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Tag Archives: Diplomacy


Intel Chief Breaks From Obama Narrative On Iran Deal

By Russ Read     •     The Daily Caller

In this Oct. 29,2013 file photo, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. Clapper is declassifying more documents that show how the National Security Agency was first authorized to start collecting bulk phone and Internet records in the hunt for al-Qaida terrorists. Clapper explains in a statement on Dec. 21 that President George W. Bush first authorized the spying as part of the Terrorist Surveillance Program, just after the Sept. 11 attacks. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File)

The head of U.S. intelligence believes that Iran’s recent actions speak loudly to its intentions, particularly given the country’s recent provocations since the Iran nuclear deal came into effect.

Testifying to the Senate Committee on Armed Services Tuesday, director of national intelligence James Clapper gave a very somber description of what he sees as Iran’s intentions toward the U.S. now that last summer’s nuclear deal has commenced. In particular, his statements offered little assurance that Iran is acting as an honest actor with the U.S. and the other states involved in last year’s negotiations, or that the nuclear deal will stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

“Iran probably views JCPOA [Iran deal] as a means to remove sanctions while preserving nuclear capabilities, as well as the option to eventually expand its nuclear infrastructure,” said Clapper, who also noted that, so far, he sees no evidence that Iran is violating the nuclear deal. Continue reading


Saudi-Iran crisis a rebuke for US policy

By Dave Clark and Nicolas Revise     •     Yahoo

Washington’s single-minded pursuit of the Iran nuclear deal damaged its alliance with Saudi Arabia, experts say, and fed the escalating crisis in the Gulf.

The United States failed to manage its traditional Sunni Arab allies in the region while it reached out to mend ties with their bitter Shiite foes in Tehran.

As a result, experts warn, Washington has suffered a loss of influence at a time when it needs to implement the nuclear accord and work with both Tehran and Riyadh to end the Syrian war.

“I think the administration has had a one-eyed policy on this,” Salman Shaikh, founder and CEO of regional consultancy the Shaikh Group, told AFP. Continue reading


How 7 years of Obama brought the world from Kumbaya to chaos

by New York Post

obama_31Just three years ago, President Obama famously ridiculed GOP opponent Mitt Romney’s statement that Russia remained America’s main geopolitical foe by taunting: “The 1980s are calling to ask for their foreign policy back.”

Four years before that, Obama stood at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate to declare that once he became president, all people would join him around a global campfire, hold hands and put an end to the world’s evils and miseries.

Well, seven years into Obama’s presidency, the promised worldwide Kumbaya is instead global chaos — caused in large measure by his willful retreat from America’s position of leadership. Continue reading


On Syria, Obama Plays Tiddlywinks, Putin Plays Chess

by Investor’s Business Daily

ObamaPutin copyThe White House was “surprised” by a new intelligence-sharing pact among Iran, Syria, Russia and Iraq to fight the Islamic State. But given their own actions, anyone else could have seen it coming.

For the Obama administration, there’s always a surprise when it comes to the Middle East. Having pulled out of Iraq before Iraq was ready, they were taken unawares by the Islamic State’s rise. Now Russia’s strategic moves to be the big dog on the block in the Mideast have thrown them for another loop.

Russia has forged an alliance with Syria, Iran and Iraq to share intelligence to destroy the Islamic State — without inviting the U.S. The pact has a powerful moral rationale, given the monstrosity of the enemy and the U.S. lack of will to fight. But it also will permanently extend Russian power in the region, something that Russia had under the USSR but that is also a longstanding imperial ambition dating back to the days of Vlad the Great. Continue reading


Putin dares, Obama dithers

The danger of Russia’s intervention in Syria, and America’s timidity in Afghanistan

Economist

ObamaPutin copyTo hear Vladimir Putin, Russia has become the leader of a new global war on terrorism. By contrast Barack Obama seems wearier by the day with the wars in the Muslim world that America has been fighting for more than a decade. On September 30th Russian jets went into action to support Bashar al-Assad’s beleaguered troops. It is setting up an intelligence-sharing network with Iraq and Iran. The Russian Orthodox church talks of holy war. Mr Putin’s claim to be fighting Islamic State (IS) is questionable at best. The evidence of Russia’s first day of bombing is that it attacked other Sunni rebels, including some supported by America. Even if this is little more than political theatre, Russia is making its biggest move in the Middle East, hitherto America’s domain, since the Soviet Union was evicted in the 1970s.

In Afghanistan, meanwhile, America’s campaign against the Taliban has suffered a blow. On September 28th Taliban rebels captured the northern town of Kunduz—the first provincial capital to fall to them since they were evicted from power in 2001. Afghan troops retook the centre three days later. But even if they establish full control, the attack was a humiliation. Continue reading


U.S. enforcement of Iran arms embargo slipped during nuclear talks

by Yeganeh Torbati     •     Reuters

Iran Nuclear WeaponsAddressing concerns that a landmark nuclear deal reached this year could boost Iran’s military power, the Obama administration reassured critics that it would maintain and enforce its remaining tough sanctions against the country.

Yet the U.S. government has pursued far fewer violations of a long-standing arms embargo against Iran in the past year compared to recent years, according to a review of court records and interviews with two senior officials involved in sanctions enforcement.

The sharp fall in new prosecutions did not reflect fewer attempts by Iran to break the embargo, the officials said. Rather, uncertainty among prosecutors and agents on how the terms of the deal would affect cases made them reluctant to commit already scarce resources with the same vigor as in previous years, the officials said. Continue reading


Obama’s Foreign Policy Consistently Finds the Wrong Balance and Misses the Mark

by George Landrith     •     Human Events

obama profile smileA good football coach knows that on third down and inches, a quarterback sneak might be the best play. Conversely, on third down and 25, his team will likely throw a long pass. The right play for one situation isn’t necessarily right in every situation.

Likewise, an effective U.S. President knows when to intervene and project strength and when to keep a low profile. Obama’s problem is that when he should show strength and resolve, he is passive and weak. And when he should show restraint and patience, he needlessly inserts himself and seeks to impose his will. Simply stated, given the circumstances, he calls the wrong play. Obama’s miscues are endangering the future of South Sudan.

South Sudan is the world’s youngest nation. In 2011, after decades of conflict and civil war, South Sudan was carved out of Sudan along cultural and geographical lines. But the new nation has had growing pains and conflict as it establishes itself as a new democracy. These difficulties have been made worse by Obama’s interference. Continue reading


The Democrats Now Own Iran. They’ll Soon Wish They Didn’t

by Jonathan S. Tobin     •     Commentary Magazine

Obama IranThis morning, President Obama got what he’s been working toward all year. With Senator Barbara Mikulski’s announcement that she will vote to support the Iran nuclear deal, the administration got its 34th vote in the Senate, thus assuring that the president will have enough support to sustain a veto of a resolution of disapproval of the pact. Mikulski was just the latest of a number of Senate Democrats to throw in with the president on Iran. The only suspense now is whether Obama will get to 41 and thus have enough for a filibuster and prevent a vote on the deal from even taking place. Leaving aside the terrible damage the deal does to U.S. security and the stability of the Middle East, the most far-reaching effect of the deal is that from now on Democrats own Iran. From this moment forward, every act of Iranian-sponsored terrorism, every instance of Iranian aggression and adventurism as well as the Islamist regime’s inevitable march to a nuclear weapon can be laid at the feet of a Democratic Party. With a few exceptions, the Democrats fell meekly behind a president determined to prioritize détente with Iran over the alliance with Israel and the need to defend U.S. interests. By smashing the bipartisan consensus that had existed on Iran up until this year, the Democrats have, in effect, become the hostages of the ayatollahs. This is a decision that will haunt them in the years to come.

In analyzing the struggle that was ultimately won by Obama, it must first be acknowledged that the outcome was determined primarily by a mismatch in terms of the relative power of the two sides. Continue reading


Iran devils get their deal

by New York Daily News

Obama 102The die is cast. President Obama will ram his Iranian nuclear deal through Congress despite majority opposition in both the House and Senate. Now what? Now worry. Worry a lot.

The President on Wednesday secured a 34th supporter in the Senate, enough for him to veto disapproval without fear of an override, and he began pushing for additional votes that would enable supporters to let the pact stand without a roll call.

Although the fight is lost, the Senate owes the people an up-or-down vote on one of the most consequential foreign policy agreements in decades.

Obama says he has boxed the Iranians so tightly that they have no chance of expanding a greatly reduced nuclear program in the short run, and that he or a future President could “snap back” economic sanctions should the Iranians go rogue. Thus, he argues, America will be better positioned to curb Iran for the 15-year life of the pact. Continue reading


On Iran, Obama won the fight but lost the argument

By Washington Examiner

Obama Iran Nuke DealWith the Senate lacking the two-thirds majority it would need to stop him, President Obama will succeed in implementing his nuclear deal with Iran. At this point, barring a miracle, Obama has outmaneuvered the Congress and won that fight.

He has also lost the argument.

For all the millions of dollars they promised to spend influencing public opinion, his allies failed to put a dent in the overwhelming opposition among the American public. The demeaning videos they trotted out featuring vapid celebrities failed to convince the undecided to embrace this deal. Nor could they assuage the glaring problems in its terms for those following closely enough to feel confident expressing an opinion. Continue reading


Spitting on the Constitution to pass the Iran deal

By John Podhoretz      •      New York Post

Smug-ObamaIt’s rare for people to celebrate getting 41 percent of anything. If you score 41 percent on a test, you get an F. If you win 41 percent of the vote in a two-person race, you lose. If your tax rate is 41 percent, you’re likely to feel ripped off.

In the matter of his Iran deal, President Obama and his team have spent two months working relentlessly to secure 41 percent — and now they’re claiming an enormous victory even though by any other standards what they’ve achieved is nothing but a feat of unconstitutional trickery.

They worked throughout the summer to browbeat Senate Democrats so they could get 41 of them to say they would support the Iran nuclear deal. They’re up to 42 now — that’s a mere 42 percent of the Senate. Continue reading


Mr. Putin makes moves in Syria, exploiting America’s inaction

By Editorial Board      •     Washington Post

Vladimir-Putin-006In July, President Obama said he had been “encouraged” by a telephone call Russian President Vladi­mir Putin had initiated to discuss Syria. The Russians, Mr. Obama confidently declared, “get a sense that the Assad regime is losing a grip over greater and greater swaths of territory” and “that offers us an opportunity to have a serious conversation with them.” Not for the first time, Mr. Obama was supposing that Mr. Putin could be enlisted in a diplomatic settlement to the Syrian civil war along lines Washington and its Arab allies support. Not for the first time, the president appears to have badly misread the Russian ruler.

Far from abandoning its support for the Assad regime, Moscow appears to be doubling down. According to numerous reports, Russia is establishing a base at an airfield near an Assad stronghold on the Mediterranean coast and has filed military overflight requests with neighboring countries. Analysts believe Russia may be preparing to deploy 1,000 or more military personnel to Syria and to carry out air operations in support of Assad forces. Syrian rebels already have reported seeing Russian aircraft over territory they control. Continue reading


Obama’s Iran Deal Is Still Far from Settled

The review process under the Corker law never began — by the law’s own terms.

By Andrew C. McCarthy

Obama Writing Projecting WeaknessTo undermine President Obama’s atrocious Iran deal despite the Republican-controlled Congress’s irresponsible Corker legislation, it will be necessary to follow, of all things, the Corker legislation.

On Wednesday, Barbara Mikulski became the 34th Senate Democrat to announce support for the deal, which lends aid and comfort to a regime that continues to call for “Death to America.” Under the Corker Roadmap to Catastrophe, Mikulski’s assent ostensibly puts President Obama over the top. After all, the legislation sponsored by Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) and other Beltway GOP leaders reverses the Constitution’s presumptions against international agreements that harm national security. In essence, Corker requires dissenters from the Iran pact to round up a two-thirds supermajority opposition in both congressional chambers (67 senators and 290 House members). If the Constitution were followed, the burden would be on the president to convince either 67 senators to support a treaty, or majorities of both chambers to make the pact legally binding through ordinary legislation. Continue reading


Pew: Just 21 Percent Support Iran Deal

A 12-point drop in support since July.

by Michael Warren     •     Weekly Standard

A new Pew poll finds shrinking support among the American people for the nuclear deal with Iran. The poll found 49 percent are opposed to the deal, with 21 percent in support and 30 percent who say they don’t know.

That’s a 12-point drop in support for the deal from Pew’s poll two months ago, which found 33 percent supported the deal and 45 percent oppose it. Here’s more from Pew:

While the partisan divide over the nuclear agreement remains substantial, support for the deal has slipped across the board since July. Currently, 42% of Democrats approve of the agreement, while 29% disapprove and an identical percentage has no opinion. In July, 50% of Democrats approved, 27% disapproved and 22% had no opinion. Continue reading


79 Percent of Voters Worried About Iran Nuclear Inspections

Majority of Republicans, Democrats concerned about poor access to Tehran’s military sites

by Morgan Chalfant     •     Washington Free Beacon

A majority of voters from both parties are concerned about aspects of the Iran nuclear deal governing inspections of Tehran’s nuclear facilities, according to a survey released Tuesday by the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation.

Participants in the national “Citizen Cabinet” survey were presented with a description of the dispute regarding Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program and the principal components of the deal finalized in Vienna on July 14. They were then briefed on critiques of the agreement and subsequent rebuttals to those critiques.

Those surveyed were polled on the degree to which they found these criticisms or rebuttals convincing. Continue reading


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