You are browsing the archive for Steinitz.

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: AIPAC, ISIS, and, Iran

7:15 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Honestly, it truly is tiresome exposing AIPAC’s undue influence over our elected critters, time after time…!

Let’s take a gander at the latest shenanigans…

Franks legislation authorizes military force against Iran

Recent talks between the West and Iran have created an important opportunity to resolve the Iran nuclear standoff. U.S. officials have expressed cautious optimism that a deal may be reached that protects U.S. interests. However, some in Washington seem determined to undermine the diplomatic process.

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) introduced legislation on October 15 that, among other things, would authorize the president of the United States to use military force against Iran. During the past several weeks, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has mentioned his plans to introduce a similar bill in the U.S. Senate. {…}

The headline of Franks’ own press release indicating his intention to introduce the bill read: “Franks Calls for Authorization of Military Force in Iran.”

In the section entitled “Support for United States Diplomatic Efforts,” the act specifies a number of preconditions on any agreement with Iran concerning its nuclear program.They include not only a virtual end to all Iranian nuclear activity, but also an insistence that Iran stop its support of terrorist groups, demonstrate a peaceful foreign policy, and recognize Israel’s sovereignty. Such preconditions, while praiseworthy objectives, are so stringent within the context of the current negotiations that they could severely diminish the chances of reaching a satisfactory diplomatic settlement with Iran on the nuclear issue.

It is so unhelpful for Iranian negotiations to advance, that…

Kerry, Lew to brief U.S. senators on Iran nuclear talks

Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will hold a briefing on Thursday on the status of nuclear talks with Iran for members of a U.S. Senate committee considering tough new sanctions on Tehran, Senate aides said on Friday.

President Barack Obama’s administration has been pushing the Senate Banking Committee to hold off on the new sanctions in order to give negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear program a chance.

Iran, Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany will meet November 7-8 in Geneva, after a round of talks there earlier this month.

Washington and its allies believe Tehran is developing the ability to make a nuclear weapon, but Tehran says the program is for generating power and medical devices.

The secret briefing for members of the banking panel with Kerry and Lew on the status of the talks with Iran will take place on Thursday at 4 p.m. (2000 GMT), according to a document obtained by Reuters.

The House of Representatives passed its version of a stiffer sanctions package in July by a 400-20 vote. The House bill seeks to slash Iran’s oil exports by another 1 million barrels a day a year.

The Senate bill could reduce the ability of the Obama administration to offer waivers to the sanctions. But the measure has not come to a vote in the banking committee, a prelude to its consideration by the full Senate. The two versions would then be reconciled before being sent to Obama for his signature.

It appeared on Friday that banking committee leaders, who had already put off consideration of the package from September, agreed to at least some further delay.

Interestingly…

Israel Intel Minister: Not pessimistic about Iran deal

Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said Tuesday that he believes Iran is “serious” about wanting to make a nuclear deal to save its economy. But he pressed for no let-up in economic pressure unless Iran agrees to terms for a deal that many US national security experts believe could preclude a diplomatic compromise.

“I think they are serious,” Steinitz, speaking to al-Monitor in an interview Tuesday, said of the Iranians. “They want an agreement.”

But the deal they are aiming for, he said, is a “North Korea-type,” under which Iran would freeze, rather than dismantle, major elements of its nuclear program, and offer “better inspections procedures.”

“Nuclear energy without enrichment is the only reasonable compromise,” he said.

Steinitz was in Washington leading an Israeli delegation attending two days of high-level talks with US counterparts as part of the US-Israel Strategic Dialogue. US Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns and Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman addressed the gathering Wednesday, the State Department said.

So…

U.S. negotiator in nuclear talks assures Iranians she’ll be fair

America’s chief negotiator with Iran promised in a broadcast intended for Iranians that she will be a “fair, balanced” participant in talks over Tehran’s nuclear program, despite her comment this month that “deception is part of the DNA” among Iranians.

Facing criticism from hard-line news media and some lawmakers in Iran, Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman said Friday in an interview with Voice of America’s Persian Service that her comments reflected American distrust of the Iranian government that has built up since the breach in relations after the Islamic Revolution of 1979. But she insisted that she and others in the administration respect Iranians and believe the talks offer a path for both sides to improve mutual understanding.

Asked what she meant by the statement, Sherman said, “I think it referred specifically to what our history of mistrust has been…. I think these nuclear negotiations will help us get over that mistrust.

Are you kidding…? So why on Earth is Albright and his ISIS pushing this absolute bovine manure…?

Iran may be one month from nuclear bomb

‘Shortening breakout times have implications for any negotiation with Iran,’ says new assessment by the U.S. Institute for Science and International Security.

Iran could build a nuclear bomb within as little as a month, a new report issued by the U.S. Institute for Science and International Security says.

According to the assessment, Iran’s weapons-grade uranium production capabilities are developed to a degree that its ‘breakout time’ – the time needed to convert enough uranium to weapon-grade so as to build a bomb – stands at between one and 1.6 months – and is shortening further.

“Shortening breakout times have implications for any negotiation with Iran,” states the report, adding that lengthening the breakout times should be a central concern of the current negotiations.

Such a goal could be achieved in a number of ways, the report says – all of which would involve a significant reduction in the number of centrifuges active at the Natanz and Fordo facilities.

And if that wasn’t enough scaremongering about Iran…

U.S. charges man with seeking to buy missiles for Iran

U.S. prosecutors brought criminal charges on Friday against a man they said had tried to acquire surface-to-air missiles that he planned to smuggle into Iran in a threat to U.S. national security.

Reza Olangian, a dual citizen of the United States and Iran, was charged with four counts, including trying to acquire and transfer anti-aircraft missiles, violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, and two conspiracy counts.

The defendant was arrested at an airport in Tallinn, Estonia, on October 10, 2012, and extradited to the United States on March 26, 2013, according to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in New York, who announced the charges.

And, finally, if you had any lingering doubts on AIPAC’s sway…

Senate Dems May Spurn Obama’s Call for Delay, Push Iran Sanctions

AIPAC Heavily Lobbying Congress to Continue Sanctions

…That’s not easy, as Congress imposes new sanctions on Iran every few weeks as a matter of course, and with Israel opposed to the negotiations AIPAC has been heavily lobbying Congress not to allow any delays, and to nip the diplomacy in the bud for Israel’s sake.

There are plenty of hawks who don’t need much convincing in Congress, and the Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee are scheduled to push those sanctions next week. Whether they will spurn Obama’s call for time remains to be seen, but in a lobbying battle between the White House and AIPAC, it’s hard to imagine that the Israel lobby doesn’t have the edge.

*gah*

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Rand Paul, the Peace Farce, and, Egypt

4:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Well, that was certainly quick…

Christie slams Paul as “dangerous”

Paul’s war with the neoconservative wing of the GOP explodes in the first volley of the 2016 campaign

…Speaking at a panel of GOP governors in Aspen, Colorado, Christie said the “strain of libertarianism that’s going through parties right now and making big headlines I think is a very dangerous thought.

Asked if he was specifically alluding to Paul, Christie responded, “You can name any number of people and he’s one of them.” He continued: “These esoteric, intellectual debates — I want them to come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the orphans [of the 9/11 attacks] and have that conversation. And they won’t, because that’s a much tougher conversation to have.”

Team Paul heard fighting words, and Doug Stafford, one of Paul’s closest advisers, told the New York Times’ Jonathan Martin, “If Governor Christie believes the constitutional rights and the privacy of all Americans is ‘esoteric,’ he either needs a new dictionary, or he needs to talk to more Americans, because a great number of them are concerned about the dramatic overreach of our government in recent years.” Stafford even invoked the lyrics of Christie’s beloved Bruce Springsteen in firing back.

It’s one of the first volleys of the 2016 GOP primary from two candidates who are widely expected to lead the pack, but it also underscores an apparent effort by some Republicans and conservatives with more muscular foreign policy views to disqualify Paul from the race before he even enters…

It is that singular ‘strain of Libertarianism’ that I subscribe to within either party…! However, on the Libertarian domestic policies, outside of the National Security apparatchik, I flatly reject their basic tenets…!

Now, ironically, at that very same Aspen confab that Christie had lashed out at Rand Paul…

Ex-US general: We pay a price for backing Israel

Slamming settlements, James Mattis, former commander of CentCom, tells crowd in Aspen that moderate Arabs are forced to hide support for America…

“I paid a military security price every day as the commander of CentCom because the Americans were seen as biased in support of Israel, and that moderates all the moderate Arabs who want to be with us, because they can’t come out publicly in support of people who don’t show respect for the Arab Palestinians,” he said Saturday at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado in response to a question about the peace process. {…}

He called the current situation in Israel “unsustainable” and blamed the settlements for harming prospects for peace. The chances for an accord between Israel and the Palestinians, said Mattis, “are starting to ebb because the settlements and where they’re at are going to make it impossible to maintain the two state solution.”

Mattis then described a hypothetical in which 500 Jewish settlers live among 10,000 Arabs, and the implications of where Israel draws the border. He called it a choice between giving up the idea of a Jewish state or becoming an apartheid state.

He then returned to the idea of the cost of lack of progress in peace talks, arguing that it “shortstops a lot of support for us because all politics are local… And I would just tell you that they can’t come out in support of us if we don’t see some progress where Secretary [of State John] Kerry is wisely focused like a laser beam right now.”

As the former CIA MENA bureau chief, Philip Giraldi wrote recently… Read the rest of this entry →