I began writing this post, earlier today, by talking about imponderables, and then focusing on Obama policy with regard to Iran — which policy leaves many of us confused, frustrated, and angry. Following through, I posed a series of questions, all exceedingly valid:
Did he ever REALLY believe that Iran would be receptive to dialogue and compromise?
Has he been blinded to ominous Iranian realities because he is so solidly wedded to a philosophy that demands resolution of all conflicts via dialogue? Or because he is so intent on courting the Muslim world? Or because he rejects long-standing notions of America as moral cop and pretends to ignore what he doesn’t wish to deal with? Or because he wants to keep Russia — which is not predisposed to sanctions — happy? Or for some other as yet unspecified reason?
How does he justify the virtual slap in the face he delivered to the rebels in the streets of Iran, who pleaded for American support, after the election? (These dissidents, it should be noted, have just renewed their call for assistance from the US: Mohsen Makhmalbaf, spokesman for a key Iranian opposition movement has asked Obama to publicly demonstrate support for Iranian democrats and intensify financial pressure on the Revolutionary Guard.)
Acknowledging that I have no satisfactory answers, I moved beyond these questions to the present: We’ve passed the time limit Obama had originally set for Iran to accept a proposal — as imperfect and dubious as it was — for shifting the situation and thereby reducing the threat of Iranian development of nuclear weapons. What is more, the West is now in possession of additional evidence regarding Iranian duplicity and hidden nuclear facilities. (Additional evidence, as if we didn’t already know it, that you cannot trust these guys.)
In the face of this, it has been generally acknowledged that it’s time to get tough with Iran.
And so last Thursday Obama issued a statement in this regard:
“Iran has taken weeks now and has not shown its willingness to say yes to this proposal…and so as a consequence we have begun discussions with our international partners about the importance of having consequences.”
What? “As a consequence we have begun discussing…the importance of having consequences”? How tepid and wishy-washy (and convoluted) could he get? Sort of like a mother, saying to her misbehaving child, “I’m going to discuss this with your father, and then you’ll see, you may be in big trouble.”
Obama’s explanation was distressing: “Our expectation is that, over the next several weeks, we will be developing a package of potential steps that we could take, that would indicate our seriousness to Iran,” he said. Potential steps? Nothing definitive there.
But some weeks ago Israel had urged the US to have sanction plans in place, so that once it was clear that Iran was not cooperating, they could be immediately activated. But Obama — Oi! — had not wanted to do this because it would send a negative message to the Iranians when he was reaching out a hand to them. He didn’t like a carrot and stick policy: he wanted to be all carrot. So now Iran has more time, while sanctions are “discussed.”
Obama’s position is that Iran’s intransigency will increase the willingness of the international community to resort to punitive measures.
Israel is urging that sanctions be applied that would deny Iran any nuclear fuel capabilities. And Israel is further urging that if the international community won’t get serious the US should act alone.
But here’s the kicker, which has just come to my attention:
In 1983, 241 US Marines were killed in the bombing of a barracks in Lebanon. It has taken many years to track, and to bring through the courts, but in 2007 a US federal judge ruled that Iran was liable for $2.65 billion in damages in the bombing, to be shared by 150 families seeking restitution. Lawyers for the families have been working to seize Iranian assets so that payments could be made.
However, the Obama government is going to court to try to block this, because (are you ready?) it would “jeopardize sensitive negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program and establish a potentially damaging precedent.” (emphasis added)
Here’s a chance to zap it to Iran, big time, and Obama would rather not do it.
I confess, professional cool went out the window with this and I couldn’t draw a breath.
And so, now that I’m breathing again, I must ask my final set of questions:
Is the president of the US daft? And, if not, precisely what is he about?
Lastly, where is America, that all this could be happening?
Let me add information shared by Barry Rubin in his most recent posting:
A correspondent in Iraq has interviewed the commander of US troops there, and sent the dispatch via Reuters. Said this commander, al-Qaeda, which is fighting in Iraq, has joined forces with previous supporters of Saddam Hussein (former Ba’athists, who made off with considerable funds from Iraq). And the site of rendezvous is Syria.
According to US General Ray Odierno, “Investigations into massive suicide bombings in Baghdad on Oct. 25, in which more than 150 people died, indicated that explosives or fighters were coming across from Syria.”
Explains Rubin: “Syria is letting al-Qaeda and Saddamist terrorists come in, get armed and trained, cross the border [to] Iraq, and run back for safe haven.”
Taking it one step further, Rubin observed: “As U.S. forces withdraw someone is trying to wreck the situation there so that the US departure looks like defeat.”
The general confirms this: “We believe that there will be attempts to conduct more attacks between now and the elections because they want to destabilize those.”
Just as I’ve asked questions, Rubin also does:
“So, the Obama Administration’s military commander says Syria is behind massive attacks and working closely with Osama bin Laden’s guys.
“Has the president of the United States said anything about this? Has he made any criticism of Syria? Is he ready to break off engagement efforts with the dictatorship? Has he [responded to] Iraqi government requests for backing in demanding Syria stop facilitating such attacks and turn over those Iraqis responsible?
“No, no, no, and again no.
“If the Obama Administration is fighting a war against al-Qaeda why is Syria, today that group‘s main organizational and military base in the Middle East, getting away with allying to the people who murdered 3,000 Americans on September 11?
“If the Obama Administration is fighting a war in Iraq why is it doing nothing about the main ally of the insurgents killing American soldiers and so many Iraqi civilians…?
“…There is an old expression about fighting with one hand tied behind your back. The Obama Administration is waging a foreign policy with both hands tied behind its back, plugs in its ears, and a gag over its mouth.” (emphasis added)
My friends, get this information to your Senators and Congresspersons without delay.
For your Congresspersons:
For your Senators:
Keep the explanations short, and provide URLs. Act to redeem this situation before it is too late.
“The Good News Corner”
A sophisticated research ship has been launched in Eilat, at the Institute for Marine Sciences. Hebrew University, Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, and a number of other agencies and private donors have cooperatively made this possible. Profession Aaron Kaplan, who heads the Institute explains, that this will greatly advance Israeli marine research — especially with regard to unique organisms found in the Gulf of Eilat. Such research has increased value in recent years as marine biological models are used for medical research.
Professor Meir Liebergall, chairman of the orthopedics department of Hadassah Medical Center, Ein Kerem campus,and Professor Eithan Galum, have announced a new technique that involves a “breakthrough in concept and overcomes major scientific and logistical problems.”
For the very first time ever, platelets and adult stem cells from the blood and bone marrow of patients with fractures have been separated and then injected into the patients, causing bones to heal in a quarter to a third of the time it usually takes, and permitting healing to occur that in some instances wouldn’t have otherwise been possible at all.
The technique has been developed over the course of years.
Eye from Zion is an Israeli non-profit that sends volunteers into developing nations to do cataract surgery and restore people’s sight. All money donated to the organization is used to cover expenses; none of the dozens of volunteers surgeons involved takes payment. The group brings its own equipment, sets up a clinic, and starts operating. Many hundreds of operations have been done in such places as Vietnam, China and Azerbaijan.