Thursday, April 7, 2016

We're Being Too Nice to Iran - Elise Cooper

by Elise Cooper

"America should not sit by passively as Iran talks about destroying an American ally."

President Obama concluded the nuclear deal with Iran, hoping to change the regime's behavior.  Yet the Iranians have put a $7,000 bounty on a Jewish person's head, have tested two ballistic missiles with the words "death to Israel," and have supported Palestinian terrorist acts.  American Thinker interviewed Middle East experts about the dangers of Iran.

Former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren still warns of the dangers posed by Iran.  He understands that the U.S. is not willing to rip up its deal, but he is hopeful that the Americans will hold Iran to "the treaty and norms of acceptable behavior.  Let's remember that they are talking about wiping a member state, and an American ally, off the map.  There should be repercussions for that.  America should not sit by passively as Iran talks about destroying an American ally."

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) agrees and has co-authored a letter to the president.  In it he calls for making sure Israel's security needs are satisfied.  This includes funding a cooperative missile defense program and continuing the existing aid programs over the next decade.  Graham directly commented to American Thinker, "I think our president is delusional when it comes to Iran.  This is a radical revolutionary power with the ayatollah, a religious theocrat who believes there is no place for the state of Israel.  In the 1930s, people thought what Hitler really wanted was only more land for the German people.  They did not realize he wanted to kill all the Jews and create a Master Race.  At least Neville Chamberlain could say Hitler lied; the Iranians are not lying to us."

Senator Graham believes that President Obama will not take any action against Iran because he does not want to jeopardize the deal.  But it has now gone beyond that, considering that this administration is breaking its promise by allowing Iranian business entities to conduct financial transactions in U.S. dollars.  The administration is basically allowing Iran to open bank accounts with U.S. banks and to have access to the U.S. banking sector.

The senator is not ruling out sanctions against Iran's missile program and provocative behavior.  Yet he is not optimistic as long as Obama is president, noting, "The next president must take off the table allowing American banks to help finance any company that does business with Iran.  Any new sanctions cannot have the same waiver provisions as today, because the current president will waive them."

Dennis Ross, the recent author of the book Doomed to Succeed, also argues for sanctions.  He has been a direct participant in shaping U.S. policy toward the Middle East, and Israel specifically, for nearly thirty years, participating in two Republican and two Democratic administrations.  He thinks sanctions can work because the price of oil is down and Iranian needs are massive.  For him, "any sanctions imposed can have a chilling effect, especially in the business sector.  A message will be sent to banks that before doing business with Iran think twice; it could be costly.  They have not changed who they are and did this deal as a transaction, not a transformation."

He advises the next president to "publicly focus on all Iran's executions and human rights violations.  We should be competing with them in the propaganda world by reminding everyone who they are: a terrorist regime."

Elliott Abrams, former Middle East adviser to President George W. Bush, warns that Hillary Clinton might not be as supportive of Israel as reflected in her recent words, considering she still supports the Iranian nuclear deal.  He also points out that as secretary of state, she basically threw out the Bush/Sharon deal regarding settlements and has said nothing about the Obama administration's references as "illegitimate settlements."

All interviewed agree that the Palestinian problem is linked with Iran, especially since they see as most disturbing the Iranian willingness to pay Palestinians for killing Jews.  The experts told American Thinker that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog, who believe in a two-state solution, have the right strategy.  According to Abrams, "separation is the right idea for Israel to maintain its Jewish statehood; otherwise, it becomes a binational state.  The problem is, you can't get there until Israel's security is assured."

President Obama cannot be trusted where Israel's security is concerned.  Supporters of Israel wonder if he will veto France's proposal to bring the Israel-Palestinian conflict to the United Nations.  Ambassador Oren believes that "the way you bring the Palestinians to come to the table and keep them there is by convincing them there is no daylight between the U.S. and Israel's views.  As I said over and over in my book Ally, the notion of putting daylight between Israel and the U.S. to get Palestinian cooperation has been disproven again and again.  The U.N. resolution is a big disaster and will have exactly the opposite effect.  Unfortunately, I do not have the utmost confidence the U.S. will veto it."

Presidential candidates have recently brought to the public's attention how terrorists are glorified in Palestinian textbooks, as well as the naming of schools, stadiums, and streets after them.  Oren points out, "Palestinians also use funds to pay terrorists' families, which is a big problem.  It is a fair statement to say that funding should be cut or eliminated if they do not stop the symbolic rhetoric and actions.  Remember: this is part of where American taxpayers' money goes."

All feel that the next president should do his or her best to restore confidence and credibility with Israel and other American allies in the Middle East.  As Abrams noted, "since the Iranian deal seven months ago, Iran's behavior is not getting any better, but is actually getting worse."  He makes a good point, considering they have embarrassed the American military over the incident with detaining U.S. sailors, test-fired ballistic missiles, are willing to pay Palestinians for killing Jews, and have attempted to spread their influence in Syria, Yemen, and Libya. 

As Iran spreads its power, President Obama through his actions and rhetoric has eroded American credibility throughout the region.  First he makes a deal with the Iranians over the nuclear program that did not establish ties with the nation's behavior or rhetoric.  Yet just the other day, the president stated, "Iran so far has followed the letter of the agreement, but the spirit of the agreement involves Iran also sending signals to the world community and businesses that it is not going to be engaging in a range of provocative actions that are going to scare businesses off." 

American Thinker's Rick Moran summarized it best: "I'm trying to decide what's more jaw-dropping: Obama thinking Iran is interested in adhering to the 'spirit' of the treaty or that the president actually believed the Iranians ever intended to adhere to it." 

The author writes for American Thinker.  She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.

Elise Cooper


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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