Posted: July 29, 2015 Filed under: War Room, White House, Diplomacy, Censorship | Tags: Iran, United States, Barack Obama, The Weekly Standard, International Atomic Energy Agency, Obama administration, John Kerry, Capitol Hill, Nuclear program of Iran, Republican Party (United States), Tom Cotton, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Politics of Iran
Daniel Halper writes: Secretary of State John Kerry testified on Capitol Hill today the U.S. government will not be revealing the contents of secret side deals with Iran to the American people. Senator Tom Cotton wanted to know why it can’t be made public.
“Why can’t we confirm or deny the content of these agreements in public? Why is this classified? It’s not a sensitive U.S. government document.”
— Senator Tom Cotton
“We don’t have their authorization to reveal what is a confidential agreement…”
— Secretary of State, recreational windsurfer, John Kerry
Watch the exchange:
“So the ayatollahs will know what they agreed to but not the American people?”
— Senator Tom Cotton
“I’d like to stick with you, Secretary Kerry,” Cotton said….(read more)
[Also see – Cotton And Pompeo Reveal Stunning Secret Nuclear Side Deal As Khamenei’s Anti-US Rhetoric Continues]
The Weekly Standard
Posted: July 27, 2015 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Diplomacy, War Room, White House | Tags: Ali Khamenei, Global Panic, Iran, Israel, John Kerry, Nuclear program of Iran, Tehran, Today (U.S. TV program), United States, Vienna
Secretary of State John Kerry goes to bat for Iran as he tries to sell the legitimacy of the nuclear deal.
Posted: July 25, 2015 Filed under: Diplomacy, War Room | Tags: Agence France-Presse, Arms embargo, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Barack Obama, Iran, John Kerry, Middle East, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Iran), Mohammad Javad Zarif, Nuclear program of Iran, Nuclear weapon, Steven Ciobo, Tehran, United States Secretary of State, Vienna, Zarif
Tehran (AFP) – Iran hit out Friday against US Secretary of State John Kerry, accusing him of threatening military action against Tehran if it fails to respect a historic nuclear deal sealed on July 14.
“Unfortunately the US Secretary of State once again talked about the rotten rope of ‘the ability of the US for using military force’,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a statement.
Zarif decried what he called the “uselessness of such empty threats against the nation of Iran and the resistance of the nation of Iran”, and said such remarks should be consigned “to the last century”.
“Unfortunately the US Secretary of State once again talked about the rotten rope of ‘the ability of the US for using military force’.”
Despite the agreement reached with Iran on putting the nuclear bomb out of Tehran’s reach, several US officials, including Defence Secretary Ashton Carter, have signalled that military force remains on the table to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 22, 2015 Filed under: Asia, China, Economics | Tags: Apple Inc, Automotive industry, Blackstone Group, Business Insider, Chrysler, International sanctions, iPhone, Iran, MacBook, The Wall Street Journal
Daisuke Wakabayashi reports: The biggest growth driver at Apple is not any single product. It’s China.
The numbers are shocking. Apple’s revenue in greater China – defined by the company as China plus Hong Kong and Taiwan – rose 112% in the fiscal third quarter ended June. This means that growth is accelerating in China after a 71% increase in the previous quarter, which was considered something of a seasonally-inflated surge because it encompassed the Chinese Lunar New Year, a peak shopping period in the country.
“The macro picture looks fantastic. Maybe there are minor thunderstorms now and then, but that kind of goes with the territory. We’re just getting started there.”
— Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said he expects China to become the company’s biggest market at some point in the future. It appears that future is fast approaching. (Apple’s biggest market now is the Americas where revenue was $20.2 billion compared to $13.2 billion for Greater China, but revenue in the company’s home market grew a more pedestrian 15%.)
“China is a fantastic geography with an incredible unprecedented level of opportunity there. And we’re going to be there.”
— Cook, in a conference call with analysts
A growing reliance on the Chinese market does expose Apple to concerns about China’s economy, exacerbated by the recent pullback in the Shanghai stock market. On Wednesday, Cowen & Co. analyst Timothy Acuri downgraded Apple’s stock to a “market perform” in part because he said he saw lower-than-expected iPhone sales as a cause for concern due to mounting evidence of “a widespread demand reset from China.”
Cook said the company’s bullish view about China’s future remains unchanged. He said it is still planning to increase the number of Apple stores in China to 40 by mid-2016 from 22 currently. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 17, 2015 Filed under: History, Think Tank, White House | Tags: America's Newsroom, Arms control, Barack Obama, Bashar al-Assad, Berlin Wall, Chris Christie, Earned Income Tax Credit, Hillary Clinton, Iran, Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev, Milton Friedman, Neoliberalism, Privatization, Ronald Reagan, Tear down this wall!, United States
The Ronald Reagan Foreign Policy Legacy Distorted
Peter Wehner writes: One of the more amusing things to see in journalism is for committed liberals who didn’t work for Ronald Reagan, who didn’t vote for Ronald Reagan and who were fiercely critical of Ronald Reagan to invoke his name in order to instruct conservatives on how to better understand Ronald Reagan.
“J. Dionne, Jr. of the Washington Post…argues in his column that Barack Obama’s Iran strategy parallels Reagan’s approach to Mikhail Gorbachev in the 1980s. In fact, the lessons are exactly the opposite.”
The most recent example of this is E. J. Dionne, Jr. of the Washington Post, who argues in his column that Barack Obama’s Iran strategy parallels Reagan’s approach to Mikhail Gorbachev in the 1980s. In fact, the lessons are exactly the opposite.
“Both Reagan nor Thatcher were able to revise their assumptions based on new facts, new actors on the world stage, and new opportunities. They were not dogmatists. Mr. Obama, on the other hand, most assuredly is.”
For all the criticisms of the left against Reagan that he was a rigid ideologue, he was, in fact, a man who was quite willing and able to adjust his views in light of shifting circumstances. That is precisely what he and Margaret Thatcher did in the case of Mr. Gorbachev.
“Barack Obama is all about trust and completely indifferent to verify. The president was determined to strike a deal with Iran, any deal, for the sake of a deal. The Iranians, knowing this, were able to win one concession after another from the president.”
To their credit, both Reagan and Thatcher were dedicated anti-Communists. They understood the evil nature of the Soviet regime and they took a hard-line stance against it for most of their careers. But equally to their credit, they saw that Gorbachev was someone with whom, in Thatcher’s words in 1984, “We can do business together.” And they did. Both Reagan nor Thatcher were able to revise their assumptions based on new facts, new actors on the world stage, and new opportunities. They were not dogmatists.
“Mr. Reagan negotiated from a position of strength and operated within the four corners of reality; Mr. Obama negotiates from a position of weakness and operates in a world of his own imagination.”
Mr. Obama, on the other hand, most assuredly is. He has been ideologically committed to a rapprochement with Iran even before he was elected president; it has been his foreign policy holy grail for his entire tenure. Nothing was going to keep him from striking a bargain with which he was obsessed. (It explains in part why the president was so passive during the Green Revolution in 2009, essentially siding with the Iranian regime over the democratic movement seeking to topple it.)
[Read the full text here, at Commentary]
And here’s a key difference between Reagan and Thatcher and Obama. The former revised their approach based on an accurate assessment of Gorbachev and, therefore, the Soviet regime he ruled. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 16, 2015 Filed under: Breaking News, Mediasphere, Politics, White House | Tags: Associated Press, Barack Obama, Bruno Mars, Criminal justice, Drudge Report, East Room, Hillary Clinton, Independence Day (United States), Iran, Matt Drudge, Michelle Obama, Nuclear program of Iran, Pantsuit Report, The Pantsuit Report, White House
Poll: Clinton’s standing falls among Democrats
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton’s standing is falling among Democrats, and voters view her as less decisive and inspiring than when she launched her presidential campaign just three months ago, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.
The survey offers a series of warning signs for the leading Democratic candidate. Most troubling,
perhaps, for her prospects are questions about her compassion for average Americans, a quality that fueled President Barack Obama’s two White House victories.
Just 39 percent of all Americans have a favorable view of Clinton, compared to nearly half who say they have a negative opinion of her. That’s an eight-point increase in her unfavorable rating from an AP-GfK poll conducted at the end of April.
The drop in Clinton’s numbers extends into the Democratic Party. Seven in 10 Democrats gave Clinton positive marks, an 11-point drop from the April survey. Nearly a quarter of Democrats now say they see Clinton in an unfavorable light.
“I used to like her, but I don’t trust her,” said Donald Walters of Louisville, Kentucky. “Ever since she’s announced her candidacy for the presidency I just haven’t liked the way she’s handled things. She doesn’t answer questions directly.”
[Read the full text here, via apnews.myway.com]
While Clinton’s approval rating fell, Obama’s stayed constant at 46 percent since April. More than 8 in 10 Democrats have a positive view of the president.
At least part of Clinton’s decline may be due to questions about her character, a topic Republicans have been trying to make central to the 2016 campaign. In ads, stump speeches and online videos, they paint her as a creature of Washington who flouts the rules to get ahead.
While Clinton has spent decades in the public eye, she’s focused in recent months on creating a more relatable — and empathetic — image. In public events, she frequently talks about her new granddaughter, Charlotte, and references her early career as a legal advocate for impoverished children. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 15, 2015 Filed under: War Room, Breaking News, White House, Diplomacy | Tags: Iran, Barack Obama, Twitter, Enriched uranium, Tehran, Nuclear weapon, International Atomic Energy Agency, Obama administration, John Kerry, Allahpundit, Nuclear program of Iran, United Nations Security Council, Vienna, Ben Rhodes, Sanctions against Iran, Airbnb, Nukes, Iran Deal, Centrifuge, Elliott Schwartz, Ali Akbar Velayati
Sean Davis writes:
“Obama’s deal to lift sanctions on Iran and allow it to continue the purchase and production of enriched uranium is so bad that his own staff can’t even figure out how to spin for it. It’s so bad that Obama’s opponents don’t even need to craft their own arguments against it — they can just recycle the Obama administration’s arguments against the deal…”
Posted: July 15, 2015 Filed under: War Room, Global, Politics, Diplomacy | Tags: Iran, United States, Ali Khamenei, United States Congress, Nuclear weapon, International Atomic Energy Agency, Nuclear program of Iran, United Nations Security Council, Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Research and development
Frederick Kagan writes: The nuclear agreement with Iran announced Tuesday is an astoundingly good deal, far surpassing the hopes of anyone . . . in Tehran. It requires Iran to reduce the number of centrifuges enriching uranium by about half, to sell most of its current uranium stockpile or “downblend” it to lower levels of enrichment, and to accept inspections (whose precise nature is yet to be specified) by the International Atomic Energy Agency, something that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had wanted to avoid.
“The main achievement of the regime’s negotiators is striking a deal that commits the West to removing almost all sanctions on Iran, including most of those imposed to reduce terrorism or to prevent weapons proliferation.”
But the agreement also permits Iran to phase out the first-generation centrifuges on which it now relies and focus its research and development by exclusively using a number of advanced centrifuge models many times more efficient, which has been Tehran’s plan all along. The deal will also entirely end the United Nations’ involvement in Iran’s nuclear program in 10 years, and in 15 years will lift most restrictions on the program.
“Experts will debate the value of the concessions Iran has made on the nuclear front, but the value to Iran of the concessions the U.S. has made on nonnuclear issues is immeasurable.”
Even that, though, is not Tehran’s biggest win. The main achievement of the regime’s negotiators is striking a deal that commits the West to removing almost all sanctions on Iran, including most of those imposed to reduce terrorism or to prevent weapons proliferation. Most of the sanctions are likely to end in a few months. Thus the agreement ensures that after a short delay Iran will be able to lay the groundwork for a large nuclear arsenal and, in the interim, expand its conventional military capabilities as much as the regime pleases. The supreme leader should be very proud of his team.
“The Obama administration seems to be betting that lifting sanctions will cause Iran to moderate its behavior in both nuclear and nonnuclear matters. The rhetoric and actions of the regime’s leaders provide little evidence to support this notion and much evidence to the contrary.”
The agreement consists of 159 pages of opaque prose, and key sections are referred to but are not clearly marked. Even figuring out the timeline embodied in the deal is hard, but it appears to run about as follows:
[Read the full text here, at WSJ]
“Finalization Day” was July 14. The agreement stipulates that a resolution will be submitted to the United Nations Security Council “promptly after the conclusion of the negotiations . . . for adoption without delay” that will “terminate” all preceding U.N. Security Council resolutions against Iran. The document doesn’t mention the 60-day window for review by the U.S. Congress, and the language in this section suggests that action in the U.N. will not await any congressional vote. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 15, 2015 Filed under: Breaking News, Diplomacy, Global, Mediasphere, White House | Tags: Iran, media, New York, New York Post, news, Newspaper, Nuke Deal, NYC, Tabloid
Posted: July 14, 2015 Filed under: Diplomacy, Global, War Room | Tags: Ali Khamenei, Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Barack Obama, Bashar al-Assad, Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, Islamic republic, Israel, Line of credit, Nuclear program of Iran, President of Iran, Prime Minister of Israel, Shia Islam, Syria, Tehran
Iran’s enemies unsettled by its deal with the West, but Bashar al-Assad of Syria says it is ‘a great victory’
Richard Spencer writes: The nuclear deal with Iran caused fury in Israel and consternation around the region at the likely increase in influence and resources of a newly enriched Iran.
Most telling was the loudest expression of support. “I am happy that the Islamic Republic of Iran has achieved a great victory by reaching an agreement,” President Bashar al-Assad of Syria said in a message to his Iranian opposite number, Hassan Rouhani.
“In the name of the Syrian people, I congratulate you and the people of Iran on this historic achievement.”
Benjamin Netanyahu during an earlier, tense press conference (Reuters)
Israel and the Sunni Arab world have set aside old grievances to stand together against the West’s engagement with Iran.
Posted: July 14, 2015 Filed under: Breaking News, Diplomacy, The Butcher's Notebook, War Room | Tags: Arms embargo, Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Economic sanctions, European Union, International Atomic Energy Agency, International sanctions, Iran, IRISL Group, Islamic Republic News Agency, National Iranian Oil Company, Nuclear program of Iran, Sanctions against Iran, Sergey Lavrov, Vienna
” The Middle East has just become far more dangerous than it was a day ago. And the Obama administration has no one to blame but itself.”
…President Obama says that the deal makes the world “safer and more secure.” But here is how the Iranian Mehr News Agency describes the outcome:
– Iran’s nuclear program that was unjustly introduced as a threat to global security will now be recognized as a field for international cooperation with other countries.
– Iran will be recognized by the U.N. as a country with nuclear technology and entitled to rights of peaceful nuclear program including enrichment and full fuel cycle.
– All economic and financial sanctions against Iran will be removed through a new Security Council resolution.
“The lifting of restrictions ensures that Iran will be no further from achieving nuclear weapons status than it is today. Nothing has been rolled back. None of the initial Western demands, whether regarding enrichment, the number of centrifuges, the extent of inspections, or the timetable for lifting sanctions have been met.”
– All nuclear facilities in Iran will retain their activities. Contrary to the initial demands of the other side, none of the nuclear sites will be shut down.
– With the new UNSC resolution under article 25, in addition to article 41 on provisions related to removal of past sanctions, the treatment of UN Security Council toward Iran will also undergo a fundamental change.
“Iran will now have access to the latest technology, to international trade, and, most important, to billions of dollars. Estimates of Tehran’s financial windfall range as high as $150 billion.”
– All nuclear facilities in Iran will retain their activities. Contrary to the initial demands of the other side, none of the nuclear sites will be shut down.
– The policy to prevent Iran’s enrichment activities failed. Iran will continue nuclear enrichment.
– Iran’s nuclear infrastructure will be preserved. No centrifuge will be destroy [sic] and research and development on all advanced centrifuges including IR-4, IR-5, IR-6 and IR-8 will continue.
– Arak heavy water reactor will remain as such. Any demands to return the facility to a light water reactor have been dismissed. The facility will be modernized and enjoy new additions through cooperating with owners of most advanced and secure world technologies.
“Even if the actual figures are no more than $50 billion, that sum is enough for Iran both to modernize its infrastructure and double, perhaps triple its financial support for terrorist activities, which currently is estimated to cost the Islamic Republic less than ten billions dollars.”
– Iran will enter global markets as a producer of nuclear products especially in the case of “enriched uranium” and “heavy water.” All sanctions and limitations against imports and exports of nuclear material will be annulled.
– All economic and financial sanctions in the fields of banking, oil, gas, petrochemicals, insurance, and transportation as imposed by the EU and the U.S. under the pretext of Iran’s nuclear program will be immediately lifted upon the implementation of the agreement.
“Clearly, from the Iranian perspective, this is one terrific deal.”
– Ban on Iran’s missile activities including ballistic missiles will be limited to missiles designed for nuclear weapons, of which the Islamic Republic has never been and will be after.
– Iran’s arms embargo will be lifted, replaced with some restrictions to be removed in 5 years.
– Ban on purchasing sensitive dual-use items will be lifted and Iran’s needs will be met more easily through Iran and 5+1 joint commission.
– Billions of Iran’s blocked revenues in foreign banks will be unfrozen.
– A total of 800 individuals and legal entities, including the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), will be released from any sanctions.
Clearly, from the Iranian perspective, this is one terrific deal.
What about from the Western perspective? The lifting of restrictions ensures that Iran will be no further from achieving nuclear weapons status than it is today. Nothing has been rolled back. None of the initial Western demands, whether regarding enrichment, the number of centrifuges, the extent of inspections, or the timetable for lifting sanctions have been met. Iran will now have access to the latest technology, to international trade, and, most important, to billions of dollars. Estimates of Tehran’s financial windfall range as high as $150 billion. Even if the actual figures are no more than $50 billion, that sum is enough for Iran both to modernize its infrastructure and double, perhaps triple its financial support for terrorist activities, which currently is estimated to cost the Islamic Republic less than ten billions dollars. The prospects for a peaceful outcome in Syria, or Yemen have diminished markedly. Hezbollah’s fortunes have skyrocketed. And the threat to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province has become far more ominous. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 13, 2015 Filed under: Think Tank, War Room | Tags: Abu Dua, al Qaeda, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Barack Obama, Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Iran, Islamic state, Islamic terrorism, Islamism, Middle East, The Heritage Foundation, United States, White House
What do ISIS’s rise in Iraq and Syria and Iran’s new-found power and growing sphere of influence in the region portend for the broader Middle East? What is being done to counter Islamist extremist forces in the region and what is the current state of play? How do the current regional dynamics impact the threat from al-Qaeda, especially in Afghanistan and Pakistan? Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 12, 2015 Filed under: Breaking News, Diplomacy, Guns and Gadgets, War Room, White House | Tags: Barack Obama, Iran, John Kerry, Nuclear Iran, Nuke Deal, Tehran, Terrorism, Vienna, Weapons Technology
The Weekly Standard
Posted: July 12, 2015 Filed under: Breaking News, Diplomacy, War Room, White House | Tags: Crimea, Geneva, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Iran, John Kerry, Laurent Fabius, Minister for Foreign Affairs (Germany), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Russia), Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (France), Mohammad Javad Zarif, Sergey Lavrov, Vienna
VIENNA (AP) — George Jahn and Matthew Lee report: Negotiators at the Iran nuclear talks plan to announce Monday that they’ve reached a historic deal capping nearly a decade of diplomacy that would curb the country’s atomic program in return for sanctions relief, two diplomats told The Associated Press on Sunday.
The envoys said a provisional agreement may be reached even earlier — by late Sunday. But they cautioned that final details of the pact were still being worked out. Once it is complete, a formal, final agreement would be open to review by officials in the capitals of Iran and the six world powers at the talks, they said.
Senior U.S. and Iranian officials suggested, however, there might not be enough time to reach a deal by the end of Sunday and that the drafting of documents could bleed into Monday.
All of the officials, who are at the talks in Vienna, demanded anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the negotiations publicly.
“We are working hard, but a deal tonight is simply logistically impossible,” the Iranian official said, noting that the agreement will run roughly 100 pages.
The senior U.S. official declined to speculate as to the timing of any agreement or announcement but said “major issues remain to be resolved.”
Despite the caution, the negotiators appeared to be on the cusp of an agreement.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who on Thursday had threatened to walk away from the negotiations, said Sunday that “a few tough things” remain in the way but added “we’re getting to some real decisions.”
En route to Mass at Vienna’s gothic St. Stephens Cathedral, Kerry said twice he was “hopeful” after a “very good meeting” Saturday with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who had Muslim services Friday. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 12, 2015 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Law & Justice, White House | Tags: Bill Clinton, Clinton Foundation, Donald M. Middlebrooks, Freedom Watch, Hillary Clinton, Iran, Larry Klayman, Pantsuit Report, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, The Pantsuit Report, The Washington Times, United States Department of State
Kellan Howell reports: Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have been ordered to give depositions in a civil case investigating the pair’s growing email scandal.
“This is the first and only hard-hitting case to address the growing email scandal. What Hillary Clinton, her husband, and their foundation have done is nothing new.”
Mrs. Clinton will giver her deposition on the morning of July 28 in Washington, and Mr. Clinton will give his the following morning, according to copies of the notices of deposition reviewed by The Washington Times.
“It is simply part of a criminal enterprise which dates back at least 10 years, all designed to enrich themselves personally at the expense of the American people and our nation.”
The case, filed by Freedom Watch founder and former federal prosecutor Larry Klayman, alleges the couple committed criminal violations under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
(Photo by Mike Segar-Pool/Getty Images)
“It’s time, however, that they finally be held legally accountable.”
— Larry Klayman, Freedom Watch founder and former federal prosecutor
According to a statement from Freedom Watch, the suit alleges Mrs. Clinton, the front-runner for the 2016 Democratic nomination, covered up these crimes by destroying her personal emails sent during her time as Secretary of State. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 10, 2015 Filed under: Breaking News, Diplomacy, Global, Religion, The Butcher's Notebook, White House | Tags: Effigy, Fact Checking, headlines, Iran, Islamic extremism, Islamism, Jihadism, media, news, Nuclear Iran, Nuke Talks, President Obama, satire
We apologize for the error.
Posted: July 10, 2015 Filed under: Diplomacy, War Room | Tags: Barack Obama, Effigy, Iran, Islamic extremism, Islamism, Jihadism, John Kerry, Nuclear Iran, Nuke Talks, Peace Talks, Quds Day
The Gateway Pundit
Posted: July 7, 2015 Filed under: Diplomacy, War Room, White House | Tags: Enriched uranium, Institute for Science and International Security, International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran, Nuclear power, Nuclear program of Iran, Reuters, Tehran, United States, Uranium, Uranium dioxide, Vienna
If it is reached in the coming days, a nuclear deal with Iran will be, at best, an unsatisfying and risky compromise. Iran’s emergence as a threshold nuclear power, with the ability to produce a weapon quickly, will not be prevented; it will be postponed, by 10 to 15 years. In exchange, Tehran will reap hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief it can use to revive its economy and fund the wars it is waging around the Middle East.
“Rather than publicly report this departure from the accord, the Obama administration chose to quietly accept it. When a respected independent think tank, the Institute for Science and International Security, began pointing out the problem, the administration’s response was to rush to Iran’s defense…”
Whether this flawed deal is sustainable will depend on a complex set of verification arrangements and provisions for restoring sanctions in the event of cheating. The schemes may or may not work; the history of the comparable nuclear accord with North Korea in the 1990s is not encouraging.
[Also see – Obama Laying Groundwork For Capitulation To Iran On Anytime/Anywhere Inspections]
The United States and its allies will have to be aggressive in countering the inevitable Iranian attempts to test the accord and willing to insist on consequences even if it means straining relations with friendly governments or imposing costs on Western companies.
[Read the full text here, at The Washington Post]
That’s why a recent controversy over Iran’s compliance with the interim accord now governing its nuclear work is troubling. The deal allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium, but required that amounts over a specified ceiling be converted into an oxide powder that cannot easily be further enriched. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran met the requirement for the total size of its stockpile on June 30, but it did so by converting some of its enriched uranium into a different oxide form, apparently because of problems with a plant set up to carry out the powder conversion. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 1, 2015 Filed under: Diplomacy, Economics, War Room, White House | Tags: Barack Obama, Gold, Iran, John Kerry, Middle East, Nuke Deal, Sanctions, Signature Achievement
Washington Free Beacon
Posted: June 22, 2015 Filed under: Asia, Censorship, Global, Mediasphere | Tags: Baghdad, Big Brother, Bret Stephens, Eason Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Jason Rezaian, journalism, North Korea, propaganda, WSJ
Journalism from places like North Korea and Iran should be prefaced with a disclaimer: Big Brother Is Reading This, Too
Bret Stephens writes: The New York Times recently featured a photo and video essay by the celebrated photojournalist David Guttenfelder titled “Illuminating North Korea.” It’s a potent reminder that nothing is so blinding as the illusion of seeing.
I don’t mean to disparage Mr. Guttenfelder’s photographic skills or his sincerity. But what are we to make of a photo essay heavy on pictures of modern-looking factories and well-fed children being fussed over in a physical rehabilitation center? Or—from his Instagram account (“Everyday DPRK”)—of theme-park water slides, Christian church interiors, well-stocked clothing stores and rollerblading Pyongyang teens—all suggesting an ordinariness to North Korean life that, as we know from so many sources, is a travesty of the terrifying truth?
I’ve been thinking about Mr. Guttenfelder’s photos, and of the prominence the Times gave them, while considering the trade-offs between access and propaganda. In April 2003, Eason Jordan, then CNN’s news chief, wrote a revealing op-ed in the Times about his network’s coverage of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
[Read the full text here, at WSJ]
“Over the last dozen years I made 13 trips to Baghdad to lobby the government to keep CNN’s Baghdad bureau open and to arrange interviews with Iraqi leaders,” Mr. Jordan wrote. “Each time I visited, I became more distressed by what I saw and heard—awful things that could not be reported because doing so would have jeopardized the lives of Iraqis, particularly those on our Baghdad staff.”
It was an appalling confession of a massive journalistic whitewash, all for the sake of scoring prime time with tyrants. But sometimes it takes a great fool to reveal an important truth. In this case, the truth that much of what passes for news reporting from closed societies is, if not worthless, compromised to the point that it should be prefaced with an editorial disclaimer: Big Brother Is Reading This, Too. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 9, 2015 Filed under: Diplomacy, Think Tank, War Room, White House | Tags: Al Anbar Governorate, Baghdad, Humvee, Iran, Iraq, Iraqi Army, Islamic state, Mosul, Ramadi, United States
Figuring out that you are pursuing a losing strategy is more difficult than outsiders might believe.
Peter D. Feaver writes: President Obama is under fire for explaining the lack of progress in the fight against the Islamic State on the fact that he does not “yet have a complete strategy.” This apparently candid concession echoes the one he made 10 months ago when he acknowledged that “we don’t have a strategy yet” to confront the Islamic State.
“The problem with the strategy is that it is not working, in the sense of advancing U.S. interests in the region and achieving the stated objectives.”
Critics are understandably lambasting the president for the apparent dilatoriness, and I have some sympathy for the critique. If you begin the clock with President Obama’s remarkable January 2014 dismissal of the Islamic State as a “jayvee threat” — something the White House still pretends the president did not say, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary — and trace the president’s response to the growing Islamic State threat, the charge of delinquency is almost impossible to deny.
“In the absence of U.S. leadership, local partners did not step up quickly enough to stop the Islamic State when the threat could be easily contained. Now rolling back the group’s advances requires more punch than the locals can deliver without a substantial increase in American commitment.”
Yet, in this instance, I think the critics and the president are both wrong. The problem is not an absence of strategy, it is that the strategy that does exist is failing and the administration is not yet willing to admit that fact.
[Read the full text here, at Foreign Policy]
The strategy is pretty self-evident: U.S. forces are operating under stringent self-imposed limitations so as to incentivize local partners (the Iraqi government, Sunni tribes, and moderate rebels in Syria) to do more. The United States is prepared perhaps to do a bit more if local actors do a lot more, but if local actors do not step up, the United States is not prepared to do more. On the contrary, the United States is prepared to accept hitherto “unacceptable” setbacks — the fall of Mosul, the fall of Ramadi, the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime, the regional expansion of Iranian-backed terrorist organizations and militias, and on and on — rather than intervene more decisively.
“This is a recognizable strategy. There is even a catchy name for it: leading from behind.”
The problem with the strategy is that it is not working, in the sense of advancing U.S. interests in the region and achieving the stated objectives (“destroy and degrade ISIL”). In the absence of U.S. leadership, local partners did not step up quickly enough to stop the Islamic State when the threat could be easily contained. Now rolling back the group’s advances requires more punch than the locals can deliver without a substantial increase in American commitment.
Read the rest of this entry »