Lawmakers say Obama admin may violate U.S. law for Iran
by Adam Kredo • Washington Free Beacon
Leading foreign policy voices in Congress say they are preparing to fight against an Obama administration effort to provide Iran unprecedented access to U.S. financial resources as part of an expanded package meant to address new demands from the Islamic Republic’s for greater economic concessions, according to several conversations between the Washington Free Beacon and top lawmakers.
The Obama administration is currently exploring new options to grant Iran more sanctions relief than promised under the comprehensive nuclear agreement reached last year, just days after Iran’s Supreme Leader gave a speech accusing the United States of interfering with Iranian banking.
Top foreign policy voices in Congress told the Free Beacon in recent days that they are exploring a range of responses if the Obama administration goes through with reported plans to grant Iran further concessions beyond the purview of the nuclear deal, which dismantled key nuclear-related U.S. sanctions against Iran. At least part of this action could violate current U.S. laws, they said. Continue reading
Iran blames Jews for forcing Arab states to designate Hezbollah as terrorist group
by Adam Kredo • Washington Free Beacon
Iranian leaders publicly broke ranks this week with major Arab Gulf nations in a series of statements criticizing these regional powers for formally designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
The Gulf Cooperation Council, or GCC, a regional governing coalition comprised of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and Bahrain, announced last week that it is formally designating the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah a terrorist organization.
The GCC joins the United States, Israel, Canada, and a host of other nations in labeling Hezbollah a terrorist organization. These nations, including Saudi Arabia, have already taken steps to blacklist organizations and individuals associated with Hezbollah. Continue reading
Dozens of alleged refugees have entered Germany on fake Syrian passports, which were produced using technology similar to that used to forge documents for some of the perpetrators of the Paris attacks, the German Bild newspaper reported Tuesday, citing government sources.
Last week, two French citizens posing as refugees were arrested in Austria on suspicion of having links to the November 13 Paris terror attacks. The suspects, of Algerian and Pakistani descent, were allegedly using fake Syrian passports and are believed to have entered Austria with some of the Paris attackers in October. Individuals posing as refugees entered Germany using passports made by the same means as those found on the suspects arrested in Austria.
“They contain the same features of forgery,” one of the sources told the German media outlet.
Stolen genuine documents were so intricately altered by counterfeiters that the forgery was not detected immediately, meaning those who entered the country on fake passports have not yet been found, according to the newspaper. Continue reading
By Eli Lake & Josh Rogin • BloombergView
When the administration presented the agreement to Congress, lawmakers were told that new sanctions on Iran would violate the deal. Now the administration is trying to sidestep a recently passed provision to tighten rules on visas for those who have visited Iran.
Since the accord was struck last summer, the U.S. emphasis on complying with its end of the deal has publicly eclipsed its efforts to pressure Iran. In that time, Iranian authorities have detained two American dual nationals and sentenced a third on what most observers say are trumped up espionage charges. Iran’s military has conducted two missile tests, one of which the U.N. said violated sanctions, and engaged in a new offensive with Russia in Syria to shore up the country’s dictator, Bashar al-Assad. Continue reading
Obama admin promises new laws will not violate nuke deal
by Adam Kredo • Washington Free Beacon
Secretary of State John Kerry is working to reassure Iranian leaders that recent congressional efforts to tighten counter-terrorism measures will not harm Iranian interests, according to a letter sent by Kerry to Iran’s foreign minister.
The assurances come following efforts by Congress to tighten restrictions in the visa waiver program, which they claim has gaping loopholes that may enable suspected terrorists to legally enter the United States with few background checks.
Iranian leaders expressed anger over the move in recent days, prompting senior Obama administration officials to convey their own concerns to lawmakers. Continue reading
The Obama administration cannot be sure of the whereabouts of thousands of foreigners in the U.S. who had their visas revoked over terror concerns and other reasons, a State Department official acknowledged Thursday.
The admission, made at a House oversight hearing examining immigrant vetting in the wake of major terror attacks, drew a sharp rebuke from the committee chairman.
“You don’t have a clue do you?” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told Michele Thoren Bond, assistant secretary for the Bureau of Consular Affairs. Continue reading
by John Nolte • Breitbart
Once again, reality has intruded on President Obama’s divisive, his anti-science talking points. Just hours after the president used the term “widows and orphans” to taunt the GOP over their opposition to flooding America with Syrian refugees ISIS has promised to seed with terrorists, a female suicide bomber in Paris blew herself up as police closed in.
While overseas, no less, and as Democrat senators Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Chris Coons, all signaled a desire to pause the Syrian refuges process, Obama again proved that the only people he sees as America’s real enemies are members of the Republican Party:
“Apparently they are scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America,” Obama said of the GOP. “At first, they were too scared of the press being too tough on them in the debates. Now they are scared of three year old orphans. That doesn’t seem so tough to me.”
Just a few hours later in Paris:
A female terrorist wearing a suicide vest has blown herself up and another jihadi was killed by a grenade during a six-hour siege on a flat where police believe the Paris massacres mastermind and six other ISIS terrorists were hiding.
ISIS is Obama’s legacy.
Paris is Obama’s legacy.
Obama lost a won war in Iraq by abandoning that hard-won country, and ISIS fill the vacuum.
Obama pretended to be using “intelligent patience” as ISIS established and extended its caliphate state into Syria, which included the control and command and training centers that were likely behind the Paris operation.
And now Obama believes that screeching emotional blackmail in the form of suicidal political correctness is his real job.
The DC Media obviously got the White House talking points today, orders that demanded Republicans be accused of “playing into the hands of ISIS’ with their caution over these Syrian refugees.
Such good dogs.
By Nayla Rush • Center for Immigration Studies
I attended USCIS’s Asylum Division Quarterly Stakeholder Meeting last week. It was led by John Lafferty, chief of the Asylum Division. Those present were, for the most part, USCIS staff and immigration lawyers in charge of representing asylum seekers and refugees.
Here are a few things I learned:
The Asylum Division suffers from a high staff turnover. Loss of trained staff means recruiting and training others to do the job. It is also understaffed. Officers have a hard time meeting quotas set by the president.
In 2000, there were only 5,000 asylum cases and no backlog. There are now 120,000 cases, hence the backlog. Continue reading
The unemployment rate is down, gas prices and inflation are low, and the president notched some major accomplishments. But Obama remains a polarizing figure, and Americans are feeling insecure.
by George E. Condon Jr. • NationalJournal
By almost all traditional metrics, the White House should be celebrating his 2015 instead of offering the subdued and measured defense seen from President Obama at his end-of-the-year press conference. After all, the usual numbers are good—unemployment rate down, job creation up, inflation low, GDP up, gas prices declining. Only the stock market, which will end the year slightly down, is in negative territory.
To add to a bullish appraisal for the president’s agenda, the year saw him prevail on some of his top priorities—protecting Obamacare, achieving a nuclear deal with Iran, reaching an international climate agreement, and pushing through his rapprochement with Cuba. The president can also point to the lowest “Misery Index”—adding unemployment with inflation—since Harry Truman was president. The current 5.3 Misery Index would normally guarantee high approval. Continue reading
The refugee crisis exists because America has indulged foolish foreign policies. To get out of this mess will require wisdom, not more of the same.
by Luma Simms • The Federalist
I was neither born nor bred in this country. I don’t have Ivy League credentials. Unlike elitists and pundits informed as much by cocktail parties as they are by polls and studies, I’m informed by blood, kin, and culture.
I was born in Baghdad to Christian parents who emigrated the old-fashioned way—legally—and for an old-fashioned reason: The treatment of Christians, like my family, by Muslims in the surrounding culture.
I cry at the “Star Spangled Banner,” and I cry when my naturalized home wages war against my birth home. I am an American. I am also Iraqi, and a Moslawii down to my dialect and my cooking. Continue reading
By Patrick Goodenough • CNSNews.com
Since the Paris terror attacks on November 13, the State Department has admitted 132 Syrian refugees into the United States, and all 132 are Sunni Muslims.
No Christian, Druze, Shi’ite, Alawite, or member of any other religious minority in Syria has been admitted over that period, according to data from the State Department Refugee Processing Center.
The majority of the 132 Syrian refugees permitted to resettle in the U.S. since November 13 (72) are male, the minority female (60). Of the 132 total, 39 (29.5 percent) have been men between the ages of 14 and 50. Continue reading
by Mac Thornberry • RealClearPolitics
The ISIS attack on Paris has been a wake-up call for the world. A network of terrorists exploited weaknesses in Western intelligence networks, border controls, and law enforcement to savagely attack soft targets and inflict devastating casualties. To protect America, Congress has rightly acted on one of these weaknesses and strengthened the screening of Syrian refugees. Paris has more lessons to teach. Increased vetting of refugees is a good first step, but to stop an attack in the United States there are other lessons we must learn, and learn quickly.
First, there are many avenues by which ISIS operatives can come from their training grounds across the globe, including Iraq and Syria, to carry out attacks against the West. Approximately, 30,000 individuals have traveled from other countries to join ISIS, with as many as 5,000 of them from Europe and the United States. Those from Europe do not need a visa to enter the United States, and our northern and southern borders may be a route fighters use to enter the United States. Continue reading
by Charles C. W. Cooke • National Review
In the last days, obviously, that has been particularly put to the test. There’s something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that. There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of – not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, okay, they’re really angry because of this and that. This Friday was absolutely indiscriminate. It wasn’t to aggrieve one particular sense of wrong. It was to terrorize people. It was to attack everything that we do stand for. That’s not an exaggeration. It was to assault all sense of nationhood and nation-state and rule of law and decency, dignity, and just put fear into the community and say, “Here we are.” And for what? What’s the platform? What’s the grievance? That we’re not who they are? They kill people because of who they are and they kill people because of what they believe. And it’s indiscriminate.
When I first saw the key line here — “there was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of – not a legitimacy, but a rationale” — I thought that Kerry had likely been misquoted. Alas, he had not. In fact, his words are even worse in context.
There really is no way of reading these comments other than as a craven ranking of outrages. Forget Kerry’s brief flirtation with the word “legitimacy” and assume that he said “rationale” from the start. That changes precisely nothing. The top diplomat in the United States just publicly argued that because the victims at Charlie Hebdo had spoken risqué words but the victims at the Bataclan had not, the violence against the former was more comprehensible than the violence against the latter. Has he lost his mind?
Even if Kerry’s assumptions were all correct, the moral problem here would be obvious. We hear a great deal about “blaming the victim” in our domestic debates, especially as it relates to sexual assault. Does this not apply to other realms? In essence, the American Secretary of State just announced before the world that he could grasp why the woman in the short skirt was raped but that he had been left scratching his head by the attack on the woman in the pantsuit and the overcoat. “Sure,” he said, “I get why they knocked off the hate speakers, but why would they go after progressive kids at a concert? Now things are really serious.”
In and of itself, this assessment is abhorrent. But he also screwed up the facts. Implicit in Kerry’s reasoning is the assumption that the perpetrators of the attacks against Charlie Hebdo had a clear purpose whereas the perpetrators of last week’s abomination did not. Or, as he put it, that in one case the killers were “really angry because of this and that,” but that in the other they were not. But this isn’t true. In fact, both set of attackers gave reasons. With Charlie Hebdo, the killers’ purported motive was revenge against ”blasphemous” expression; in Paris last week, it was disgust at Paris’s reputation for “obscenity.” In consequence, there are only two choices here: Option 1) That John Kerry believes that killing people for speaking rudely is more understandable than killing them for being secular; or Option 2) That John Kerry doesn’t actually know what the most recent attackers used as their justification (and also doesn’t remember that at the same time as the Charlie Hebdo assassinations, associated gunmen targeted a market simply because its owners were Jews).
by Michael Goodwin • New York Post
That eternal truth is so obvious that it should not need to be said. Yet even after the horrific slaughter in Paris, there remains a distressing doubt about whether America’s commander in chief gets it.
President Obama has spent the last seven years trying to avoid the world as it is. He has put his intellect and rhetorical skills into the dishonorable service of assigning blame and fudging failure. If nuances were bombs, the Islamic State would have been destroyed years ago. Continue reading
by Josh Gelernter • National Review
Since the Paris attacks last week, a lot has been made of the Muslim world’s overwhelming disapproval of terrorism. Let me toss in my two cents:
There are 3,500 Muslims in the U.S. military. Muslims have fought for our side in all of America’s major wars. There are decorated Muslim soldiers buried in Arlington.
There are Muslims in the Israel Defense Forces — all of them volunteers. An Israeli Muslim officer, Major Fehd Fallah, says he became a Zionist after visiting the death camps in Poland as a teenager. Now in his 30s, he is described by an Israeli colonel as “one of the best officers in the IDF.” Continue reading