That Barack Obama has betrayed Israel, the Sunni Arab nations, and his own people is, to my thinking, beyond question. He has capitulated to a dangerous terrorist state.
The media are full of comments and analyses about what he has done, why he has done it, and what comes next. I will attempt to summarize what is important here, and you will find links to key articles below. But to share all of the various analyses and viewpoints at length would require a book rather than a posting.
I do not pretend, not for a second, that I am sanguine about any of what is going on. This is an infuriating, and exceedingly agitating business.
As to why he did what he did…
That he is an enemy of Israel is clear — no matter what some liberal American Jews who, incredibly, still like him may think. Did he act to weaken Israel (as Caroline Glick has written) or even destroy Israel, or to attempt to preclude an Israeli attack on Iran (as John Bolton has written), or to avoid having to attack Iran himself, no matter the consequences? Or was he after better oil prices? All these theses have been advanced.
I read today that the deal is not yet finalized, but have not been able to secure further information on this. From The Israel Project:
“News broke mid-Monday that the final details of this weekend’s interim agreement between the P5+1 and Iran had not yet been agreed upon, and that the six month period during which Iran is expected to negotiate over a comprehensive deal – and during which U.S. negotiators had committed to preventing the imposition of new nuclear-related sanctions – had not yet started.”
The six month countdown will begin, rest assured. That is, if Obama has anything to say about it — no matter what he has to do to get there. But the fact that the final details have not been set in place yet is not a small matter.
Netanyahu is sending a team to Washington, which will include his national security advisor Yossi Cohen. I’ll say more about this below, but one of their tasks will be to find out what the details are — there remains confusion on some fine points.
This situation exists because the deal was rushed through so quickly. Rushed before it could be stopped.
If there is any way to stop what Obama is doing — either at this point or down the road — it is via Congress. A good number of Senators and Congresspersons — both Republicans and Democrats — are angry about what the president has done.
“…there isn’t much that Democrats and Republicans in Congress agree on these days. However, President Obama’s historic deal to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions may be just the thing to get lawmakers from both sides of the aisle working together again.
“Unfortunately for Obama, they’ll be united against him.
“Within hours of announcing the agreement, the White House was met by stiff opposition from high-ranking Democrats who vowed to move forward with legislation aimed at tightening sanctions against Iran — despite the Obama administration’s concerns that the move could derail the sensitive negotiations for a long-term deal.
“Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), perhaps the most vocal detractor from the president’s own party, denounced the framework set up by his former colleague, Secretary of State John Kerry, to pause Iran’s march toward weapons of mass destruction in exchange for easing sanctions. His chief complaint? That Iran only had to freeze its nuclear enrichment program, while the United States was giving up its most valuable negotiating tool. (The administration insists that the sanctions could easily be resurrected if Iran backslides.)
“‘This disproportionality of this agreement makes it more likely that Democrats and Republicans will join together and pass additional sanctions when we return in December,’ said Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate. ‘I intend to discuss that possibility with my colleagues.'”
“House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) called the arrangement ‘dangerous’ and said it brings Iran ‘closer to becoming a nuclear power.’ He said the deal ‘bodes very, very ominously for the region and U.S. security.’ (Emphasis added)
“Speaking to ‘CBS This Morning’ on Monday, Cantor said the terms of the deal were softer than those already in several U.N. resolutions. He said the deal was ‘not worth the paper it’s written on. … Since when do we trust Iran? I believe that the attitude should be mistrust and verify…’
“‘All we have to do is listen to our allies, who are most proximate to the threat in the region and who have been saying all along that any kind of deal with this regime in Iran is not worth the paper it’s written on,’ he said.”
What is needed are tough sanctions that cannot be overturned by the president. This works most effectively, I have been given to understand, with specific wording in the legislation:
No presidential waiver can be permitted. (Sometimes legislation calls for a specific action, except as the president, for reasons of national security or national interests deems it unwise — this sort of terminology must be avoided.)
The wording, additionally, must set out a requirement — such and such “shall” happen, not “should,” or “may.” What an associate of mine with considerable Congressional lobbying experience calls “weasel words” must be avoided.
Lastly, the legislation can carry greater impact if it has a defunding provision: If this and this is not done, then the budget for such and such will be cut.
Congress does not do these things lightly. But they can be done. And if there is sufficient distress and anger within Congress now, they might be done.
At present, I implore all of my faithful readers to act on this. Your elected representatives in Congress must hear from you immediately. In addition to feeling their own distress about the current situation, they will be more motivated to act if they understand that their constituents in large numbers want them to do something about the deal Obama has struck.
For your Congresspersons:
For your Senators:
Express your anger and ask them to use all of the powers they have to stop what the president is doing with regard to Iran. The rest must be left to them.
And please, share this very broadly. Numbers matter so very much.
As to what Netanyahu will do now, it is difficult to say. His position is close to unbearable.
Some people believe that he has no diplomatic option to attack Iran right now, because of the threats allegedly being made by Obama with regard to this (have no confirmation, only reference to allegations) and the pressure being put on him more broadly. Obama is not the only one:
British Foreign Minister William Hague, in the Parliament yesterday, called on Israel “to refrain from actions that could damage implementation” of the agreement.
John Bolton, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and former US ambassador to the UN, while recognizing the difficult position Netanyahu is in, favors a strike by Israel before long. Writing in the Weekly Standard, he says (emphasis added):
“…the international climate of opinion against a strike will only harden during the next six months.
“Undoubtedly, an Israeli strike during the interim deal would be greeted with outrage from all the expected circles. But that same outrage, or more, would also come further down the road. In short, measured against the expected reaction even in friendly capitals, there is never a ‘good’ time for an Israeli strike, only bad and worse times. Accordingly, the Geneva deal does not change Israel’s strategic calculus even slightly…
“Israel still must make the extremely difficult judgment whether it will stand by as Iran maneuvers effortlessly around a feckless and weak White House, bolstering its economic situation while still making progress on the nuclear front, perhaps less progress on some aspects of its nuclear work than before the deal, but more on others…
“So in truth, an Israeli military strike is the only way to avoid Tehran’s otherwise inevitable march to nuclear weapons, and the proliferation that will surely follow. Making the case for Israel’s exercise of its legitimate right of self-defense has therefore never been more politically important. Whether they are celebrating in Tehran or in Jerusalem a year from now may well depend on how the opponents of the deal in Washington conduct themselves.”
But while Bolton thinks it will only get worse for Israel, with regard to international reactions to an attack on Iran, there are other perspectives.
One suggestion is that Israel heighten its intelligence monitoring of Iran in order to discover ways that the Iranians will be cheating on the terms of the current interim agreement (shock! they cheat!). Then, going public with this would provide a rational for hitting militarily that might resonate with some international leaders.
The independent Israeli monitoring of Iran’s adherence to the deal is particularly important in light of what Zalman Shoval suggests may be Obama’s tendency to go lightly on Iranian violations:
“Former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Zalman Shoval expressed concern that Washington, in an attempt to justify the Western deal with Iran limiting Tehran’s nuclear development program, would most likely ‘go easy’ on Iran when it came to evaluating violations of the agreement.”
I alluded above to the fact that an Israeli team is heading for Washington. One of its purposes, we are being told, is to encourage the Obama administration (work with the Obama administration, ostensibly) to develop the toughest possible terms for the final agreement to be reached (at least in theory).
I read this and found myself bewildered as to what this was about. For I do not believe Iran is going to sign on to a meaningful final agreement and I do not believe that our prime minister thinks so either.
However, if the terms brought to the final negotiations are tough, then it might increase the resistance of Iran with regard to even a semblance of cooperation. And this, too, might reduce international resistance to a military strike.
It is the opinion of Dr. Aaron Lerner of IMRA that Netanyahu must continue his campaign of alerting the world as to the dangers of a deal with Iran, with all possible vigor (emphasis added):
“By the same token that the interim deal with Iran was driven by a desire to make a deal come-what-may, the same will be the case in six months.
“The issue of enrichment and other elements that place Iran weeks from making a bomb at any time are matters that President Obama is clearly willing to compromise on in the final agreement in order to sign a piece of paper.
“And that is not going to change solely via intimate conversations.
“And it is not going to change because we offer to divide Jerusalem.
“It is only going to change if Obama faces so much pressure, both domestic and international, that he finds himself opting for the right path rather than the easy path.
“And that pressure can only be achieved by continuing, over the next six month, with the campaign to alert the world to just how dangerous an inadequate deal with Iran will be.”
All of this is speculative. We do not know how Netanyahu will play it.
And so my friends, especially those of you in the US, I ask that you also write to Prime Minister Netanyahu:
Tell him that you are furious about/ashamed of (you pick the term) the position that Obama has taken in negotiations with Iran — that you understand how untenable the prime minister’s position is and what difficulties Obama’s deal causes for him.
Let him know that if and when he makes the decision to hit Iran unilaterally, you would support this action.
For your information, I share here the key implications of the deal with Iran, as put out by the Israeli Foreign Ministry (with emphasis added):
“Unprecedented international recognition of Iran’s enrichment program
“…for the first time since the beginning of negotiations in 2003 the international community recognizes Iran’s enrichment program and agrees that it will not be rolled back – contrary to a longstanding policy of full suspension enshrined in several UN Security Council resolutions.
“International acceptance of the heavy water reactor in Arak
“The elements of the comprehensive solution mentioned in the Geneva agreement lack any commitment to the dismantling of the Arak heavy water reactor…which is uniquely suitable for the production of military grade plutonium.
“Uninhibited R&D of advanced centrifuges
“The current agreement allows Iran to continue R&D of Advanced Centrifuges. This means Iran will be able to further develop and strengthen its enrichment capacity under the guise of this agreement, and will be in a better position technologically when it decides it is time to further expand enrichment. Therefore, the agreement actually enables Iran to get closer to breakout capability.
“Current stock of uranium enriched to a level of under 5% will remain intact
“Iran is allowed to preserve its current stock of about 7 tons of uranium enriched to a level of 5%…
“Iran will be able to easily reverse the measures taken under the agreement and charge ahead once it is politically convenient – Iran is not required to roll back or dismantle anything. Its nuclear infrastructure will remain intact, enabling it to resume full operations upon decision. [Note: turning 5% into more highly enriched uranium is not difficult]
“The agreement undermines the sanctions regime and provides Iran with crucial relief in economic pressure
“The international concessions in the area of sanctions undermine the sanctions regime and curb momentum for additional pressure on Iran….reducing sanctions without any real concessions on the part of Iran is extremely counter-productive: Iran is now less likely to agree to any significant restrictions on its nuclear program. [Note: once the sanctions regime is weakened, restoring it is very difficult, see below]
“The agreement signals that it is now legitimate to do business with Iran
“The ‘interim’ agreement might become permanent
“Given the observations made above, this means that Iran will practically be escorted to a nuclear threshold position by the international community.”
Does this not make your hair stand on end? It makes imminently clear why I refer to Obama’s betrayal. This deal can be seen as nothing less.
I would advise my readers to take the advice of Aaron Lerner to heart. For what he says about sounding the alarm about the dangers of a deal with Iran applies first to Netanyahu, but then to each of us individually.
I have armed you with information.
Write about this — letters to the editor, op-eds. Tell people. Call in to radio shows. Post on your FaceBook page and send to discussion groups. Let everyone know that this is an exceedingly alarming situation. Ask them to spread the word, and to contact their elected representatives in Congress.
In the interest of supplying information, I will suggest that you might want to see what Shoshana Bryen of the Israel Policy Center has to say about this horrific situation. She provides good insights: