Monday, July 27, 2015

In the words of Lando Calrissian

"This deal is getting worse all the time." This Iran deal, that is. Marc Thiessen:
President Obama promised that his nuclear deal with Iran would not be “based on trust” but rather “unprecedented verification.” Now it turns out Obama’s verification regime is based on trust after all — trust in two secret side agreements negotiated exclusively between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that apparently no one (including the Obama administration) has seen.
Worse, Obama didn’t even reveal the existence of these secret side deals to Congress when he transmitted the nuclear accord to Capitol Hill. The agreements were uncovered, completely by chance, by two members of Congress — Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) — who were in Vienna meeting with the U.N.-releated agency.
In an interview, Pompeo told me that he and Cotton were meeting with the deputy director of the IAEA and the agency’s two top Iran negotiators just days after the nuclear accord was announced, when they asked how the agency will carry out verification at the Iranian military complex at Parchin. IAEA officials told them, quite casually, that the details were all covered in agreements negotiated between the IAEA and the Iranian government. It was the first they had heard of the side deals.
Pompeo says they asked whether they could see those agreements. He says IAEA officials replied, “ ‘Oh no, of course not, no, you’re not going to get to see those.’ And so everybody on our side of the table asked, ‘Has Secretary Kerry seen these?’ ‘No, Secretary Kerry hasn’t seen them. No American is ever going to get to see them.’ ”
It turns out that only the two parties — the IAEA and Iran — get to see the actual agreements (though you can see a picture of Iranian and IAEA officials holding up what appear to be the secret accords here).
In other words, Obama is gambling our national security and handing over $150 billion in sanctions relief to Iran, based on secret agreements negotiated between the IAEA and Iran that no U.S. official has seen.
“We need to see these documents in order to evaluate whether or not verification is ample to make such a big concession to the Iranians,” Pompeo says. “No member of Congress should be asked to vote on an agreement of this historic importance absent knowing what the terms of the verification process are.”
In fact, the Obama administration’s failure to transmit these side deals to Congress is a violation of the law. The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which Obama signed into law, explicitly states that the president must transmit the nuclear agreement along with “all related materials and annexes.” That clearly covers any side agreements covering the verification of Iran’s compliance.
Susan Rice told reporters the administration “provided Congress with all of the documents that we drafted or were part of drafting and all documents shared with us by the IAEA.” Sorry, that’s not what the law requires.
Law, schmaw. Since when has Obama cared about obeying the law?
But the administration cannot hand over what it apparently does not have. For Pompeo, that raises even more troubling questions. “Why on earth is the president letting the negotiations [on verification] be negotiated by someone other than us?” he asks. How can it be that the administration would “do a deal with the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, that’s spent its entire existence cheating, and we would sign off on a deal with them whose core provisions are completely unknown to our side? It’s remarkable.”
Elizabeth Price Foley at Instapundit has a word for it:
Cutting a nuclear deal with Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, without either realizing or revealing that there are “side deals” with the IAEA is treasonous. Members of Congress who now vote to support it without knowing the full terms of these side deals are likewise traitors.
Careful, Professor Foley. Talk like that might get you called "uncivil." Then again, what else could you call it?

Stopping the Iran deal

Michael Ledeen has an idea for a PR campaign to stop this abomination Obama and Kerry have negotiated with the Iranian mullahs:
I think most of those trying to stop the approval of the Iran Deal are going about it wrong.  I don’t believe you can stop this thing by going through the text and pointing out its myriad flaws, nor do I think it’s good enough to expose the many lies Obama, Kerry, Rhodes et. al. told us along the way, nor even to uncover secret deals.  Kerry and Zarif spent 27 hours alone during the negotiations, and we’re not going to get a transcript of those conversations, nor will either of them tell us what they may have agreed.  And even if they did, I don’t think it would produce enough public political rage to stiffen the wobbly spines of our elected leaders.
The critics are quite right for the most part: it’s an awful agreement, the administration has behaved abominably, and the deal should be rejected.  I’m just talking about the best way to do it, the best tactics to use.  Obama understands how to do it:  reduce the issue to a simple choice.  He does that when he says that Congress must either approve the Grand Bargain or plunge the Middle East–or is it the world?–into war.
We should answer it:  Iran has been at war with us for 36 years, and this deal–the latest of its kind–gives Iran lots of money to kill even more Americans.  Indeed, we’ve been doing it for quite a while.
In a single phrase:  the war is already ON, and we’re paying the Iranians to kill us.  You want to pay them even more?  Apparently that’s what Obama wants.
That’s the essence of the matter, but we’re all wrapped up in on-site inspections, complicated annexes and a steady flow of information that’s been withheld from us.  That won’t work.  Just stick to the one-liner.  Americans don’t like our guys getting murdered by Iranians and their proxies, and we don’t like being shaken down by our own killers.
Remember when comrade Lenin remarked that the capitalists would eventually buy the rope and supply it to their hangman?  Well here we are.
Let's repeat the key phrase here:
Iran has been at war with us for 36 years, and this deal–the latest of its kind–gives Iran lots of money to kill even more Americans.  Indeed, we’ve been doing it for quite a while.
In a single phrase:  the war is already ON, and we’re paying the Iranians to kill us.  You want to pay them even more?  Apparently that’s what Obama wants.
Of course, those of us who have been paying attention are well aware Iran has been at war with us for 36 years. That's why we oppose this deal. Those who have not been paying attention tend to support this deal, and, in fact, negotiated it.

Shout this loud and long, far and wide. This deal must be stopped.

Coming soon to America

The Islamic Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. It is in France already:
Social networks across France responded angrily to the news a 21-year-old woman was beaten up by a gang of girls and young women for the crime of wearing a bikini in a park. Authorities are yet to have identified the attackers but The Independent reports commentators assume they were Muslims.
According to police the young victim was sunbathing with two friends in the Parc Léo Lagrange in Reims, northern France, last Wednesday when one of her five female attackers verbally abused her for “immorally” exposing so much flesh in a public place. The sunbather shouted back at which point the other girls and young women moved in, slapping and punching her.
Passers-by intervened to protect the badly bruised victim.
The attackers, aged 16 to 24, were soon arrested. The three oldest were remanded to appear in court in September, the remaining two girls, aged 16 and 17, face further questioning.
Authorities have not named the assailants but have said they all come from housing estates with large Muslim populations. Although police told L’Union newspaper that the victim was unable to confirm her assailants were motivated by “religious opinions”, bloggers in France have cited the incident as the latest example of the radical Islamic threat to French values.
If my visit to France last month is any indication, the French are far from being the "rude, cheese-eating surrender monkeys" we Americans usually believe them to be. Far from it. The response to this incident gives us more evidence of French backbone. First we have the Mayor of Reims:
The mayor of Reims, Arnaud Robinet, said: “We have to be very careful not to jump to conclusions. All the same, I can understand why people have assumed that this attack had religious motives. If that turns out to be the case, it is a very serious incident.
This is far more intelligent than what we usually get here in the US these days: remember that they still consider the motive for the attack at the Chattanooga recruiting office "unknown" and seem at great pains to avoid acknowledging even the possibility of an Islamist element. Remember, too, the "workplace violence" at Fort Hood.

But there's more:

In response to the attack a demonstration was organised. Wearing bikinis and other bathing costumes protesters rallied in the park where the beating took place.

Faced with drizzle and cold winds only small number showed up, but across France hundreds responded to a Twitter appeal by the anti-racist organisation SOS Racisme to post images of themselves or others wearing skimpy bathing costumes in public places using the hashtag ‘#jeportemonmaillotauparcleo’ (I wear my swimsuit in Park Leo).

One Lorine (@LorineTinti) has a particularly note-worthy tweet:

#jeportemonmaillotauParcLeo #peaceandlovelesgars #bisousbisous 
Good for her.

Not to be outdone, Grégory Herpe Photo (@GregoryHerpe69) comes back with a message of defiance:
#jeportemonmaillotauParcLeo ! La France est un pays libre. Les femmes y sont libres. ça te gêne? Change de pays. 
Which translates to:
“France is a free country. Women there are free. It annoys you? Change country.” 
John Hinderaker at Power Line ominously adds: "She probably has no idea how out of fashion that sentiment is with opinion elites in her country, and ours."

This is how they will operate: Islamists seeking to impose their version of shari'a law on non-Muslims through fear. We have already seen efforts at doing so in places like Minneapolis. We will see more of it in the days ahead until we come to grips with our barbaric enemy.

The rope with which to nuke us

German business interests helped drive the Iran nuclear deal:
Before the ink could barely dry on the Iran Deal, Germany’s Economy Minister Sigmar Garbiel flew to Tehran, making him the first leading Western figure to do so after the nuclear agreement was reached Vienna earlier this month.
Gabriel who is also Germany’s Vice-Chancellor met with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and other top Iranian leaders described the moods of the visit as “being with old friends.”
The German weekly Die Welt reported [translation by Legal Insurrection]:
[Not just in streets of Tehran] but also in German board rooms there was great elation over the [Iran] deal: The German economy is electrified at the prospect of again doing business with the Islamic country. German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) (…) estimates that German exports to Iran could be doubled to €5 billion in coming two years.
Another leading trade body, the Federation of German Industry (BDI), is even more bullish on Iran and foresees the trade volume cross the €10 billion-mark in next few years. Eric Schweitzer, DIHK-President told Die Welt that as far as the German business goes, “the doors [in Tehran] are very, very wide open”. Industry players in Germany are counting on the great prestige attached to the “Made in Germany” label in Iran–which is synonymous with high-quality and reliability.
The clerics in Tehran could not agree more with German industry’s assessment.
Could we soon expect Iranian Regime using “reliable” German construction cranes to hang dissidents and homosexuals – having been forced to make do with other substandard options for far too long?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Required reading but missing the point

Paul Bracken in The American Interest. Here's the intro:
Commentary on the agreement with Iran has focused too much on the “art of the deal” and how it was struck. The real focus should be on the long-term consequences for nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.
This is a great piece as far as it goes -- with one critical exception. I'll give you Bracken's take in this extended excerpt (emphasis mine):
The Iran agreement is one development in this long process. It’s like negotiating an end to a long war where each side gets to keep its forces intact. Here, the “war” is the American-led effort to prevent Iran’s atomic bomb. A “surrender” was never accepted by Iran, in the agreement itself or in the behavior that surrounds it. It wasn’t a strategic surrender of its bomb program in the sense that Iran has foresworn nuclear weapons. At best it was a tactical surrender of those parts of it, like old centrifuges, that leaders thought they could shed without too much political loss at home. In sum, Iran’s residual nuclear capability is largely untouched.
Ending the Vietnam War was hardly settled once the United States signed an agreement in Paris with the government of North Vietnam. The agreement didn’t terminate the war—far from it. Rather, the Paris peace accord was an important development that shaped what followed. What was critical then is what’s critical now. North Vietnam wasn’t required to stand down any of its forces. They remained in place. This gave Hanoi freedom of action to exploit the post-Paris peace agreement situation. Hanoi never agreed to abandon its long-term goal of conquering South Vietnam, and that’s exactly what they did over the next two years.
There’s a more general lesson here. Instead of focusing on what is agreed to in a document, we need to focus on the surviving capability that was central to the conflict in the first place. If that capability remains, the details over verification and implementation of any agreement are radically changed, because the side with it has the power to use its residual capability to wreck the deal, or dance around the edges to change it, alter its scope, or any of a number of other strategies.
Iran has only accepted an armistice—a tactical, temporary suspension of some aspects of its nuclear program. It retains a capability to conduct other parts of its atomic program openly. Iran’s nuclear technology system has not been reduced, let alone dismantled. The knowhow, organizational structures, staffs, and systems (for example, advanced centrifuges and missiles) remain essentially intact.
Let’s put Iran’s residual nuclear program in the Middle East context. Iran’s Sunni rivals, such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, are organizing against it. These rivals have a lot of money, and they’ve recently crossed a major escalation threshold, using military force in Bahrain and Yemen. Even Israel has joined this coalition in a de facto way.
Nearby, a civil war in Syria has reached brutal levels of violence. Yet it goes on, putting paid to arguments that large-scale war is some kind of obsolete or improbable development. Some 300,000 people killed with all manner of outside states and subnational groups intervening for their own narrow purpose. That the result is apparent stalemate, or that many of the interventions look ill conceived, doesn’t change the fact that Iran can easily see something like this happening to them. Especially for Iran, this is an important fear; Iran suffered large-scale chemical warfare attack in its war with Iraq in the 1980s. I have yet to meet any Iranian who doesn’t believe that this was at least tacitly approved of by the United States and Israel.
Finally, U.S. military capability is not appreciably any less than it was a few years ago. The United States is trying to get out of the area in terms of its deployed forces in theater. But the whole shift to maritime and cyber power in announced American plans points to exerting military force from a distance and from off shore.
Absent some deterrent, the United States can destroy a large part of Iran’s military, opening it up to the kind of catastrophe Syria is now suffering. This really would shut down Iran’s nuclear program if it happened. The point here isn’t to make the case that the Middle East is a dangerous place. Everyone knows that. It’s to make the point that Iran’s residual nuclear program exists in this strategic environment.
Two conclusions follow from this. First, no amount of negotiating skill on the West’s part was going to alter this strategic environment. No personal relations between negotiators could reverse the strategic realities that Iran faces. That members of the two teams went to MIT and swapped gifts for their grandchildren is all very nice. But it doesn’t come close to altering Iran’s dangerous situation.
Second, even if the mullahs were to pass from the scene, Iran’s strategic situation doesn’t change. I would say that even the disestablishment of the Iranian Guards wouldn’t make a difference. The Iranian state needs something to keep the forces of chaos at bay. It has a nuclear capability because it did everything in its power to build it—in the face of an economic siege, cyber attack, targeted killing of its scientists, and the P5+1 negotiations.
Iran isn’t going to give this capability up easily; moreover, no side promise from the United States or others that they will not strong arm Iran if they do give up their nuclear effort is likely to carry much weight in Tehran.
This is the big problem that advocates of negotiations with Iran, including those who somehow draw a moral equivalency between the US and Iran, fail to understand, perhaps willfully -- and Bracken, while not advocating the deal, makes the same mistake: the issue is not Iran having nuclear weapons so much as the Iranian mullahs having nuclear weapons.

This is a huge distinction. You cannot treat the mullahcratic government the same way you would treat, say, a secular parliamentary government. This is not Austria getting nukes. The issue in the 1930s was not so much Germany getting the Wehrmacht but Hitler controlling that Wehrmacht.

The mullahs want regional hegemony based on Shari'a law arising out of Shia Islam -- and an interpretation of Islam that has an apocalyptic element to it -- that is not in the interest of the US. The mullahs have acted in furtherance of that goal, including support for Hezbo'allah, Hamas, Shi'ite rebels in Iraq who fought US troops, and others. That hegemony includes removal of Israel. This is not a rational strategic goal, but a religious goal. Remember that historically the Persians and Jews have had good relations -- it was Cyrus the Great who ended the Babylonian Captivity, after all. Iran was not in the thrall of Arab Nationalism because Iran is not Arab; it is Persian.

Note that Iran had good relations with Israel until 1979; when the mullahs took power Iran immediately became a sworn enemy of Israel intent on its destruction. Iran's strategic outlook ever since has driven largely by the interests of the mullahs, not the country as a whole.

That means Iran is not the problem; the mullahs are. To solve the problem, one must remove the mullahs from the equation.The US could have argued that Iran can have nukes, but the mullahs cannot. But in yet another testament to the stupidity of the Obama administration and his laughably-named "national security" team, Obama refused to aid the 2009 Green Revolution in its goal of the removal of the mullahs.

This agreement does nothing to advance peace in the Middle East because there can be no peace as long as the mullahs are in power. They will not allow it until they get what they want. In fact, it makes a nuclear attack by the mullahs more likely -- one to which the US would have difficulty responding.

How? All the mullahs have to do is slip a nuke to one of their terrorist proxies like Hezbo'allah. Hezbo'allah already has agents in the US. Detonate the nuke. The mullahs celebrate it but do not accept responsibility. And idiots like John Kerry and Barbara Boxer will argue that without proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the US could not retaliate in kind.

That was the threat in Iraq with Saddam Hussein, a threat the leftists never acknowledged. And that is the threat from the Iranian mullahs, a threat they still do not acknowledge.

Because they trust pieces of paper.

This is what you get when you have idiots running your foreign policy establishment, like we do now.

And ultimately we will all pay the price for the stupidity of people who should have known better but willfully refused to learn.

Intelligence is in short supply here.

Bob Corker tells John Kerry "You've been fleeced" by the Iranian mullahs:
It all started off so well for Secretary of State John Kerry. At the beginning of his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the deal he crafted with Iran, Kerry got a hero’s welcome from a group of observers to the hearing. Granted, it was from the deep thinkers of Code Pink, but you gotta take what you can get, amirite?
Kerry told the committee that he could guarantee this deal would prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon during the term of the agreement, which prompted chair Bob Corker (R-TN) to reply, "You’ve been fleeced[.]"
Corker was not the only one. Senator James Risch (R-ID) said "With all due respect, you guys have been bamboozled and the American people are going to pay."


Kerry did have some defenders, though. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA):
“I support the right of my colleagues to say anything they want, but you’ve sat there and you’ve heard two of my colleagues go after you with words that I am going to repeat. You were fleeced, one said. The other said you have been bamboozled,” she said.
“So putting aside the fact that I think that’s disrespectful and insulting, it — that’s their right to do. There are other ways to express your disagreement, but that goes to the — your core as a human being and your intelligence, and I think you are highly intelligent.”
Boxer then added, “My colleagues think that you were fleeced, that you were bamboozled, that means everybody was fleeced and bamboozled, everybody, almost everybody in the world.”
That Barbara Boxer thinks you are "highly intelligent" is ... not much of an endorsement. When Kerry was in the Senate, Boxer might have been the only senator dumber than he was. Now that Kerry has become the Single Dumbest Senior Government Official since - at least - the horse the Emperor Caligula made Roman consul, Boxer now takes the top spot in the Senate.

Of course, Corker himself is a bit of an expert in getting fleeced:
Oh, Kerry got fleeced? Because I thought a bunch of dumbass, sell-out, go-along-to-get-along Republican Senators got fleeced by Obama and Kerry into approving this treaty before it was even finished.
So now we're in the "I just can't believe the outrageous things I already voted for" phase of the Failure Theater performance.
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