Archive for the ‘Freedom of the seas’ category

Obama talks tough on Chinese Islands, then runs away

September 18, 2015

Obama talks tough on Chinese Islands, then runs away, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, September 18, 2015

obama_bow_china_2

[W]hile Obama makes empty noises about China seizing land, and empty noises about Russia seizing land and empty noises about Iran’s nuclear program, he has conceded all three. Everything else is just empty talk about all the “options” we have, once that smart diplomacy has gotten through appeasing the enemy.

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In public, Obama Inc. sounds tough and determined that China’s artificial islands don’t represent a legitimate territorial claim.

Also Wednesday, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter talked tough on China, referring to its increasingly aggressive military posture in the Pacific region.

In a reference to China’s construction of islands in the South China Sea, for which it then asserts air and sea rights, Carter continued: “There should be an immediate and lasting halt to land reclamation by all claimants. We also oppose any further militarization of disputed features.”

Like Obama, he warned China that the U.S. would not back down and would project its authority.

“There should be no mistake: The United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, as U.S. forces do all over the world,” Carter said. “America, alongside its allies and partners in the regional architecture, will not be deterred from exercising these rights.

“After all, turning an underwater rock into an airfield simply does not afford the rights of sovereignty or permit restrictions on international air or maritime transit,” he added.

In Obamaville though, all this is hot air and empty noise. Obama is a coward who bullies Americans, but cringes and bows whenever an enemy of the United States pushes him around. That was the empty rhetoric meant to fool the few Americans who still believe in Obama.

Here’s the pathetic reality.

 The Obama administration has restricted the U.S. Pacific Command from sending ships and aircraft within 12 miles of disputed Chinese-built islands in the South China Sea, bolstering Beijing’s illegal claims over the vital seaway, Pentagon leaders revealed to Congress on Thursday.

“The administration has continued to restrict our Navy ships from operating within 12 nautical miles of China’s reclaimed islands,” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) said in opening remarks criticizing the failure to guarantee safe passage for international commercial ships in Asia.

“This is a dangerous mistake that grants de facto recognition of China’s man-made sovereignty claims,” he said.

McCain, however, noted that the U.S. restrictions on close-in island military flights and ship visits were continuing despite the provocative dispatch of five Chinese warships in an unprecedented deployment to waters within 12 miles of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands—at the same time President Obama was concluding a recent visit to the state earlier this month.

A visibly angered McCain told Shear the best way to assert that international waters around the islands do not belong to China would be for American ships to make 12-mile passages by the disputed islands. “And we haven’t done that since 2012. I don’t find that acceptable, Mr. Secretary,” he said.

Adm. Harry Harris, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, was asked if he is authorized to order ships to travel within 12 miles of any of the man-made islands and answered, no. Harris also said no U.S. surveillance aircraft have flown directly over any of the islands.

Brave Obama ran away. When danger reared its ugly head, he bravely turned his tail and fled and gallantly he chickened out. Bravely taking to his feet, He beat a very brave retreat.

So while Obama makes empty noises about China seizing land, and empty noises about Russia seizing land and empty noises about Iran’s nuclear program, he has conceded all three. Everything else is just empty talk about all the “options” we have, once that smart diplomacy has gotten through appeasing the enemy.

Bravest of the brave, Barack.

Column One: Obama’s enemies list

August 6, 2015

Column One: Obama’s enemies list, Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick, August 6, 2015

ShowImage (8)US President Barack Obama at the Rose Garden of the White House. (photo credit:OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO / PETE SOUZA)

[T]he real question lawmakers need to ask is whether the deal is good for America. Is Obama right or wrong that only partisan zealots and disloyal Zionists could oppose his great diplomatic achievement? To determine the answer to that question, you need to do is ask another one. Does his deal make America safer or less safe? The best way to answer that question is to consider all the ways Iran threatens America today, and ask whether the agreement has no impact on those threats, or whether it mitigates or aggravates them.

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In President Barack Obama’s defense of his nuclear deal with Iran Wednesday, he said there are only two types of people who will oppose his deal – Republican partisans and Israel- firsters – that is, traitors.

At American University, Obama castigated Republican lawmakers as the moral equivalent of Iranian jihadists saying, “Those [Iranian] hard-liners chanting ‘Death to America’ who have been most opposed to the deal… are making common cause with the Republican Caucus.”

He then turned his attention to Israel.

Obama explained that whether or not you believe the deal endangers Israel boils down to whom you trust more – him or Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And, he explained, he can be trusted to protect Israel better than Netanyahu can because “[I] have been a stalwart friend of Israel throughout my career.”

The truth is that it shouldn’t much matter to US lawmakers whether Obama or Netanyahu has it right about Israel. Israel isn’t a party to the deal and isn’t bound by it. If Israel decides it needs to act on its own, it will.

The US, on the other side, will be bound by the deal if Congress fails to kill it next month.

So the real question lawmakers need to ask is whether the deal is good for America. Is Obama right or wrong that only partisan zealots and disloyal Zionists could oppose his great diplomatic achievement? To determine the answer to that question, you need to do is ask another one. Does his deal make America safer or less safe? The best way to answer that question is to consider all the ways Iran threatens America today, and ask whether the agreement has no impact on those threats, or whether it mitigates or aggravates them.

Today Iran is harming America directly in multiple ways.

The most graphic way Iran is harming America today is by holding four Americans hostage. Iran’s decision not to release them over the course of negotiations indicates that at a minimum, the deal hasn’t helped them.

It doesn’t take much consideration to recognize that the hostages in Iran are much worse off today than they were before Obama concluded the deal on July 14.

The US had much more leverage to force the Iranians to release the hostages before it signed the deal than it does now. Now, not only do the Iranians have no reason to release the hostages, they have every reason to take more hostages.

Then there is Iranian-sponsored terrorism against the US.

In 2011, the FBI foiled an Iranian plot to murder the Saudi ambassador in Washington and bomb the Saudi and Israeli embassies in the US capital.

One of the terrorists set to participate in the attack allegedly penetrated US territory through the Mexican border.

The terrorist threat to the US emanating from Iran’s terrorist infrastructure in Latin America will rise steeply as a consequence of the nuclear deal.

As The Wall Street Journal’s Mary Anastasia O’Grady wrote last month, the sanctions relief the deal provides to Iran will enable it to massively expand its already formidable operations in the US’s backyard. Over the past two decades, Iran and Hezbollah have built up major presences in Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Bolivia.

Iran’s presence in Latin America also constitutes a strategic threat to US national security. Today Iran can use its bases of operations in Latin America to launch an electromagnetic pulse attack on the US from a ballistic missile, a satellite or even a merchant ship.

The US military is taking active steps to survive such an attack, which would destroy the US’s power grid. Among other things, it is returning the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to its former home in Cheyenne Mountain outside Colorado Springs.

But Obama has ignored the findings of the congressional EMP Commission and has failed to harden the US electronic grid to protect it from such attacks.

The economic and human devastation that would be caused by the destruction of the US electric grid is almost inconceivable. And now with the cash infusion that will come Iran’s way from Obama’s nuclear deal, it will be free to expand on its EMP capabilities in profound ways.

Through its naval aggression in the Strait of Hormuz Iran threatens the global economy. While the US was negotiating the nuclear deal with Iran, the Revolutionary Guards unlawfully interdicted – that is hijacked – the Marshall Islands-flagged Maersk Tigris and held its crew hostage for weeks.

Iran’s assault on the Tigris came just days after the US-flagged Maersk Kensington was surrounded and followed by Revolutionary Guards ships until it fled the strait.

A rational take-home message the Iranians can draw from the nuclear deal is that piracy pays.

Their naval aggression in the Strait of Hormuz was not met by American military force, but by American strategic collapse at Vienna.

This is doubly true when America’s listless response to Iran’s plan to use its Houthi proxy’s takeover of Yemen to control the Bab el-Mandab strait is taken into consideration. With the Bab el-Mandab, Iran will control all maritime traffic from the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. Rather than confront this clear and present danger to the global economy, America abandoned all its redlines in the nuclear talks.

Then there is Iran’s partnership 20-year partnership with al-Qaida.

The 9/11 Commission found in its report that four of the 9/11 terrorists transited Iran before traveling to the US. As former Defense Intelligence Agency director Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Mike Flynn told Fox News in the spring, Iranian cooperation with al-Qaida remains deep and strategic.

When the US Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, they seized hard drives containing more than a million documents related to al-Qaida operations. All but a few dozen remain classified.

According to Flynn and other US intelligence officials who spoke to The Weekly Standard, the documents expose Iran’s vast collaboration with al-Qaida.

The agreement Obama concluded with the mullahs gives a tailwind to Iran. Iran’s empowerment will undoubtedly be used to expand its use of al-Qaida terrorists as proxies in their joint war against the US.

Then there is Iran’s ballistic missile program.

The UN Security Council resolution passed two weeks ago cancels the UN-imposed embargoes on conventional arms and ballistic missile acquisitions by Iran. Since the nuclear deal facilities Iranian development of advanced nuclear technologies that will enable the mullahs to build nuclear weapons freely when the deal expires, the Security Council resolution means that by the time the deal expires, Iran will have the nuclear warheads and the intercontinental ballistic missiles required to carry out a nuclear attack on the US.

Obama said Wednesday that if Congress votes down his nuclear deal, “we will lose… America’s credibility as a leader of diplomacy. America’s credibility,” he explained, “is the anchor of the international system.”

Unfortunately, Obama got it backwards. It is the deal that destroys America’s credibility and so upends the international system which has rested on that credibility for the past 70 years.

The White House’s dangerous suppression of seized al-Qaida-Iran documents, like its listless response to Iran’s maritime aggression, its indifference to Iran’s massive presence in Latin America, its lackluster response to Iran’s terrorist activities in Latin America, and its belittlement of the importance of the regime’s stated goal to destroy America – not to mention its complete collapse on all its previous redlines over the course of the negotiations – are all signs of the disastrous toll the nuclear deal has already taken on America’s credibility, and indeed on US national security.

To defend a policy that empowers Iran, the administration has no choice but to serve as Iran’s agent. The deal destroys America’s credibility in fighting terrorism. By legitimizing and enriching the most prolific state sponsor of terrorism, the US has made a mockery of its claimed commitment to the fight.

The deal destroys the US’s credibility as an ally.

By serving as apologists for its worst enemy, the US has shown its allies that they cannot trust American security guarantees. How can Israel or Saudi Arabia trust America to defend them when it is endangering itself? The deal destroys 70 years of US nonproliferation efforts. By enabling Iran to become a nuclear power, the US has made a mockery of the very notion of nonproliferation and caused a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

The damage caused by the deal is already being felt. For instance, Europe, Russia and China are already beating a path to the ayatollahs’ doorstep to sign commercial and military deals with the regime.

But if Congress defeats the deal, it can mitigate the damage. By killing the deal, Congress will demonstrate that the American people are not ready to go down in defeat. They can show that the US remains committed to its own defense and the rebuilding of its strategic credibility worldwide.

In his meeting with Jewish leaders Tuesday, Obama acknowledged that his claim – repeated yet again Wednesday – that the only alternative to the deal is war, is a lie.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Greg Rosenbaum, chairman of the National Democratic Jewish Council, which is allied with the White House, said that Obama rejected the notion that war will break out if Congress rejects the deal with veto-overriding majorities in both houses.

According to Rosenbaum, Obama claimed that if Congress rejects his nuclear deal, eventually the US will have to carry out air strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to prevent them from enriching uranium to weapons-grade levels.

“But,” he quoted Obama as saying, “the result of such a strike won’t be war with Iran.”

Rather, Obama said, Iran will respond to a US strike primarily by ratcheting up its terrorist attacks against Israel.

“I can assure,” Obama told the Jewish leaders, “that Israel will bear the brunt of the asymmetrical responses that Iran will have to a military strike on its nuclear facilities.”

What is notable here is that despite the fact that it will pay the heaviest price for a congressional defeat of the Iran deal, Israel is united in its opposition to the deal. This speaks volume about the gravity with which the Israeli public views the threats the agreement unleashed.

But again, Israel is not the only country that is imperiled by the nuclear deal. And Israelis are not the only ones who need to worry.

Obama wishes to convince the public that the deal’s opponents are either partisan extremists or traitors who care about Israel more than they care about America. But neither claim is true. The main reason Americans should oppose the deal is that it endangers America. And as a consequence, Americans who oppose the deal are neither partisans nor turncoats.

They are patriots.

A powerful totalitarian theocracy can bring peace. Of sorts.

May 2, 2015

A powerful totalitarian theocracy can bring peace. Of sorts. Dan Miller’s Blog, May 2, 2015

(The views expressed in this article are mine, and do not necessarily reflect those of Warsclerotic or its other editors. — DM)

a1  Obama and Kahameni -building a toaster

Iran, an already powerful theocratic totalitarian state with extensive hegemonic ambitions, is about to become (if it is not already) a nuclear power. So equipped, it can extend its rule over the Middle East and beyond, bringing the “peace” of submission to Islam. Obama may favor this outcome and in any event appears to be at best indifferent.

Iran is ruled by Ayatollah Khamenei, its supreme political and religious power. He has the ultimate authority to approve or reject any P5+1 agreement, should there be one — which seems increasingly likely due to Obama’s ludicrous efforts to concede every possible matter of substance. Obama wants a foreign policy legacy and needs a “deal;” Iran does not need a “deal.” It has already benefited greatly from sanctions relief. Other nations have also benefited economically to the point that even were the U.S. to try to reimpose sanction such trade would continue and expand. Moreover, it is highly likely that Iran has done all of the necessary technical research on nukes and on delivery devices to the extent that, regardless of whether there is a “deal,” Iran can have deliverable nukes within a few months if not sooner. As I pointed out here, the insanity of the 2013 framework, adhered to except when arguably in America’s favor, led inexorably to this result.

The North Korea – Iran linkage makes the problem worse. Chinese nuclear experts recently revised their estimation of North Korea’s current possession of nukes:.

China’s top nuclear experts have increased their estimates of North Korea’s nuclear weapons production well beyond most previous U.S. figures, suggesting Pyongyang can make enough warheads to threaten regional security for the U.S. and its allies.

The latest Chinese estimates, relayed in a closed-door meeting with U.S. nuclear specialists, showed that North Korea may already have 20 warheads, as well as the capability of producing enough weapons-grade uranium to double its arsenal by next year, according to people briefed on the matter. [Emphasis added.]

Iran and North Korea have a long history of nuclear cooperation. Delivering North Korean technology, materials and nukes to Iran would not be very difficult. I addressed the problem here, herehere and elsewhere.

Consequences of a nuclear Iranian theocracy

The Iranian Shiite theocracy is totalitarian in every sense of the word; it has not moderated under “moderate” President Rouhani. To the contrary, it seems to have worsened. To the extent that credible figures are available, sexually transmitted disease has risen and the birth rate in Iran has fallen, considerably in recent years. Despite sanctions relief, poverty has increased. Where has the money gone? Iran pursues its hegemonic ambitions, most recently to help the Houthi in Yemen, while continuing to provide economic, logistical and weapons support to its other proxy terrorist organizations such as Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood and others. Iran is very likely motivated by its own desire eventually to control the Middle East and beyond.

The recent Iranian hijacking of a cargo ship under “U.S. protection” may well have been an Iranian warning to Saudi Arabia, an American ally and leading opponent of the Iranian proxy war by Houthi in Yemen, that it can and might close the Strait of Hormuz to Saudi oil exports.

Strait-of-Hormuz

Although obligated under treaty to come to the defense of the Marshall Islands-registered cargo ship, the Obama Nation did not. Instead, it simply watched as the Iranian Navy fired shots across her bow and took her to an Iranian port to the North at Bandar Abbas. The ship and her crew remain there. Caroline Glick, in an article titled The Marshall Islands’ cautionary tale pointed out that

The Maersk Tigris is flagged to the Marshall Islands. The South Pacific archipelago gained its independence from the US in 1986 after signing a treaty conceding its right to self-defense in exchange for US protection. According to the treaty, the US has “full authority and responsibility for security and defense of the Marshall Islands.” [Emphasis added.]

Given the US’s formal, binding obligation to the Marshall Islands, the Iranian seizure of the ship was in effect an act of war against America.

. . . .

If the US allows Iran to get away with unlawfully seizing a Marshall Islands flagged ship it is treaty bound to protect, it will reinforce the growing assessment of its Middle Eastern allies that its security guarantees are worthless.

As the Israel Project’s Omri Ceren put it in an email briefing to journalists, “the US would be using security assurances not to shield allies from Iran but to shield Iran from allies.” [Emphasis added.]

What can other nations, with which America has treaties calling upon us to come to their defense, expect from the Obama administration if attacked by Iran? Precious little.

Under credible threat from nuclear attack by Iran and lacking actual (as distinguished from verbal) support from the Obama administration, Middle East Arab nations cannot be expected to resist very effectively, even as they seek to obtain their own nuclear arsenals.

Israel, the “Little Satan?” She would fight fiercely to the end, but might be overcome. Perhaps she will take the initiative and destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities before they become too extensive and better protected, perhaps by missiles provided by Russia. I suggested here that she can and should do so. Here is a link to a far more detailed analyses of what she can and should do, soon.

America, the “Great Satan,” is not immune to an Iranian nuclear attack. As I suggested here, a nuclear armed Iran could launch an EMP attack to drive the U.S. back to the stone age. Such an attack would increase Iran’s hegemonic potentials, and hence ambitions, by foreclosing the possibility of American help to nations with which we have protection treaties. However, even without an EMP attack, Obama would not provide much help. Therefore, I wonder whether — despite all of the continuing Iranian “death to America” bluster — Iran would be foolish enough to do it before Obama leaves office. He does His best to help Iran get nukes and pursue its hegemonic ambitions. Why try to kill a staunch friend like Obama’s America?

The Obama administration — and many voters — view global warming, climate change, climate disruption and whatever new phrases as may be developed as the most severe threat to humanity. An interesting article titled Progressives at the Poker Table compares “Progressive” attitudes toward “the threat of climate warming and that of a nuclear-armed Iran.” Predictably, the Obama Administration and most of the “legitimate news media” are far more concerned about the former than the latter, even though there is little if anything that we can do, even at great expense, about climate change (mostly natural in origin). If so disposed, there is quite a lot that we could do about the far greater, and in any event more immediate, threat from a nuclear Iran. Perhaps it’s simply easier to stage pious shows about costly but ineffective ways to “save the Earth” than to make useful efforts to save humanity from Islamic ravages.

Church of climatology

Conclusions

Andrew Klavan ridicules Obama’s P5+1 “deal” here:

The Congress probably won’t do anything to stop it, so Iran will very likely have nukes and the missiles with which to deliver them soon — if it does not already have them.

Hitler made a “deal” with Prime Minister Chamberlain years ago and returned from Munich to display a piece of paper signed by Hitler. Crowds cheered. Hitler laughed and continued his hegemonic pursuits throughout Europe. Hitler could have been stopped with relative ease long before World War II erupted but wasn’t. The “Peace in our time” meme was too powerful. Then we fought WWII.

Is that how the current mess with Iran will turn out?

code pink on Iran

Column One: The Marshall Islands’ cautionary tale

May 1, 2015

Column One: The Marshall Islands’ cautionary tale, Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick, April 30, 2015

Iranian navy shipIranian navy ship.. (photo credit:REUTERS)

There is a thread that runs between Obama’s policy toward Iran and his policy toward Israel.

On Tuesday, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps forcibly commandeered the Maersk Tigris as navigated its way through the Straits of Hormuz. Iran controls the strategic waterway through which 40 percent of seaborne oil and a quarter of seaborne gas transits to global markets.

The Maersk Tigris is flagged to the Marshall Islands. The South Pacific archipelago gained its independence from the US in 1986 after signing a treaty conceding its right to self-defense in exchange for US protection. According to the treaty, the US has “full authority and responsibility for security and defense of the Marshall Islands.”

Given the US’s formal, binding obligation to the Marshall Islands, the Iranian seizure of the ship was in effect an act of war against America.

In comments to Bloomberg hours after the ship was seized, Junior Aini, chargé d’affairs at the Marshall Islands Embassy in Washington, indicated that his government’s only recourse is to rely on the US to free its ship.

Immediately after the incident began, the US Navy deployed a destroyer to the area. But that didn’t seem to make much of an impression on the Iranians. More significant than the naval movement was the fact that the Obama administration failed to condemn their unlawful action.

If the administration continues to stand by in the face of Iran’s aggression, the strategic implications will radiate far beyond the US’s bilateral ties with the Marshall Islands. If the US allows Iran to get away with unlawfully seizing a Marshall Islands flagged ship it is treaty bound to protect, it will reinforce the growing assessment of its Middle Eastern allies that its security guarantees are worthless.

As the Israel Project’s Omri Ceren put it in an email briefing to journalists, “the US would be using security assurances not to shield allies from Iran but to shield Iran from allies.”

But President Barack Obama apparently won’t allow a bit of Iranian naval piracy to rain on his parade. This week Obama indicated that he feels very good about where his policy on Iran now stands. And he has every reason to be satisfied.

With each day that passes, the chance diminishes that his nuclear deal with the mullahs will be scuppered.

On the one hand, the Iranians are signaling that they are willing to sign a deal with the Great Satan. And this makes sense. For them the deal has no downside.

First there’s the money. Last week the State Department indicated that it won’t rule out paying Iran a $50 billion “signing bonus.”

The $50b. would be an advance on Iranian funds that have been frozen in Western banks under the terms of the sanctions regime that would be lifted in the event a deal is concluded.

Iran can do a lot with $50b.

Iran is spending $3b. a month to finance its war in Syria. With $50b. in their pockets the ayatollahs can fight for another year and a half without selling a barrel of oil.

According to a report earlier this week on Channel 10, during Syrian Defense Minister General Fahd al-Freij’s visit to Tehran this week, he was instructed to enable Hezbollah to open a front against Israel on the Golan Heights. Iran’s “signing bonus” would pay for Iran’s new war against Israel.

As for their nuclear weapons program, even Obama admitted that when his deal expires in 10 years, Iran will have the capacity to build nuclear weapons at will.

Iran can get around the ideological issue of signing with its theological foe by focusing its hatred on the US Congress, something Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif did effortlessly at a press conference in New York on Wednesday.

At home as well, Obama no longer faces serious opposition to his Iran policy. The Iranian Nuclear Agreement Review Act, the bill now being debated on the Senate floor, ensures that Congress will have no ability to stand in the way of the deal. In contrast to the provisions of the US Constitution that require a two-third Senate majority to approve an international treaty, the Senate bill requires a two-third majority of senators to block the implementation of Obama’s nuclear deal with the greatest state sponsor of terrorism.

Obama has successfully bullied centrist Democrat senators into abandoning their concern for US national security and supporting his deal.

They in turn have convinced centrist Republicans – and AIPAC – to push forward the legislation and so turn Congress into partner in Obama’s nuclear gambit.

Attempts by Republican senators, including presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, to attach amendments to the bill that would require Congress to either treat the deal as an international treaty, or at the very least require a simple majority to reject it, have been strenuously opposed not only by the Democrats, but by the Republican leadership as well.

Obama’s confidence that his deal will go through has freed him up to mark the next target of his foreign policy in what he recently referred to as the “fourth quarter” of his presidency: Israel.

According to a report in Foreign Policy, the administration is now seeking to delay anti-Israel resolutions at the UN Security Council – including a French draft resolution that would require Israel to surrender all of Judea and Samaria and northern, southern and eastern Jerusalem to the Palestinians – until after the deal with Iran is concluded at the end of June. According to the report, the administration doesn’t want to upset pro-Israel Democrats while it still needs them to approve the deal with Iran.

But Obama has no problem with marking the target.

And so, on Monday, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman did just that.

In an address before Reform Jews, Sherman issued a direct threat against Israel.

In her words, “If the new Israeli government is seen to be stepping back from its commitment to a two-state solution, that will make our job in the international arena much tougher… it will be harder for us to prevent internationalizing the conflict.”

In an apparent attempt to soften the harsh impression Sherman’s statement made on the Israeli public, on Wednesday US Ambassador Dan Shapiro gave an interview to Army Radio.

Although his American-accented Hebrew is always a crowd pleaser, Shapiro’s statements were simply a more diplomatic restatement of Sherman’s threat.

As he put it, “We are entering a period without negotiations [between Israel and the Palestinians] and this leads us to two important challenges.

One – how do we make progress toward the two-states for two-peoples solution, and two – negotiations have always been critical to preventing the delegitimization of Israel.”

In other words, Shapiro signaled that the Obama administration expects Israel to make significant concessions to the Palestinians in return of nothing, in the absence of negotiations.

And if we fail to make such unreciprocated concessions, we will have no legitimacy and the US will have no choice but to act against Israel at the UN.

That is, by Shapiro’s and Sherman’s telling, Israel’s unwillingness to bow to Palestinian and US demands for concessions to the Palestinians is what has caused and what feeds the international campaign to delegitimize its right to exist.

For anyone who entertains the thought that Shapiro and Sherman are correct to blame Israel for the movement to delegitimize it, this week we received new proof of its falsity.

This week, the leaders of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement condemned Israel not for failing to make concessions to the Palestinians. This week they condemned the Jewish state for helping Nepal earthquake victims.

Ever since the Israeli humanitarian aid mission set off for Nepal earlier this week, leading figures in the BDS movement have been working overtime to attribute ill and even demonic intentions to their mission.

Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, tweeted on his Twitter account, “Easier to address a far-away humanitarian disaster than the nearby one of Israel’s making in Gaza. End the blockade!” Max Blumenthal, a Jewish anti-Semite who has risen to prominence in the BDS campaign, tweeted, “For a country responsible for so many man-made catastrophes, natural disasters can’t come often enough.”

Ali Abumiah, the editor of Electronic Intifada, intoned that Israel was racist to evacuate newborn infants born to surrogate mothers in Nepal and leave the surrogates behind. He also tweeted, “Propaganda operation goes into high gear to exploit Nepal earthquake to improve Israel’s blood-soaked image.”

These assaults, which attribute malign, exploitative designs to Israel’s humanitarian relief efforts, make clear that there is no connection between Israel’s actions and hostility toward Israel.

The purpose of the BDS movement is not to pressure Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians.

Its purpose is to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist and delegitimize support for Israel’s right to exist.

If Israel is evil for sending hundreds of soldiers and relief workers to Nepal to rescue earthquake victims, clearly Israel will be attacked as evil for making concessions to the Palestinians that the Palestinians and the Obama administration will insist are insufficient.

Shapiro’s claim that negotiations between Israel and the PLO, or Israeli unilateral concessions to the Palestinians, protect Israel from its Western detractors is totally unfounded.

There is a thread that runs between Obama’s policy toward Iran and his policy toward Israel.

That common threat is mendacity. Obama’s actual goals in both have little to do with his stated ones.

Obama claims that he wishes to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. But as we see from his willingness to allow Iran to become a nuclear threshold state while running wild in the Straits of Hormuz, committing mass slaughter in Syria, building an empire that includes Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, and threatening its Arab neighbors and Israel, the purpose of the administration’s negotiations with Iran is not to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

The purpose of the negotiations is to build an American-Iranian alliance on Iran’s terms.

So, too, Obama says his goal is to advance the cause of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

But his pressure and hostility toward Israel does nothing to achieve this goal. The goal of a policy of acting with hostility toward Israel is not to promote peace. It is to distance the US from Israel and align America’s Israel policy with Europe’s preternaturally hostile treatment of the Jewish state.

Three days after a ship sailing under their flag was seized by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, citizens of the Marshall Islands discovered that their decision to place their security in America’s hands is no longer the safe bet they thought it was 29 years ago.

Anyone who entertains the belief that Israel will gain diplomatic acceptance or even a respite from American pressure if it makes concessions to the Palestinians is similarly making a high risk gamble.

A timely message from Iran

April 29, 2015

A timely message from Iran, Power Line, Scott Johnson, April 28, 2015

What the hell are the Iranians doing playing chicken with the U.S. Navy on the same day that the full Senate takes up debate on Corker-Menendez?

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Omri Ceren provides this email update on today’s developments in the Persian Gulf, reported in this brief Reuters story:

It’s been a busy two hours, but some clarity is starting to emerge about the Iranian seizure of a cargo vessel in the Strait of Hormuz. The vessel is the M/V Maersk Tigris and sails under a Marshall Islands flag. It was intercepted by Iranian navy patrol crafts earlier today and sent a distress call, and which point it was contacted by US naval assets who streamed to the area to monitor the confrontation. The vessel was ordered to sail into Iranian waters and refused, at which point the Iranians fired shots across her bow, and the master complied. It’s now in the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.

There is a dispute over whether the M/V Maersk Tigris was in international waters when it was initially intercepted. The Pentagon seems to have told journalists this morning that it was transiting through Iranian territorial waters. Defense analysts are posting maps showing otherwise (https://twitter.com/PatMegahan/status/593073911786377216).

A few things you’re likely to be hearing as the afternoon kicks off:

(1) The U.S. is treaty-bound to defend the security of the Marshall Islands. To what extent will the US be obligated to act in response to functionally unspinnable Iranian aggression? Keep in mind that in two weeks the President will be personally in a room floating security assurances to the Gulf, promising that the U.S. will protect them from future Iranian aggression.

The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) is a sovereign nation. While the government is free to conduct its own foreign relations, it does so under the terms of the Compact. The United States has full authority and responsibility for security and defense of the Marshall Islands, and the Government of the Marshall Islands is obligated to refrain from taking actions that would be incompatible with these security and defense responsibilities. (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/26551.htm)

(2) The administration just wrapped up a week of insisting that under no circumstances would it allow Iran to interfere with shipping in the area. It’s unclear how that can be reconciled with what the Iranians just did.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, April 21: “principal goal of this operation is to maintain freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea… would send a clear signal about our continued insistence about the free flow of commerce and the freedom of movement in the region… this is a clear statement about our commitment to ensuring the free flow of commerce in this important region of the world” (https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/04/21/press-briefing-press-secretary-josh-earnest-4212015)

State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf, April 21: “I think the Defense Department may have already addressed this in their briefing today, but there were reports about these U.S. ships that have been moved. And I want to be very clear, just so no one has the wrong impression, that they are not there to intercept Iranian ships, to do issues like that; that the purpose of moving them is only to ensure the shipping lanes remain open and safe. I think there was some misreporting and confusion on this, and I just wanted to be very clear.” (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2015/04/240950.htm)

Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren, April 21: “[U.S. warships] are operating [in the Arabian Sea] with a very clear mission to ensure that shipping lanes remain open, to ensure there’s freedom of navigation through those critical waterways, and to help ensure maritime security…By having U.S. ships in the region, we…preserve options should the security situation deteriorate to the point where there is a problem or a threat to freedom of navigation or to the shipping lanes or to overall maritime security.” (http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=128634)

(3) What the hell are the Iranians doing playing chicken with the U.S. Navy on the same day that the full Senate takes up debate on Corker-Menendez? Business Insider’s national security and military editor Armin Rosen had one of the early lines on this:

Whatever else is going on, IRGCN just baited a Burke-class US destroyer into a confrontation in the world’s busiest oil choke point. (https://twitter.com/ArminRosen/status/593076865922891779)