Pandering to the Persians

Has Obama already given the nod to Iran to pursue nuclear weapons?

In April 2009, Barack Hussein Obama curtsied (some observers called it a “deep bow”) to his royal highness, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, king of Saudi Arabia.  Middle East protocol experts were clear that this was an unnecessary gesture, and that a simple handshake would have sufficed.  The White House denied the curtsy, but videos and photos of the gesture zapped around the Internet telling the truth to anyone interested.   King Abdullah’s only two claims to fame are the two sacred cities of Islam and about 25% of the world’s oil.  One can only wonder which of the Saudi king’s two assets evoked Obama’s obeisance.

It is now beginning to look like this unnecessary, uncalled for, awkward but perhaps telling bit of subservience by the president of the world’s strongest country, the commander-in-chief of the world’s most powerful army, and the leader of the free world, to a jihadist Islamo-fascist, imperialist, supremacist, totalitarian, tyrannical, triumphalist, theocratic, apartheid, misogynistic, terrorist-supporting ruler of a petty sheikhdom, may have been a harbinger of future subservience.

Flash forward two years.  A soon-to-be nuclear Iran threatens the entire world, Muslim and Christian, Occident and Orient, and of course Israel and the United States. Yet, during these past two years, Obama has consistently chosen political theatre over substantive action to prevent Iran’s progress toward WMD capacity; a course of action decidedly contrary to the political and economic and security interests of the USA and the free world.  As is clear from the obvious fact that neither Russia nor China nor North Korea will join other nations in imposing economic sanctions on Iran, the much vaunted UN sanctions will in no way impede Iran’s nuclear program.

As Congresspersons Tom Price (R-GA) and Trent Franks (R-AZ) explained:1

There is no ban on investment in Iran's petroleum sector. With one exception, there is no ban on banking with Iran, foreign investment in Iranian bonds, insurance for Iranian shipping, or the provision of trade credits to Iran. In short, the resolution will cause minimal economic hardship for the regime, and, like the preceding three U.N. measures, will do little or nothing to impede the regime's march toward a nuclear military capability. Those provisions that in some way restrict Iran's conduct are easily circumvented through the use of front organizations and alternate banking relations.

In order to pass this resolution, the Obama administration, due to long-standing objections from Russia and China, jettisoned every proposal that might actually harm Iran's economy.

The House version of the decidedly tougher Iran Sanctions Act (ISA, H.R. 2194) would, in contrast to the U.N. resolution, accomplish the following: It would fully implement and enforce the 1996 ISA law to encourage foreign governments to direct that all state-owned and privately-owned entities cease all investment in and support for Iran's energy sector and all exports of refined petroleum to Iran, and would impose sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran and any other bank in Iran that is engaged in proliferation activities or support of terrorist groups. The House bill would also greatly restrict the use of the President's waiver authority. For more information on H.R. 2194, click here to review the RSC analysis of the legislation.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration requested that Congress not debate the Iran Sanctions Act until after passage of the U.N. resolution. By putting ISA on the back burner, the Obama administration delayed progress on sanctions with actual substance, opting instead to throw its full support behind the decidedly weaker Security Council resolution, presumably in hopes of obtaining a "public relations victory" following passage of toothless U.N. sanctions (emphasis added).

Did Obama so highly value a PR victory that he would subordinate America’s strategic security needs to his political image?  Back in June 2010, it looked like Obama preferred form over substance, rather than a determined effort to stop Iran’s seemingly inexorable march toward nuclear power: either that or he wanted Iran to win. Today it looks much more like he wants Iran to win.

The EU sanctions approved last month (December 2012) are condemned by some of the most astute Middle East analysts as a sham, slowing but not stopping Iran’s nuclear work, and thus so ineffectual that they look more like a subterfuge to give Iran more time to achieve its goals, at which point Iran will have the bomb and sanctions will become irrelevant.

So now the only hope for truly crippling sanctions against Iran is the U.S. Congress.  But Obama is secretly pressuring Congress to water down the belated, but hopefully still effective, measures to impose serious and hard-hitting economic sanctions on Iran, even though (or perhaps precisely because) the mere threat of these stiffer and more crippling sanctions seems to be working.

As explained:2

The current sanctions language at the center of the closed door debate is the amendment by Sens. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ), which passed the Senate by a rare 100-0 vote over the very public objections of top Obama administration officials. The amendment would direct the Obama administration to take punitive measures against foreign banks that do business with the CBI, but gives the administration more leeway to implement the sanctions than Kirk's original language.

The administration urged Kirk and Menendez to come up with a compromise amendment but then came out against that very compromise last week, angering and alienating Menendez, who needs to be tough on the issue ahead of his re-election bid next year.

The Cable has obtained the administration's private communications to the conferees spelling out the changes they want to the Kirk-Menendez amendment; they can be found here and here. Basically, the administration wants to delay the implementation of sanctions not related to oil purchases from 60 to 180 days, and wants to water down the severity of sanctions measures if and when they are put into effect (emphasis added).

But even as our president pressures Congress to make it easier for Iran to achieve its WMD goals, Iran claims that Obama has sent a secret message to the Iranian government in which he told them that he does not want to impose meaningful sanctions and that he respects Iran’s right to nuclear power.  The mullahs made this message public in order to embarrass Obama and show their own just how powerful Iran is: even the leader of the free world cowers before Iranian threats.

According to the Fars News Agency, which is close to the Revolutionary Guards, the vice chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission alleged that Swiss Ambassador Livia Leu Agosti informed Iranian officials that Obama recognizes Iran’s right of access to, and use of, nuclear technology. The Iranian Foreign Ministry disclosed that Iran had received this message through three different channels: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, handed a letter to her Iranian counterpart; the Swiss ambassador conveyed the same message in Tehran; while Iraqi President Jalal Talabani delivered the same message to Iranian officials in Baghdad. Obviously Obama really wants the mullahs to get his message.

In this secret missive, Obama explains to the Iranian government that the USA and Iran share mutual interests, that the USA will not take action against the Iranian Islamic regime, that he respects Iran’s right to nuclear power, and that he will not shut down the Iranian banks still operating in the West.

If the information disclosed by the Iranian government is correct, one must conclude that Obama is literally pandering to Iran, and agitating within his own government to place Iran’s state priorities ahead of America’s, despite his oath of office and despite the peril that awaits the Middle East and the free world if Iran achieves its WMD priorities.

During war time, this is treason.

End Notes

1. Republican Study Committee (RSC): National Security Working Group, Congressman Tom Price (R-GA) & Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ), June 21, 2010.  Special Policy Brief: President Obama's "Crippling" Iran Sanctions: Rhetoric or Realism?

2. Foreign Policy, Jan 23, 2012, Josh Rogin, “Inside the conference negotiations on Iran sanctions”; and cf. also:"; http://pjmedia.com143918903X; and

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