather than preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power, members of the House and Senate are seeking a credible, unwavering voice that offers an alternative path. For the past 20 years, Netanyahu has been the global leader most outspoken about the need to take all necessary measures to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power, not only for Israel’s benefit, but to protect the entire free world. From the perspective of the congressional leadership, then, inviting Netanyahu to speak was a logical move.
In the Israeli context, however, it was an astounding development. For the past generation, the Israeli Left has insisted Israel’s role on the world stage is that of a follower.
As a small, isolated nation, Israel has no choice, they say, other than to follow the lead of the West, and particularly of the White House, on all issues, even when the US president is wrong. All resistance to White House policies is dangerous and irresponsible, leaders like Herzog and Tzipi Livni continuously warn.
Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu exposes the Left’s dogma as dangerous nonsense.
The role of an Israeli leader is to adopt the policies that protect Israel, even when they are unpopular at the White House. Far from being ostracized for those policies, such an Israeli leader will be supported, respected, and relied upon by those who share with him a concern for what truly matters.
Reprinted with author’s permission from The Jerusalem Post

Read more at http://www.breakingisraelnews.com/28238/iran-obama-boehner-and-netanyahu-opinion/#uS7srGJlL34K7F9W.99

Will Kobani Defeat Be The Rallying Call For Future Attacks On US?

ISIS Admits Defeat in Kobani

Saturday, 31 Jan 2015 02:21 PM

The Islamic State group has acknowledged for the first time that its fighters have been defeated in the Syrian town of Kobani and vowed to attack the town again.In a video released by the pro-ISIS Aamaq News Agency late Friday, two fighters said the airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition were the main reason why ISIS fighters were forced to withdraw from Kobani. One fighter vowed to defeat the main Kurdish militia in Syria, the People's Protection Units known as the YPG.
On Monday, activists and Kurdish officials said the town was almost cleared of ISIS fighters, who once held nearly half of Kobani.
An Associated Press video from inside the town showed widespread destruction, streets littered with debris and abandoned neighborhoods. The video also showed a new cemeterywith fresh graves.
The town's famous Freedom Square, with a statue of an eagle spreading its wings, stood intact in the middle of the destruction. The square is near the so-called Kurdish security quarter — an eastern district where Kurdish militiamen maintained security buildings and offices, and which was occupied by ISIS fighters for about two months until they were forced out earlier in January.
In the newly released ISIS video, the militant fighters acknowledged that they have been driven from the town.
"A while ago we retreated a bit from Ayn al-Islam because of the bombardment and the killing of some brothers," said one masked fighter, using the group's preferred name for Kobani. He spoke Arabic with a north African accent.
The failure to capture and hold Kobani was a major blow to the extremists. Their hopes for an easy victory dissolved into a costly siege under withering airstrikes by coalition forces and an assault by Kurdish militiamen.

The United States and several Arab allies have been striking ISIS positions in Syria since Sept. 23. The campaign aims to push back the jihadi organization after it took over about a third of Iraq and Syria and declared the captured territory a new caliphate.
Now Kurdish officials are hailing the retaking of Kobani as an important step toward rolling back the Islamic State group's territorial gains.
"Kobani Canton is a representative of the resistance against terrorism in the world," said senior Syrian Kurdish official in Kobani, Anwar Muslim. "We hope that the world will support us to come through our struggle against ISIS."
Meanwhile the ISIS fighters vowed that their defeat in Kobani will not weaken them.
"The Islamic State will stay. Say that to (U.S. President Barack) Obama," said the fighter, pointing his finger toward destruction on the edge of Kobani.
The fighters both laid blame for their defeat on the coalition air campaign, seemingly downplaying the role played by Kurdish militiamen — whom they refer to as "rats."
Another ISIS fighter, also speaking in Arabic, said while standing on a road with a greensign with "Ayn al-Islam" sprayed on it: "The warplanes did not leave any construction. They destroyed everything, so we had to withdraw and the rats advanced."
"The warplanes were bombarding us night and day. They bombarded everything, even motorcycles," the fighter said.
ISIS launched an offensive on the Kobani region in mid-September capturing more than 300 Kurdish villages and parts of the town. As a result of the airstrikes and stiff Kurdish resistance, ISIS began retreating a few weeks ago, losing more than 1,000 fighters, according to activists.
More than 200,000 Kurds were forced from their homes. Many fled to neighboring Turkey.
Earlier this week, Kurdish officials said YPG fighters have launched a counterattack to retake some of the surrounding villages around Kobani, many of which remain in ISIS hands.
© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Obama Team Setting Up In Israel To Defeat Netanyau

image: http://www.wnd.com/files/2013/12/benjamin-netanyahu-600.jpg
benjamin-netanyahu-600
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry asking whether U.S. taxpayers are funding a political effort in Israel to remove Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from office, and the question has erupted into a firestorm on social media.
“Is there anyone, ANYONE connected to Obama who is NOT a corrupt filthy sewer rat?” wrote Mark81150 of the issue, according to the Twitchy website and monitors Twitter comments.
Cruz’ letter to Kerry noted that OneVoice, a “U.S. taxpayer funded 501(c)(3) nonprofit” was actively working “with a campaign operation called V15, or ‘Victory 15,’ in an effort to influence the outcome of the elections in Israel on March 17, 2015.”
A key player for V15 is former Obama staffer Jeremy Bird.
Word on the developments has generated a wave of comments on Twitter.
“It’s OK for Jeremy Bird to meddle in Israeli politics but Netanyahu can’t return the favor?” wrote one.
Another said, “Jeremy Bird should be arrested as a spy for meddling in another country’s election process.”
WND reported this week from Tel Aviv that a consulting firm almost entirely composed of former staffers of Obama’s re-election campaign had been hired to run an election effort in Israel aimed at defeating Netanyahu.
The report noted it appeared that Bird, national field director for Obama’s 2012 campaign, is now working for the nonprofit group V15, on the campaign.
The report said Bird was just one of many former Obama campaign staffers on the project.
The report came at a time when the tension level is extreme between the U.S. and Israel because the Obama White House rejected an opportunity to meet with Netanyahu in March when he is in Washington to address a joint meeting of Congress.
The White House claimed it didn’t want to influence the Israeli elections.
Cruz’ letter, also signed by Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., asks for an investigation by the State Department’s inspector general to determine how much funding the U.S. has given OneVoice or other groups connected to the Israel campaign against Netanyahu.
It also asks who approved the funds, what oversight is there, how much funding has been provided and the reasons for providing money.
“Can the Department of State guarantee that none of these funds have been or will be used in the endeavor detailed above, namely the partnership with V15, or any similar effort to exert undue influence over the Israeli political process?” the letter continued.
And does the process violate the tax-exempt status of any groups?
The letter notes a report by the Israeli daily Haaretz of the “significant role” Bird is playing with the group.
“The Haaretz report makes clear that the purpose of this alliance is to advance a particular ideological agenda: ‘With the help of American money and a former campaign adviser to President Barack Obama, V15 is trying to replace Israel’s government. The money and organization comes from V15′s partnership with OneVoice. … OneVoice is expected to merge with V15 before the March 17 election,’” the letter said.
“It’s time to change course and give people hope,” the report quoted a V15 spokesman saying.
“Of course private American citizens are free to engage in political activities according to their inclinations, but given the overtly partisan nature of this particular case, we are deeply concerned by the relationship that also exists between OneVoice and the U.S. Department of State. OneVoice lists the State Department as a partner on its website. In its 2013 annual report, the CEO of OneVoice touted the organization’s work ‘together in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem … made possible by two parallel U.S. government grants.’
“There appears to be a danger that U.S. taxpayer funds are being used to directly shape the outcome of the upcoming Israeli election – and specifically to campaign against Prime Minister Netanyahu – something all would agree would be highly inappropriate.”
WND interviewed V15 founder Nimrod Dweck.
“Our goal is to do change,” he told WND. “We’re calling homes, going door-to-door in central Israel in places we marked as potential voters of the center-left.”
Besides Bird, the team includes the following former Obama staffers:
  • Mitch Steward, a 270 Strategies founding partner who helped the Obama campaign build what the U.K. Guardian called “a historic ground operation that will provide the model for political campaigns in America and around the world for years to come.”
  • Mark Beatty, a founding partner who served as deputy battleground states director for the Obama campaign. He had primary responsibility for Obama’s election plans for the battleground states.
  • Marlon Marshall, a founding partner at 270 Strategies who joins the team after holding several key positions in national Democratic politics, most recently as deputy national field director for the 2012 Obama campaign.
  • Betsy Hoover, a founding partner who served as director of digital organizing on the Obama campaign.
  • Meg Ansara, who served as national regional director for Obama for America where she was responsible for overseeing the 2012 programs in the Midwest and southern states.
  • Bridget Halligan, who served as the engagement program manager on the digital team of the 2012 Obama campaign.
  • Kate Catherall, who served as Florida deputy field director for Obama’s re-election campaign.
  • Alex Lofton, who most recently served as the GOTV director of Cleveland, Ohio, for the 2012 Obama campaign.
  • Martha Patzer, the firm’s vice president who served as deputy email director at Obama for America.
  • Jesse Boateng, who served as the Florida voter registration director for Obama’s re-election campaign.
  • Ashley Bryant, who served most recently as the Ohio digital director for the 2012 Obama campaign.
  • Max Clermont, who formerly served as a regional field director in Florida for Obama’s re-election campaign.
  • Max Wood, who served as a deputy data director in Florida for the 2012 Obama campaign.

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2015/01/cruz-grills-kerry-on-anti-netanyahu-spending/#044qH6xfSeAkfu3Q.99