When it comes to Iran, all Rhodes lead back to Obama.
Iranian general Qassem Soleymani was a master terrorist who orchestrated atrocities around the world that claimed thousands of lives, including hundreds if not thousands of Americans. That was the default position after President Trump took out Soleymani last week. The Democrats’ furious reaction overlooked realities about the Iranian regime in general and Soleymani in particular.
Israel had also targeted the Quds Force commander, but according to the Kuwaiti Al-Jarida, the Obama administration tipped off the Tehran regime. Soleymani emerged unscathed and continued to spearhead the Islamic regime’s military and terrorist operations. Those were funded by criminal activity, and on that front the previous administration also lent a helping hand.
“In its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States.” That was the finding of a Politico investigation by Josh Meyer. In 2010, Meyer recalled, John Brennan, then a presidential adviser on homeland security and counterterrorism, announced plans to build up “moderate” elements within Hezbollah, which he described as “an interesting organization.”
In 2008, the United States launched “Project Cassandra” against Hezbollah, but as U.S. agents targeted the terrorist hierarchy, “Obama administration officials threw an increasingly insurmountable series of roadblocks in its way.” As Meyer found, officials in the Justice and Treasury Departments rejected requests for investigations, prosecutions, arrests and financial sanctions.
This was all to make way for the Iran deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. A key JCPA promoter was Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, on the White House National Security Council from 2014 to 2016. Like Hezbollah, she too was “interesting.”
Nowrouzzadeh put in time with the National Iranian-American Council, friendly to the Iranian regime. That proved no obstacle to a position in the State Department, which approved Nowrouzzadeh’s anti-Trump articles such as “Trump’s Dangerous Shift on Iran,” in Foreign Affairs.
Nowrouzzadeh’s primary defender was White House NSC staffer Ben Rhodes, profiled by Tom Ricks in a December 28, 2017 Foreign Policy piece headlined, “A stunning profile of Ben Rhodes, the asshole who is the president’s foreign policy guru.” In his elephantine The World As It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House, Rhodes notes Nowrouzzadeh’s service with “an organization that advocated for diplomacy in Iran.” Rhodes brings Sahar into his office and says “We just can’t let them win,” without citing any opponents and why they rejected the deal.
After Trump’s hit on Soleimani, Nowrouzzadeh stayed on the quiet side. Not so Ben Rhodes, who tweeted that Trump “may have just started a war with no congressional debate” and warned of “ serious escalation to come.” Further, “Trump’s cartoonish incompetence has let the total failure of his signature natsec policies - Iran, North Korea, Venezuela - escape political and media scrutiny. But the real world consequences are now obvious.”
Tom Rogan of the Washington Examiner wondered “why does anyone listen to Ben Rhodes’s foreign policy opinions?” Thanks to Rhodes and company, “Iran has been able to use new business deals and sanctions relief to export its fanatical revolution.” Rogan recalls that Rhodes also “masterminded Obama’s supplication to Cuba” a move that “strengthened the Communist dictatorship without extracting any significant improvements to its human rights policy.”
The hit on Soleymani drew comparisons to the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi. White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice blamed that attack, which killed four Americans, on an internet video. After Trump’s action last week, Rice told reporters “this administration sadly, tragically, has a record of almost-daily misrepresenting the facts, telling falsehoods about issues big and very small.”
The previous administration, Rice said, never had an opportunity to strike at Soleymani and now “the risk of direct conflict and sustained conflict with Iran – a war – has gone up immeasurably.” And so on, with no support from her former White House boss. POTUS 44, formerly known as Barry Soetoro, never went on record about tipping off Soleymani, quashing the campaign against Hezbollah criminality, and betraying democratic forces within Iran.
As Eli Lake noted in 2016, the president wanted a nuclear deal so bad that he let Iran’s “green revolution” fail. The president feared the demonstrators would “sabotage his secret outreach to Iran” and he “overruled advisers who wanted to do what America had done at similar transitions from dictatorship to democracy, and signal America’s support.”
Looking back, anyone could be forgiven for believing the previous administration was an asset for the Iranian regime, which never stopped chanting “death to America,” “Death to Israel,” and so forth. With POTUS 44, it was always your country, right or wrong.
In the 2017 Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama, official biographer David Garrow proclaimed Dreams from My Father a work of fiction and its author a “composite character.”
This composite character was president of the United States for eight years, and at home and abroad the damage assessments are still coming in. As President Trump says, we’ll have to see what happens.