Archive for June 23, 2018

Pompeo: Iran will face ‘wrath of entire world’ if it pursues nuclear weapons 

June 23, 2018

Source: Pompeo: Iran will face ‘wrath of entire world’ if it pursues nuclear weapons | The Times of Israel

US secretary of state says no matter what becomes of 2015 deal, which the US quit last month, Tehran had better not ramp up nuke program

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talks to reporters about North Korea during the daily press briefing in the Brady press briefing room at the White House, in Washington, June 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talks to reporters about North Korea during the daily press briefing in the Brady press briefing room at the White House, in Washington, June 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he hoped the US would never have to take military action against Iran, but warned that should Tehran pursue the acquisition of nuclear weapons, it would stand to face the “wrath of the entire world.”

Speaking during an interview with MSNBC broadcast on Saturday, Pompeo said that no matter the fate of the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal — which the US pulled out of last month, angering Tehran and America’s European allies and signatories to the agreement — it would not be in Iran’s interest to develop nuclear arms.

“I hope they understand that if they begin to ramp up their nuclear program, the wrath of the entire world will fall upon them,” he said, during the wide-ranging interview which focused heavily on Washington’s recent outreach to North Korea, and ongoing talks on Pyongyang’s denuclearization.

“When I say wrath, don’t confuse that with military action. When I say wrath, I mean the moral opprobrium and economic power that fell upon them. That’s what I’m speaking to. I’m not talking to military action here. I truly hope that that’s never the case. It’s not in anyone’s best interests for that,” he added.

Pompeo said that US President Donald Trump has been “very clear” on Iran. “Iran will not get a nuclear weapon nor start its weapons program on this President’s watch,” he said, according to a transcript of the interviewmade available by the US State Department.

Trump’s announcement on May 8 that Washington was withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal was a fulfillment of a campaign promise made by the then-candidate to scrap the deal. The US president had often blasted the controversial agreement forged under his predecessor, President Barack Obama, casting it as “defective” and unable to rein in Iranian behavior or halt the Islamic Republic’s quest to develop nuclear weapons. Trump said the 2015 agreement, which included Germany, France, Russia, China, and Britain, was a “horrible one-sided deal that should never ever have been made.”

European allies Germany, France, and Britain had urged Trump to remain part of the deal and said they would stick by the agreement regardless.

In his Saturday interview, Pompeo rebuffed the suggestion that America had “separated from our allies on this issue of Iran,” and suggested that although allies may have disagreed with Washington’s move to withdraw from the accord, they understand the wider threat posed by Iran

“When I talk to my Arab friends, the Israelis, all of those in the region, they are right alongside us. And even when I speak to the Europeans, with whom we have a difference about the JCPOA [the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the deal is formally called] they too understand the threat that Iran presents, whether it’s malign activity with [Lebanese terror group] Hezbollah or in Yemen or in Syria or in Iraq, or its missile program that is launching missiles into airports that Westerners travel through,” he said.

“There is a unified understanding of Iran’s malevolent behavior, and it will be an incredibly united world should Iran choose to head down a nuclear weapons path,” he added.

While the fate of the JCPOA is not yet clear as Iran has said it will remain in the deal but could resume nuclear activity if need be, Pompeo said that “if they began to move towards a weapons program, this would be something the entire world would find unacceptable, and we’d end up down a path that I don’t think this is the best interest of Iran, other actors in the Middle East, or indeed the world.”

German leader urges solutions to Iran’s ‘aggressive tendencies’ 

June 23, 2018

Source: German leader urges solutions to Iran’s ‘aggressive tendencies’ – Israel Hayom

( Merklel has already ruined Europe with her open immigration policies,  I am completely unmoved by her “crocodile tears” about Iran. – JW )

 

Counting down to Donald Trump’s complete betrayal of Israel on Iran – Haaretz.com

June 23, 2018

Source: Counting down to Donald Trump’s complete betrayal of Israel on Iran – Israel News – Haaretz.com

( Haaretz is a heavy leftist newspaper.  Like most of the MSM they can’t stop gnashing their teeth at every success either Trump or Netanyahu achieve. They have to work real hard with pretzel-like logic in this article to show that Trump is actually BAD for Israel.  Pathetic… – JW )

Netanyahu always tells us Trump has Israel’s back on Iran. But the president won’t confront tyrants, intent as he is on unraveling America’s commitments abroad. If Tehran races to nuclear capability, Israel will pay the price – alone

Iranian protesters burn a representation of the Israeli flag in their annual anti-Israeli Al-Quds, Jerusalem, Day rally in Tehran, Iran. June 8, 2018
Iranian protesters burn a representation of the Israeli flag in their annual anti-Israeli Al-Quds, Jerusalem, Day rally in Tehran, Iran. June 8, 2018Vahid Salemi/AP

As U.S. President Donald Trump’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic and grotesque, untethered to decency or truth, his right-wing supporters in Israel and the American Jewish community are getting a little nervous.

At times, the president of the United States seems, in the words of Andrew Sullivan, to be simply “bonkers.” The latest round of Trump outrages, involving the incarceration of infants and toddlers, has left even his most hard-core backers wondering if the president’s megalomania has obliterated his grasp of reality.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Duluth, Minn.
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Duluth, Minn. Jim Mone/AP

Nonetheless, right-wing Jews in Israel and America, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, seem prepared to overlook Mr. Trump’s deficiencies. Yes, they acknowledge off the record, the president is crude and crass. Yes, he engages in regular ridicule of “others” – Muslims, Mexicans, Arabs, Europeans, Hispanics, and especially, immigrants. Yes, he has unleashed popular passions that threaten liberty and give comfort to bigots and anti-Semites.

But never mind, because Trump is a friend of Israel. He has put the Palestinians in their place. He moved the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And above all, he pulled America out of the hated Iran deal, removing the threat that this deal posed to Israel’s very existence.

For those who are perplexed by Jewish attitudes toward Trump, Iran is the key to the puzzle. How can Israel, and so many Jews, stand behind a fanatic bully like Trump? The answer is that, in some respects, it is precisely due to his unrestrained temperament.

Nehemia Shtrasler made this argument in Haaretz. Both America and Israel, he wrote, are threatened by evil terrorist regimes like Iran and North Korea. And President Trump recognized what his predecessor U.S. President Barack Obama could not see: that a language of threats and force is the only way to contend with the tyrants in our dangerous world.

Why did Kim Jong Un promise to “denuclearize”? According to Shtrasler, because the American president imposed sanctions and threatened to annihilate Kim’s country, causing him to change his strategy. And the same threatening, tough-guy approach will soon work with Iran, which is already feeling the pressure of newly-imposed American sanctions.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands after Trump's address at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem May 23, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands after Trump’s address at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem May 23, 2017.RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS

And so, the thinking goes, Trump may be an imperfect, inexperienced, shoot-from-the-hip president. But as Netanyahu is always reminding us, this president has Israel’s back. And in scrapping the nuclear agreement with Iran, we are told, he has saved the Jewish state.

The problem with this argument is that it is wrong.

To Nehemia Shtrasler and Trump supporters everywhere, I suggest that they consider the following: Trump is a betrayer. In his non-stop efforts to promote himself and his very narrow view of American interests, he has betrayed virtually every country friendly to America and every alliance of which America is a part. He has betrayed NATO and the European Union. He has betrayed Britain and Canada. He has betrayed Japan and South Korea.

And Israel and the Jewish people are not exempt. When it comes to Iran, they too will be betrayed.

Let us look at the facts.

Shtrasler sees in Trump’s actions a principled toughness against America’s enemies. But Trump has few real principles other than self-advancement and political survival. And while it is true that the Iran nuclear agreement is deeply flawed, Trump’s campaign promise to withdraw from it was not rooted in commitment to Israel’s welfare. In fact, Israel played virtually no role in Trump’s political life prior to the election.

U.S. President Donald Trump signs a proclamation declaring his intention to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, May 8, 2018.
U.S. President Donald Trump signs a proclamation declaring his intention to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, May 8, 2018.\ JONATHAN ERNST/ REUTERS

Trump opposed the deal for a variety of reasons: He loves being a foreign policy maverick, the deal was identified with Obama, and it was unpopular with Evangelical Christian leaders. And since most Americans didn’t much care about it, abandoning it was relatively risk free.

But this rationale hardly means that the president has a plan for what to do now, or that Israel will end up better off than it was before. In fact, the opposite is almost certainly true.

Trump and administration officials claim that American sanctions at a time of economic uncertainty in Iran will force the Iranians back to the negotiating table to make a “better deal.” Such a scenario is not impossible.

But another alternative, more likely in many ways, is that rigorously enforced sanctions will push the Iranians to renounce the agreement themselves and resume nuclear enrichment activity. As Amos Yadlin and Ari Heistein point out in The Atlantic, Iran will choose negotiations over bomb building only if there is “the credible threat of a military strike.”

And while many in Israel and the Jewish community do not want to admit it, such a threat simply does not exist.

Iranian protesters hold up caricatures of leaders of Israel during the annual anti-Israeli Al-Quds, Jerusalem, Day rally in Tehran, Iran, Friday, June 8, 2018.
Iranian protesters hold up caricatures of leaders of Israel during the annual anti-Israeli Al-Quds, Jerusalem, Day rally in Tehran, Iran, Friday, June 8, 2018Ebrahim Noroozi/AP

President Trump loves to talk tough. He loves to shock and disrupt, and to bully and brag. But bullies, as we know, are not strong; they are weak. When confrontations come, they back away. And to the extent that Trump’s foreign policy has a direction at all, it is to withdraw from overseas commitments and to extricate America from engagement abroad.

Stephen Sestanovich argues correctly, also in The Atlantic, that Trump is not a simple isolationist. He has too big an ego for that. He is not opposed to a measure of activism if the cost is small and if he can make himself appear strong, decisive, and, for example, a terrorist fighter. Nonetheless, while Trump does not have a consistent foreign policy, certain sentiments and instincts dominate his world view – and always have. And the most important of these is resistance to significant American military involvement.

What all this means is that if Iran returns to nuclear enrichment, America will not act militarily. Trump’s view is that trade wars are one thing, but fighting wars are costly, messy, and unpopular. Foreign conflicts are to be avoided, period. And to his own deep reservations must be added his Putin obsession. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, we should remember, values his relationship with Iran and its leaders. That Trump would bomb Iran against Putin’s wishes is unthinkable.

Obviously, no one wants America to go to war. And it would be far better to resolve America’s problems with Iran in peaceful ways. But the point is that Trump pulled out of the Iran deal without having a Plan B, or for that matter, even a Plan A. And if Iran decides to race to nuclear capability, a real possibility, the country that will be most threatened is Israel.

Trump, in other words, is not a confronter of tyrants. He is an appeaser of tyrants, intent on unraveling America’s commitments abroad. And Israel is likely to pay the price.

Iranian military prepare missiles to be launched. Iran claims its air defenses can challenge potential Israeli air strikes. Nov. 13, 2012
Iranian military prepare missiles to be launched. Iran claims its air defenses can challenge potential Israeli air strikes. Nov. 13, 2012AP

Yadlin and Heistein recognize this possibility, and their proposal is that Israel should be prepared to act alone, with an American “green light.” But as they note, it would be essential for Israel to conduct a surgical strike and then find a way to avoid further escalation.

The problem, of course, is that it is not at all clear that a surgical strike would be sufficient to knock out Iran’s nuclear capacity; most American experts think it would not. And following an Israeli attack on Iran, escalation of the conflict is not only possible but likely.

Bottom line? If the result of President Trump’s actions is that Iran does not make a deal but opts to obtain the bomb, Israel will be exposed as it has never been before. Netanyahu’s fawning over Trump will have been for naught. Israel will have been betrayed.

Netanyahu has always expected that he will be remembered by history for his role in dealing with Iran. He will be. But that role may be different than the one he anticipated.

Eric H. Yoffie, a rabbi, writer and teacher in Westfield, New Jersey, is a former president of the Union for Reform Judaism. Twitter: @EricYoffie

Spain: Ground Zero for Europe’s Anti-Israel Movement

June 23, 2018

Top Palestinian negotiator accuses Kushner, Greenblatt of seeking to topple PA

June 23, 2018

As American peace team holds talks in Israel and is boycotted by Abbas, his aide Saeb Erekat claims US wants to separate West Bank from Gaza, ‘terminate’ UNRWA

https://www.timesofisrael.com/erekat-accuses-kushner-greenblatt-of-seeking-to-topple-pa/
PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat in his Ramallah office, November 23, 2015. (AFP/Abbas Momani)

Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat on Saturday accused the US peace team of working to topple the Palestinian Authority, as the American envoys wrapped up a visit to the region aimed to push the Trump administration’s peace plan and enlist humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip.

US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, along with Jason Greenblatt, met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Friday following meetings earlier in the week with the leaders of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Egypt. They are expected to meet again with Netanyahu Saturday evening before returning to the US.

Here’s How Erdogan Plans To Steal Sunday’s Election

June 23, 2018
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-06-22/heres-how-erdogan-plans-steal-sundays-election

As Turks prepare to head to the polls Sunday in a snap election called by incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Foreign Policy has published what is essentially a summary blueprint outlining the ways Erdogan could steal the election, noting “Sunday’s vote is one he can’t afford to lose.”

As we previously commented, though the man who has dominated the nation’s politics for almost two decades is not expected to lose, a consensus is emerging that the vote should be regarded as a referendum on his person and leadership.

And now, a visible surge in popularity for the rival secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate has pundits declaring the opposition actually has a chance. 

AKP President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Republican People’s Party (CHP) challenger Muharrem Ince.  Image via Hurriyet

Erdogan has often boasted that he has never lost an election and, as recent polls indicate, he is unlikely to lose this time either (but likely by a thin margin). Since 2002, he and his AKP (Justice and Development Party) have won five parliamentary elections, three local elections, three referendums and one presidential election.

The president moved elections that weren’t supposed to be held until 2019 forward by more than a year in hopes of smashing an unprepared opposition, but there’s yet a possibility this could backfire.

Ironically, the move could blow up in Erdogan’s face as he called for the early elections at a moment when the economy appeared strong, but which in the interim began tanking — giving all but die-hard AKP supporters reason for serious pause as the opposition’s message becomes louder.

His legacy has already been established as ushering in Turkey’s transformation from a parliamentary to a presidential system, giving a disproportionate share of power to the president, and should he win he’ll assume even greater executive powers after last year’s referendum which narrowly approved major constitutional changes related to the presidency.

But Erdogan’s main opposition candidate, Muharrem Ince, is this week drawing immense crowds according to a variety of reports, and gaining support from a cross-section of Turks increasingly fed up with Erdogan’s power-grabbing.

Ince, a former high school physics teacher widely seen has having much more charisma, has mirrored Erdogan’s firebrand and combative rhetoric while taking direct aim at the Islamic conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader’s enabling corruption and nepotism, and his further overseeing an economy in tailspin with the lira having lost nearly 20% of its value since the year began, inflation at 12%, and interest rates at 18%.

Muharrem Ince’s simple yet pointed appeal goes something like this: “Erdogan is tired, he has no joy and he is arrogant,” he told hundreds of thousands of supporters at an Izmir rally on Wednesday. CNN noted the rally presented “what looked like the largest crowd in the elections period yet.”

Muharrem Ince’s Wednesday rally in Izmir as shown on Turkish television. Crowd size estimates ranged from 250,000 up to millions, depending on who was commenting.

Sunday’s election is being widely described the most important in recent Turkish political history — a crossing the Rubicon moment for Erdogan as he stands to inherit an unprecedented and likely irreversible level of sweeping executive authority. 

As Foreign Policy explains, he has carefully put the architecture in place for this moment, and the outlook remains bleak for the future of democracy in Turkey:

The current Council of Ministers, all members of parliament, will cease to exist and the president will appoint advisors and deputies to run the country. Parliament, especially if it remains in the hands of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), will be nothing but a rubber stamp. Erdogan over the years has amassed an enormous amount of power by molding state institutions to his liking and by eliminating anyone from his entourage who can even minimally challenge him. Every single member of the party owes his or her position directly to Erdogan. This patronage system permeates all levels of the bureaucracy, which has lost its independence.

So again, on June 24 losing is not an option for Erdogan.

* * *

Here are ways Erdogan can steal the election, according to Foreign Policy:

1) He’s already engineered electoral law for less oversight of ballots:

He has engineered several changes to the electoral law, two of which could be game-changers. The first is the elimination of the requirement that all ballots be stamped by officials. This practice will open up the system to abuse in obvious ways — it was precisely such a last-minute change that allowed the government to claim victory in 2017 during the constitutional referendum.

2) Erdogan’s own party cronies will manage and appoint officials for Sunday’s election process:

Erdogan’s second change to the electoral law concerns the ballot box overseers: Whereas in the past political parties nominated candidates who were chosen by a draw, under the new rules overseers are to be chosen among local officials whose jobs are ultimately determined by the government and the state.

3) Switching ballot locations especially in Kurdish areas:

Suppressing the Kurdish vote is critical for the government… one can expect more shenanigans in Kurdish-majority areas, because Erdogan needs to push the Peoples’ Democratic Party below the 10 percent threshold to ensure that his party wins a majority of seats in parliament. 

4) Erdogan now essentially owns the judicial system, the military, and media – all of which will be leveraged:

The Supreme Electoral Council, the judicial system, and the military — until recently Erdogan’s most dedicated nemesis — are all now under Erdogan’s control. The military was completely denuded of its higher ranks following the July 2016 failed coup attempt…

…The national press, meanwhile, is completely dominated by Erdogan’s acolytes. The results are unsurprising: In the last two weeks of May, a study demonstrated that the president and his party received far more coverage on three government-owned television stations, including a Kurdish-language one. 

5) No detail has been left untouched, but last minute “shenanigans” will ensure victory if it’s close:

Erdogan, the consummate politician, is not leaving anything about this election to chance; no detail has been too small to escape his attention.

…Still, it is quite doubtful that he will allow anything but a total victory for himself — one should expect a great deal of shenanigans on the part of the ruling party in the final run-up to the June 24 vote.

It Don’t Come Easy (Cover) Ringo, welcome to ISRAEL ! 

June 23, 2018

( Ringo is coming to Israel this week for 2 concerts… –

 JW )

 

 

 

“It Don’t Come Easy” is a song by English musician Ringo Starr that was released as a non-album single in April 1971. Apart from in North America, where “Beaucoups of Blues” had been a single in October 1970, it was Starr’s first single release since the break-up of the Beatles. The song was a commercial success, peaking at number 1 in Canada and number 4 in both the US and UK singles charts.

The recording was produced by Starr’s former bandmate George Harrison, who also made an uncredited contribution as a composer. Starr performed the song with Harrison at the Concert for Bangladesh in August 1971 and it has remained one of his most popular hits as a solo artist.

Lyrics

It don’t come easy
You know it don’t come easy
It don’t come easy
You know it don’t come easy
Got to pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues
And you know it don’t come easy
You don’t have to shout or leap about
You can even play them easy
Open up your heart, let’s come together
Use a little love
And we will make it work out better
I don’t ask for much, I only want your trust
And you know it don’t come easy
And this love of mine keeps growing all the time
And you know it don’t come easy
Peace, remember peace is how we make it
Here within your reach
If you’re big enough to take it
Got to pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues
And you know it don’t come easy
You don’t have to shout or leap about
You can even play them easy
Peace, remember peace is how we make it
Here within your reach
If you’re big enough to take it
I don’t ask for much, I only want your trust
And you know it don’t come easy
And this love of mine keeps growing all the time
And you know it don’t come easy