Tag Archives: Islamic Republic of Iran

Wanting to believe POTUS on canceled strike, but then …

I truly want to believe Donald Trump’s statement that he called off a strike against Iran because it wasn’t “proportionate.”

I want to believe that he asked about the potential for civilian casualties and then decided the strike was too heavy a punishment against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Iran had shot down a drone aircraft over international waters. The Iranians allege the craft, which was unarmed, was flying in its territorial air space.

Trump then sought to retaliate for the shooting down of a U.S. military asset. He said our forces were “cocked and loaded.” He said he was set to send the craft against the Iranian targets, but then he thought differently about it.

The brass told him there would be civilian casualties, possibly 150 people, Trump said.

So he backed off.

Do I believe him? Do I take him at his word, that he’s telling us the truth? Hah! How is that even possible, given this individual’s penchant for prevarication?

I am left to presume the president is giving it to us straight, absent any public rebuke from the military brass that took part in developing the response.

I stand at the moment highly relieved that the president didn’t heed the advice from the uber-hawks among his national security team who argued for a military strike that might have produced a seriously dangerous response from a seriously rogue nation.

On the brink of conflict with Iran … or what?

Donald Trump is giving me the heebie-jeebies.

The president of the United States ordered a military strike against Iran because the Iranians shot down an unarmed drone apparently over international waters. The Iranians contend the surveillance craft had flown into their air space, which is why they knocked it out of the sky.

But then the president changed his mind and called off the strike against Iran.

I’m wondering today: Why did the president change his mind? What prompted him to order the aircraft back to their bases? Did he get a call from the mullahs? Did they admit to making the “mistake” to which he alluded earlier in the day?

Well, at this moment — but that could change in the next moment — I am glad he called off the hit against military targets in Iran. I heard something this morning about the reported threat to civilians had the strike been allowed to continue.

Let’s not be coy. Iran presents a serious threat to the entire region if we hit them hard. They hate the Saudis, and the Iranians damn sure hate Israel. The mullahs are in control of a terrorist state, which suggests to me that they can seek their vengeance against targets all around the world.

Please keep that in mind, Mr. President, as you ponder the best way to respond to the shootdown of an unmanned military asset.

War with Iran? Are you really serious about that?

The chicken hawks who are advising Donald Trump to launch military strikes against Iran need to have their heads examined.

Yep, they’re aboard the “war with Iran” hay wagon. They are led by national security adviser John Bolton, who long has favored “regime change” in Tehran. This is frightening and dangerous stuff, ladies and gentlemen.

The Iranians reportedly have been launching attacks on commercial vessels sailing in international waters. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says U.S. intelligence has confirmed Iranian involvement. In an ironic twist, I should add, Pompeo has endorsed the intelligence analysis on the Iranian involvement from the same people he and Donald Trump have dismissed when they said the Russians attacked our electoral system in 2016; go figure, eh?

We must not go to war with Iran because of attacks on commercial vessels.

Some members of the Senate are calling for “retaliatory strikes” against Iran. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, is one of them. To be fair, I don’t include Sen. Cotton in the “chicken hawk” cadre; he served as an Army infantry officer who saw combat in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

His prior military experience does not make his argument correct. A retaliatory strike is bound to produce a vigorous military response from the Islamic Republic of Iran. And by vigorous, I mean deadly, as in ferocious.

Do we really want to engage in yet another war with a Middle East nation? Good grief! Please, let us not go there!

The Iranians already have announced their plans to exceed their nuclear enrichment limits as payback for Trump’s decision to pull out of the agreement that sought to ban Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. The president pulled out even though other signatory nations said the Iranians were complying with the restrictions.

This is not how you “make America great again,” Mr. President.

This saber-rattling is making me very nervous.

Bibi shows his petulant side

netanyahu.si_

Readers of this blog know — at least I hope they know — that I am a fervent advocate for the U.S.-Israel alliance.

I want it to be strong. I have long understood the Israeli point of view as it regards the war against international terror. I got to spend a month in Israel in May-June 2009 and saw up close the proximity with which the Israelis deal with nations that want to destroy their country.

I get that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seeks to protect his country with all the might he can muster.

Why, though, did Bibi cancel his planned visit to the United States without telling the White House? Why does he keep wanting to stick it in President Obama’s eye?

The White House stands firm on its belief that Netanyahu showed bad manners when he canceled his trip, which was supposed to include a meeting with the president.

Yes, the two men have had a frosty relationship, although they’ve both spoken of their nations’ commitment to each other. President Obama has been clear: We’re going to stand with Israel always when violence erupts. How much clearer does he have to make it?

But the prime minister is still fuming over the Iranian nuclear deal that seeks to prevent the Islamic Republic of Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Several nations worked diligently to craft an agreement that seeks to create a safer Middle East.

Bibi isn’t buying it. Oddly, though, I get his reluctance. Iran has stated it wants to destroy Israel and the Israelis aren’t willing for forget that blatant threat.

A meeting, though, between two heads of government need not have been canceled because of it. If anything, Netanyahu could have come here and voiced his displeasure to Barack Obama’s face, in private, with no one else in the room.

He didn’t do that. He chose instead to make a grandstand play.

Maybe it’s all part of the political climate these days. Those Republican presidential candidates have been a pretty petulant pack themselves these days. It must be rubbing off on Bibi.

 

Yes to nuke deal, but hold the praise for Iran

carper

U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., was one of the first members of Congress to declare support for the Iranian nuclear deal.

He is right to support the deal hammered out by the United States and five other great powers.

But in an op-ed published in a Delaware newspaper this past week, he went a step too far in praising Iran.

Carper op-ed

His essay ends this way: “Finally, nearly every American who was alive on Sept. 11, 2001, remembers the horrifying images of that tragedy. What most Americans don’t remember is the image of thousands of Iranians who gathered in Tehran that night in a candlelight vigil in solidarity with America. I’ll never forget it, and the American people shouldn’t either. Today, Iran is much more than the hardline Revolutionary Guard whose influence has begun to wane. Iran is a nation of over 78 million people whose average age is 25. Most of them weren’t alive during the 1979 Iranian revolution. They don’t remember the brutal Shah we propped up for years and the anger it engendered. Most Iranians want a better relationship with America and the world. They’re ready to take yes for an answer. We should, too. This is a good deal for America and our allies, including Israel, one of our closest allies. And, oh yes. It beats the likely alternative – war with Iran – hands down.”

I’ll accept that Sen. Carper believes in his heart that the average Iranian wants peace and a better relationship with the United States. But the Islamic Republic of Iran is not governed by a representative form of government. It is run by conservative Islamic clerics who do not care what the man and woman on the street thinks about Iran’s role in the world.

I agree with Carper that the alternative to a deal with Iran is far worse than the deal that’s been struck and that is about to be affirmed — through a back-door procedure — in the U.S. Congress.

But let’s not equate John Q. Iranian Public’s world view with what transpires inside the halls of power in Tehran.

We still have to keep an eagle eye on the Iranians.

No deal on Iran nukes now looks possible

JUST IN: Parties agree to extend Iran nuclear talks until June.

***

So, what happens if Iran fails to strike a deal with other nations — including the United States — to end its nuclear enrichment program?

Might it be that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was right, that “no deal is better than a bad deal”?

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/in-iran-talks-failure-is-an-option-116528.html?hp=rc1_4

The deadline comes at the end this day. There might be a framework for a deal that sets up a new deadline.

If not, well, then more sanctions are due. Perhaps even the “military option” if Iran weaponizes the uranium that other nations want it to surrender.

The prospect of no deal shouldn’t be of grave concern.

U.S. negotiators insist, as they should, that Iran cannot be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon. No one on Earth trusts a nuclear-powered Islamic Republic of Iran, which has stated its No. 1 mission is to destroy Israel. The Israelis haven’t said it in so many words, but they clearly stand ready to strike Iran if it gets a whiff of a nuclear weapon being on developed. President Obama has refused repeatedly to take a military strike off the table as well.

What constitutes a “bad deal”? It would be one that allows sanctions to be lifted over time, which reportedly is one of the options being considered by U.S. and allied negotiators. It’s the kind of deal that Netanyahu has warned shouldn’t be allowed to occur.

We are dealing with a seriously rogue nation. Let us treat it as such.

 

White House angry over GOP letter to Iranians

Does it surprise anyone that the White House would be steamed over a group of Republican senators seeking to undercut the president’s authority to negotiate a sensitive nuclear disarmament treaty?

If it does, then you need to get out more.

http://thehill.com/policy/defense/235067-durbin-rips-gops-letter-on-iran-as-a-political-stunt

White House press flack Josh Earnest was unusually blunt today in responding to the letter signed by 47 GOP senators telling Iran that any treaty it agrees to with President Obama could be voided once the president leaves office in less than two years.

The Obama administration is seeking an agreement that stops the Iranian nuclear development efforts many believe is designed to produce a nuclear weapon for the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The president doesn’t want Iran to have a nuclear weapon and has said so — repeatedly. Republicans don’t want the Iranians to join the “nuclear club,” and they’ve said so as well.

But which of them — the president or the Senate — has the authority to negotiate a deal. That’s right: the president of the United States.

So, why is the Senate GOP meddling in a duty charged to the executive branch of government?

Might it be Senate Republicans want the negotiations to fail so that they push even harder for the military option?

As The Hill reports: Earnest said Republicans have a “long and rather sordid history” of putting military options ahead of diplomatic ones, and called the letter, signed by 47 GOP lawmakers, “the continuation of a partisan strategy to undermine the president’s authority.”

Once more, with feeling: We have one president at a time.

Rift in U.S. foreign policy team?

John Kerry says Benjamin Netanyahu is “welcome to speak” in the United States.

Susan Rice calls an upcoming speech by Netanyahu “destructive.”

Who is correct, the secretary of state or the Obama administration’s national security adviser?

I’ll put my money on Secretary Kerry.

http://thehill.com/policy/international/234242-kerry-netanyahu-is-welcome-to-speak

Netanyahu is going to speak Tuesday to a joint congressional session about Iran. President Obama wishes he wouldn’t make the speech; Obama has no plans to meet with Netanyahu while the Israeli prime minister is in this country — at the invitation of House Speaker John Boehner.

Bibi’s talk will center on Iran’s desire to develop a nuclear program, which critics say — correctly, in my view — is a precursor to the Islamic Republic seeking a nuclear weapon. Israel doesn’t want the Iranians to have a nuke. Neither does the United States.

However, let’s stipulate something. The United States prides itself on freedom of expression. It extends that freedom to friendly foreign dignitaries. Set aside reports of serious tension between Netanyahu and Obama over this upcoming speech and consider that the two nations remain ironclad allies.

Kerry said the relationship, “in terms of security,” has never been stronger.

Let’s hear what the prime minister has to say.

Note to Dems: Don't boycott Bibi's speech

The upcoming speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a joint session of Congress is taking an interesting — and unfortunate — turn.

Some leading Democratic lawmakers say they’re going to stay away from the March 3 speech. They won’t hear what Bibi has to say to them, including whether to impose stricter sanctions on Iran while the U.S. is leading a negotiating effort to end Iran’s nuclear program.

Vice President Biden won’t attend; his office said the VP will be traveling abroad when Netanyahu speaks to the joint session. I can’t help but wonder: Did the vice president schedule the overseas trip before or after Netanyahu’s speech was scheduled?

Don’t go there, Democrats.

http://thehill.com/homenews/house/232065-dems-lining-up-to-skip-netanyahu-speech

Yes, Netanyahu is wrong to have accepted the invitation from Republican House Speaker John Boehner — who also was wrong to invite him without advising the White House. What’s more, Netanyahu is wrong to pressure Congress to act over the objections of the White House, which believes increasing sanctions now would undermine its efforts to disarm the Islamic Republic of Iran.

But is staying away from the speech the right approach to protesting? I’m inclined to think Democrats ought to hear — in person — what the prime minister has to say. They don’t have to stand and cheer when he delivers an applause line; Republicans undoubtedly will do enough cheering to fill the House chamber.

Come on, Netanyahu is the head of government of a leading U.S. ally, after all, and he deserves an audience — even if the invitation he accepted was not in keeping with American diplomatic and political tradition.

 

Boehner, Bibi are dissing the White House

Isn’t it customary to allow the president of the United States conduct foreign policy? And isn’t it unwelcome when other American political leaders interfere directly with sensitive negotiations that are taking place?

Welcome to the new world of political brinkmanship.

House Speaker John Boehner has poked President Barack Obama in the eye by inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress — without consulting with the president.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/boehner-netanyahu-congress-invitation-Obama

Why is that a big deal?

Well, Boehner wants to impose further economic and political sanctions on Iran while the Islamic Republic is negotiating with the United States and other powers on a deal to disband its nuclear program. Netanyahu is on Boehner’s side, so he’s going to speak to Congress next month to make that case.

Bibi won’t visit the White House while he’s in-country, which is customary, given that he and his Likud Party are about to face parliamentary elections in Israel. Indeed, Netanyahu himself has decried the practice of using foreign visits to further political ends in his country — and yet, here is doing, what he once condemned.

The aggravation comes in large part because Boehner has inserted himself directly into this matter that is underway between the State Department and its counterpart in Iran. U.S., allied and Iranian negotiators are seeking a way to avoid Iran obtaining nuclear weapons, which virtually every civilized nation on Earth says is unacceptable.

Now we have the head of government of our most reliable Middle East ally coming here seeking to undercut that effort — with the blessing of the speaker of the House of Representatives.

It was leaked some time back that a White House aide referred to Netanyahu as a “chickens***.”

That term actually applies to Speaker Boehner.