Thursday, October 2, 2014

Arnold Ahlert: State Dept. Rejects Netanyahu’s Mideast Diagnosis

by Arnold Ahlert


In yet another tragic indication of Obama administration’s ideological obstinance, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki indicated that Israel and the United States are not on the same page regarding the scope of Islamic terror.

The rift centers around Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech at the U.N. on Monday, during which he insisted that terrorist groups such as ISIS, Hamas, the Iranian regime, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda and Boko Haram share the same vision. “Some are radical Sunnis, some are radical Shi’ites,” he explained.

Some want to restore a pre-medieval caliphate from the 7th century. Others want to trigger the apocalyptic return of an imam from the 9th century. They operate in different lands, they target different victims and they even kill each other in their quest for supremacy. But they all share a fanatic ideology. They all seek to create ever expanding enclaves of militant Islam where there is no freedom and no tolerance, where women are treated as chattel, Christians are decimated, and minorities are subjugated, sometimes given the stark choice: convert or die. For them, anyone can be an infidel, including fellow Muslims.
Such a no-holds-barred assessment of the threat was too much for the White House. When Psaki was asked if they agreed with Netanyahu’s argument, her answer was distressingly clear. “We would not agree with that characterization, no,” she replied. Pressed on Netanyahu’s contention that ISIS and Hamas are cut from the same cloth, Psaki once again balked. She conceded that both groups are U.S.-designated terrorist organizations, but insisted that ISIS “poses a different threat to Western interests and to the United States. And that’s just a fact.”

She continued. “We don’t believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu or anyone else from Israel is suggesting that the United States launch a military campaign against Hamas, so we certainly – they are both designated terrorist organizations under the United States designations, but certainly we see differences in terms of the threat and otherwise,” she added.

Little wonder. In a press briefing last June, Psaki was engaged in an Orwellian effort to defend the administration’s support for the newly formed Fatah-Hamas unity government. Psaki admitted that Hamas was responsible for launching attacks against Israel, but insisted the U.S. would continue supporting the new entity because “we made a decision as the United States Government that our assistance to the Palestinian Authority is important to the United States.”  Psaki also made it clear that such a schizophrenic stance was possible because PLO President Mahmoud Abbas “demanded that all the Palestinian factions remain committed to the ceasefire agreement that was signed in Cairo in 2012, and we expect the Palestinian Authority will do everything in its power to prevent attacks into Gaza – from Gaza into Israel.” One sentence later a bit of belated reality intruded. “But we acknowledge the reality that Hamas currently controls Gaza,” she said.

Netanyahu emphasized the absurdity of such myopia. “As Hamas’s charter makes clear, Hamas’s immediate goal is to destroy Israel,” he contended.
But Hamas has a broader objective. They also want a caliphate. Hamas shares the global ambitions of its fellow militant Islamists. That’s why its supporters wildly cheered in the streets of Gaza as thousands of Americans were murdered on 9/11. And that’s why its leaders condemned the United States for killing Osama Bin Laden, whom they praised as a holy warrior. So when it comes to their ultimate goals, Hamas is ISIS and ISIS is Hamas.
No doubt the administration was equally uncomfortable with Netanyahu’s comparison of militant Islam with Nazism because it once again revealed the wider scope of the threat. But his analogy was spot on. “The Nazis believed in a master race,” he said. “The militant Islamists believe in a master faith.”

Netanyahu also stated who he believed would be in the best position to be the master of the master faith. “For 35 years, Iran has relentlessly pursued the global mission which was set forth by its founding ruler, Ayatollah Khomeini, in these words: We will export our revolution to the entire world. until the cry ‘There is no God but Allah’ will echo throughout the world over… And ever since, the regime’s brutal enforcers, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, have done exactly that,” he explained.

He warned the world not to be fooled by “Iran’s manipulative charm offensive. It’s designed for one purpose, and for one purpose only: To lift the sanctions and remove the obstacles to Iran’s path to the bomb.”

Unfortunately, it’s a charm offensive that appears to be working. Despite a report earlier this month by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) noting that Iran had failed to provide necessary information on agreed-upon work plans related to the possible military dimension of their nuclear program, a participant in the negotiations told the New York Times there is a”sense of desperation about coming up with ways to break the logjams, on the nuclear talks and the larger relationship.” The source also warned that “if we don’t figure this out in the next few months, it is not clear the opportunity is going to come again.” Toward that end, P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) negotiators are no longer demanding that Iran dismantle most of its 19,000 centrifuges. Instead they can simply disconnect the pipes that connect them.
Those would be the 19,000 centrifuges Iran has constructed over two decades, including the last 11 years of fruitless negotiations aimed at stopping the process.

Unlike the Obama administration and their equally impotent partners, Netanyahu knows exactly such fruitlessness will lead. “Once Iran produces atomic bombs, all the charm and all the smiles will suddenly disappear,” he explains. “They’ll just vanish. It’s then that the ayatollahs will show their true face and unleash their aggressive fanaticism on the entire world. There is only one responsible course of action to address this threat: Iran’s nuclear military capabilities must be fully dismantled. Make no mistake – ISIS must be defeated. But to defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power is to win the battle and lose the war.”

What war? Psaki completely rejected Netanyahu’s characterization of Iran, insisting the Obama administration’s aim is to bring the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism into the international community, providing they can demonstrate their nuclear program is peaceful. “I can assure anyone that an agreement reached would not be based on a charm offensive or how that impacts us, but on the facts and the details,” she said. “And we’re not going to agree to a comprehensive agreement that doesn’t meet our standards and meet our threshold.”

As noted above, a threshold reduced to negotiations about plumbing is a threshold evolving decidedly in Iran’s favor.

The Obama administration also took pains to distance itself from Netanyahu’s characterization of the UN Human Rights Council as a “terrorist rights council” and an “oxymoron.” Yet Netanyahu’s description was again right on the mark. “We live in a world steeped in tyranny and terror, where gays are hanged from cranes in Tehran, political prisoners are executed in Gaza, young girls are abducted en masse in Nigeria and hundreds of thousands are butchered in Syria, Libya and Iraq,” he stated. “Yet nearly half, nearly half of the UN Human Rights Council’s resolutions focusing on a single country have been directed against Israel, the one true democracy in the Middle East.”
Once again Psaki reflected the Obama administration’s determination to deny uncomfortable reality. “We have obviously voiced concerns when we have them about actions that are taken, but no, we would certainly not agree with that characterization,” she stated. “We don’t see the need for heated rhetoric. But obviously there are times when we certainly agree, and we’ve expressed concerns in the past as well about the same organization and how they operate.”

Thus the Obama administration remains determined to maintain the rift between America and the Jewish State. Psaki’s latest statements are little more than an extension of Obama’s own speech at the U.N. last week. The president went off-script from printed remarks made available to reporters and claimed there were “too many Israelis ready to abandon the hard work of peace,” without even mentioning the Palestinian’s role in the latest conflict. Even more remarkably, he attempt to find moral equivalence between “rockets fired at innocent Israelis” and “Palestinian children taken from us in Gaza.” Netanyahu seemingly addressed this slander in the opening paragraph of his speech when he stated that one of the reasons he came to speak was “to expose the brazen lies spoken from this very podium against my country and against the brave soldiers who defend it.”

Unfortunately for Netanyahu and Americans as well, brazen lying is part of this administration’s DNA. That has been made clearer than ever following the president’s “60 Minutes” interview during which he sought to blame anyone but himself for the “unanticipated” rise of ISIS. The blowback has been precipitous. A Government Accountability Institute (GAI) report reveals Obama has missed nearly 58 percent of his daily intel briefs during his second term; the Washington Free Beacon reports he was repeatedly warned about the consequences of prematurely withdrawing from Iraq; and the Daily Mail cites an “administration insider” who says Obama had accurate intel about ISIS prior to the 2012 election.

Expect this pattern of revelations to continue, as it becomes ever more apparent that Obama’s penchant for throwing people under the bus will elicit return fire. In the meantime, the administration’s fantasy or winning a war from the air, while awaiting Arab “boots on the ground” that will never come, or arrive too late, produces tangibly deadly results. ISIS is closing in on the Kurdish city of Kobani near the Turkish border, they are only a mile from Baghdad, and they have reportedly rekindled an alliance with Jabhat al-Nusra, Syria’s largest al-Qaeda group.

Yet it is Benjamin Netanyahu’s assessment of militant Islam’s scope that is the problem? Breathtaking.

Arnold Ahlert is a former NY Post op-ed columnist currently contributing to, and He may be reached at


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