Saturday, October 21, 2017

 Iran – Will the US Congress rise to the challenge
Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, October 21, 2017,       

President Trump's refusal to recertify that Iran's Ayatollahs comply with the July 14, 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal Framework (JCPOA), and that the agreement is in the US national security interest, removed the Ayatollahs' peaceful "screen saver" and laid the ground to expose the Ayatollahs' rogue reality. 

President Trump acted in accordance with the May 22, 2015 bi-partisan Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which was enacted - in defiance of President Obama's opposition - with a veto-override majority.  

On the other hand, the multinational JCPOA – which produced unprecedented tailwind to Iran's revolutionary goals - was engineered by President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry, along with the other permanent members of the UN Security Council (Russia, China, Britain and France), Germany and the European Union.

President Trump's non-certification provides Congress with an opportunity to reclaim its constitutional role as a co-equal and co-determining branch of government, while exposing the inherently rogue Ayatollahs, who have intensified instability, unpredictability, subversion, terrorism and wars in the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Peninsula, the Middle East at-large, Africa, Asia and other parts of the globe.

According to the first Article of the US Constitution, as documented in a following paragraph, the power of the US Congress is not limited to legislation and appropriation, but extends to oversight and review of the Executive Branch on the domestic and national security fronts: "Congress shall have power to… provide for the common defence.... Define and punish…offences against the law of nations. Declare war….raise and support Armies…. Provide and maintain a Navy. Make…regulations of the land and naval forces…. Suppress insurrections and repel invasions…."

Moreover, the second Article of the US Constitution provides the President with the power to commit the US to treaties with foreign entities - such as the JCPOA - but only with the advice and consent (ratification) of two thirds of the Senate. In 2017, the US Senate can reclaim this power which was dismissed, in 2015, by President Obama and conceded by Congress.

Congress demonstrated its posture as the world's most powerful legislature, and its co-equal role in the shaping of the US national security policy, during many critical junctions in recent US history.  For example, the Senate has refused to ratify President Clinton's 1999 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; Congress prevented the supply of AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) to Iran on the eve of the Ayatollah Khomeini revolution; the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV), foiled President Obama's attempts to close down the Guantanamo detention camp; Congress authorized the 1991 and 2003 wars against Iraq; Congress terminated the US military involvement in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia (the Eagleton, Cooper and Church Amendments), Angola (the Clark Amendment) and Nicaragua (the Boland Amendment; Congress overrode President Reagan's veto, bringing down South Africa's white regime; Congress overhauled the US intelligence community (Senator Church's and Congressman Pike's Committees); Congress  - in defiance of President Nixon – forced the USSR/Russia to allow free emigration (the Jackson-Vanik Amendment); etc..

When examining the impact of the JCPOA on the US national security, Congress should assess the dramatic erosion of the US posture of deterrence, as reflected by the surging geo-strategic posture of Russia. Both the Ayatollahs, as well as the pro-US Arab countries - especially Saudi Arabia, which recently concluded critical military transactions with Russia - consider the signing of the 2015 Agreement a reflection of unprecedentedly slackened US strategic reliability. 

Congress should scrutinize the Ayatollahs' systematic anti-US conduct since their 1979 toppling of the pro-US Shah, including their annual commemoration of the November 1979 takeover of the US Embassy in Teheran, which is highlighted by the theme of "Death to America."

Congress should investigate the Ayatollahs' school curriculum - the most authentic reflection of their mission and tactics, depicting the US as "the arrogant, idolatrous, modern-day crusader, infidel, oppressor, Great Satan." Grade 12 Iranian students are taught – in "Religion and Life," pages 103 and 104 – that dissimulation and tenuous pacts with "un-Godly governments" – such as the US - are proper, but only until the balance of power shifts in favor of the "believers."  Furthermore, the need for child martyrdom, during the apocalyptic battle against the US, is intensively inculcated in all twelve grades.   
Downplaying the significance of the Ayatollahs' school curriculum – lest it undermine the pursuit of an agreement – would catapult Iran to an imperial position, and possibly usher in the first nuclear war.

While the US has rolled-back its sanctions on Iran, the Ayatollahs have rolled-forward their drive to evict the US from the Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula through subversive, terroristic and military attempts of regime-change in pro-US Arab countries in the Persian Gulf – most notably Saudi Arabia and Bahrain - and beyond.

The mega-financial benefits from the JCOPA have enabled the Ayatollahs to expand their presence in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, posing a growing threat to the pro-US regime in Jordan, while bolstering their presence in Africa and in Latin America, including Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and the terror-ridden tri-border region of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.

On the nuclear front – while rejecting US demands to allow international inspectors to visit military sites - the Ayatollahs have tightened their ballistic and nuclear collaboration with North Korea, co-developing and test-firing nuclear and ballistic technologies and systems, which may also be purchased. It allows circumvention of the monitoring of nuclear programs in Iran.

In 1978/79, the US energized the Khomeini Revolution, which transformed Iran from "the US policeman in the Gulf" to the US nightmare in the Middle East. In 2017, a determined Congressional oversight, and the resurrection of the US posture of deterrence – not diplomacy – could spare the globe of a most rogue anti-US regime and a potential nuclear war.

by Alan M. Dershowitz October 19, 2017

The evidence is mounting that Iran is not only violating the spirit of the no-nukes deal, but that it is also violating its letter. The prologue to the deal explicitly states: "Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons." This reaffirmation has no sunset provision: it is supposed to be forever.

Yet German officials have concluded that Iran has not given up on its goal to produce nuclear weapons that can be mounted on rockets. According to Der Tagesspiegel, a Berlin newspaper:

"Despite the nuclear agreement [reached with world powers in July 2015], Iran has not given up its illegal activities in Germany. The mullah regime also made efforts this year to obtain material from [German] firms for its nuclear program and the construction of missiles, said security sources."

Frank Jansen, a prominent journalist, has reported that the "Revolutionary Guards want to continue the nuclear program at all costs."

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently stated that it could not verify that Iran was "fully implementing the agreement" by not engaging in activities that would allow it to make a nuclear explosive device. Yukiya Amano of the IAEA told Reuters that when it comes to inspections – which are stipulated in section T of the agreement – "our tools are limited." Amano continued to say: "In other sections, for example, Iran has committed to submit declarations, place their activities under safeguards or ensure access by us. But in Section T I don't see any (such commitment)."

It is well established that Tehran has consistently denied IAEA inspectors' access to military sites and other research locations. This is in direct contravention to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and bipartisan legislation set out by Congress, which compels the president to verify that "Iran is transparently, verifiably, and fully implementing the agreement." Yet, according to the Institute for Science and International Security, as of the last quarterly report released in August, the IAEA had not visited any military site in Iran since implementation day.

For its part, the IAEA has been complicit in allowing Tehran to circumvent the agreement and act as a law unto itself. Consider that after the deal was negotiated with the P5+1 nations, it was revealed that Tehran and the IAEA had entered into a secret agreement which allowed the Iranian regime to carry out its own nuclear trace testing at the Parchin complex – a site long suspected of being a nuclear testing ground – and would report back to the IAEA with 'selective' videos and photos. This arrangement – which went behind the back of Congress – is especially suspect when considered in light of the Iranian regime's history of duplicity.

To be sure, revelations about Iran testing the boundaries of the JCPOA – and crossing the line into violation – are not new. While many of these violations have not been disclosed by the previous U.S. administration, or by the IAEA, there is a myriad of information and analysis suggesting that Iran has previously failed to comply with several provisions of the JCPOA. It has twice been revealed that Iran exceeded the cap on heavy water mandated by the agreement, and has also refused to allow testing of its carbon fiber acquired before the deal was implemented. Moreover, it has also been reported that Tehran has found new ways to conduct additional mechanical testing of centrifuges, in clear violation of the JCPOA.

These violations are not surprising when considering Iran's belligerent posture in the Middle East. Iran continues to exploit the instability in the region to prop up and fund terror groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis, whose chants of "Death to Israel" are now also accompanied by vows of "Death to America." For its part, the Iranian-funded Hezbollah has an estimated 100,000 missiles aimed directly at Israel. As such, it is clear that rather than combatting Iran's threatening posture, the influx of money thrust into the Iranian economy, coupled with ambiguities in the text of the agreement, have had the reverse effect of emboldening the Iranian regime and fortifying its hegemonic ambitions. Iran also continues to test its vast ballistic missile program and deny its own people fundamental human rights.

Yet, even if Iran were to comply with the letter of the nuclear agreement, it would still be able to build up a vast nuclear arsenal within a relatively short timeframe. The approach adopted by the Trump administration – articulated in a statement delivered by the president several days ago – is justified by the realities on the ground. By announcing that he is decertifying Iran's compliance with the nuclear agreement, President Trump is giving Congress 60-days to act. Not only is President Trump giving the United States back some of its leverage, but he is also sending a powerful message to the rogue leaders in Iran and North Korea – who are believed to have cooperated on missile technology – that the era of containment and deterrence policies is over. The United States is returning to its original mission of prevention.

Interestingly, in the aftermath of President Trump's address, the Saudi Press Agency reported that King Salman called the U.S. President to offer his support for America's more "firm strategy" on Iran and commitment to fighting "Iranian aggression." Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, offered similar praise for the new U.S. posture, saying in a statement that President Trump "has created an opportunity to fix this bad deal, to roll back Iran's aggression and to confront its criminal support of terrorism." It is no secret that these two previously discordant states are now cooperating in unprecedented ways as they try to counter the threat posed by a nuclear Iran. When Israel and the Gulf States are on the same page, the world should listen.

The Saudi Press Agency reported that King Salman called President Trump to offer his support for America's more "firm strategy" on Iran and commitment to fighting "Iranian aggression." Pictured above: President Trump and King Salman of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. (Image source: The White House)

There are those that argue that by decertifying, President Trump has undercut American credibility and sent a message to the world that it can't count on one American president following through on deals made by his predecessor. But the fault for that lies squarely with President Obama who refused not only to make his deal a binding treaty, but also to seek any congressional approval – both of which would have assured greater continuity. He knew when he signed the deal that it could be undone by any future president.

The goal, of course, is not to undo the deal but rather to undo its sunset provision and to make Iran keep the commitment it made in the prologue: never to obtain "any nuclear weapons."

The available evidence now strongly supports the conclusion that Iran is not keeping that commitment: that it is determined to develop a nuclear arsenal capable of being mounted on intercontinental ballistic missiles. If the current deal is not changed, it is likely that Iran will become the new North Korea – or worse – before very long.

Alan M. Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus, at Harvard Law School and author of, Trumped Up! How Criminalization of Political Differences Endangers Democracy, which is now available.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

James Mattis: Trump Never Asked for More Nukes, Rex Never Called Him a Moron

Secretary of Defense James Mattis flatly denied that President Donald J. Trump ever requested ten times more nuclear weapons. He also says that Secretary Rex Tillerson never called the commander-in-chief a “moron”.

"There was no discussion with that tone or that content that I recall in the Pentagon or at any other time," Mattis told reporters during an impromptu visit to the Pentagon press area. "I will even remove that I recall. I think I would recall a conversation about doubling or ten times the nukes, Okay. I've never had that discussion."

"If I had gotten word like that I surely would have asked for a meeting to go back over and say whether or not I thought it was good idea," Mattis said.

As to whether or not Rex Tillerson actually called President Trump a moron, Mattis denies that as well.

"I was right there so anyone who says that he called someone a moron, I mean, I was there with him the whole way and that never happened," Mattis said.

The Pitch That ‘Made The State Of Israel Possible’
By Francine Klagsbrun  October 10, 2017


In 1948,  the Jews in Palestine were facing certain destruction.

Unfortunately, a large element of American Jews as represented by the Council for Judaism were adamantly opposed to the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. They supported the American embargo which prevented armaments, ammunition, communications equipment, vehicles, etc. from being sent to support the Jews in Palestine who were  then under withering attack from the Arabs

Also unfortunately, a large element of the American foreign policy establishment  believed in practicing "realpolitik". This meant placating the large, energy-rich, Arab world. As a consequence, it also meant acquiescing to the continued murder of Jews.

Move forward 69 years  to 2017 and what is changed?  There is a large element of American Jews as represented by J St., Jewish Voice for Peace, Peace Now, etc. that are hostile to the existence of a Jewish state in Palestine [Israel] and large elements in the American foreign policy establishment that believes in practicing "realpolitik". This means placating large energy-rich Arab world. As a consequence it means placing continued pressure on Israel to make security threatening concessions which also means acquiescing in the continued murder of Jews.

The Pitch That ‘Made The State Of Israel Possible’
By Francine Klagsbrun  October 10, 2017

In January of 1948, Golda Meir, in a plain dark dress, without a speck of makeup, came before a roomful of well-heeled UJA donors. The fate of a nation was riding on it.

One of the more dramatic successes of Golda Meir took place in the United States, when she was sent by David Ben-Gurion in January 1948 on a desperate mission: to raise funds to finance the fighting taking place in Palestine, with Jerusalem under a deadly siege. Ben-Gurion wanted to go himself, but Meir, who was a member of the inner circle of the pre-state leadership, helped convince him she could accomplish what others had failed to do in raising $7 million. On her arrival in New York, Meir took the advice of her sister, Clara, to try to speak at the annual conference of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, meeting at the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago.

The person to arrange that was Henry Montor, executive vice-chairman of the United Jewish Appeal (UJA). Golda knew of Montor but had never met him. Three years earlier, in 1945, he had gathered a group of 17 wealthy Jewish businessmen to meet with Ben-Gurion, then visiting New York, at the apartment of the millionaire Rudolf G. Sonneborn. At the meeting, the group formed a secret “club” to raise money and purchase armaments and equipment for the future state. During the next several years, the “Sonneborn Institute,” its cover name, contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars toward buying and stockpiling military materials, to be shipped later to Palestine.

Montor was in Chicago when Golda arrived in the States. He knew little about her except that in the past she had been “an impecunious, unimportant representative, a “schnorrer,’” who stayed in people’s houses instead of hotels. Now she arrived “without a dime in her pocketbook even to take a taxi” and wanted to speak at the federation conference. Out of concern for Israel, he pressured the federation to fit her into a luncheon spot on Sunday, January 25, 1948, when the big donors would be present. But how was he going to sell her to that well-heeled crowd?

Present at the creation: In “Lioness,” Francine Klagsbrun chronicles the arc of Golda Meir’s life, from Milwaukee to the halls of the Knesset. KLAGSBRUN CREDIT: Joan Roth
For two days, a snowstorm shut down airports and stalled trains, but during a brief break in the weather on Saturday, Golda found a plane to carry her to Chicago, probably the only one to leave that day. She had not been to the States in ten years. Although reports about her had appeared in American newspapers from time to time, she was hardly a household name. “I was terribly afraid of going to these people who didn’t know me from Adam,” she recalled. “I admit I was shaking.  I had no idea what was going to happen.”

It could not have been easy to meet Montor either. At 42, almost eight years younger than she, he had a reputation as a demon when it came to fund-raising. In 1946, he had set a goal of $100 million for the UJA, the largest campaign of any Jewish organization in history, anywhere in the world, and met it. After that he became for other fundraisers “a Pied Piper. He played the tune and we all danced.” Impatient, seemingly always in motion, his dark eyes snapping, Montor didn’t suffer fools gladly. He was giving Golda this opportunity. She sensed that she had to live up to it or there would be no others.

She delivered her talk without notes, her favorite form of public speaking. “Friends,” she said, looking out at the audience in the way she had of making every listener feel personally addressed. “The mufti and his people have declared war upon us. We have no alternative but … to fight for our lives, for our safety, for what we have accomplished in Palestine, for Jewish honor, for Jewish independence.” She told them of the young people, seventeen- and eighteen-year-olds, Haganah members, who fearlessly escorted Jews over the dangerous road from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and of others, more than twenty thousand young men and women, who registered to join the military organization. She told them of the 35 who “fought to the very end” on the road to Kfar Etzion and of the last one killed. He had run out of ammunition but died with a stone in his hand, prepared to continue fighting.

The Jewish community in Palestine “is going to fight to the very end” also, she said. “If we have something to fight with, we will fight with that, and if not, we will fight with stones.” The spirit of the young people fighting remained high, she related, but “this spirit alone cannot face rifles and machine guns. Rifles and machine guns without spirit are not worth very much, but spirit without arms can in time be broken with the body.” They needed arms and they needed them immediately.

“Our problem is time,” she emphasized. “Millions of dollars that we may get in three or four months will mean very little in deciding the present issue. The question is what can we get immediately. And, my friends, when I say immediately, this does not mean next month. It does not mean two months from now. It means now.”

She considered herself “not as a guest, but as one of you,” she told them, repeating the word “friends” several times. And without apology, she gave them the sum of between 25 and 30 million dollars in cash the yishuv needed in the next few weeks.

Prime Minister Golda Meir with Ambassador Yitzchak Rabin on board an El Al flight from Milwaukee to New York in February 1969. Wikimedia Commons

“We are not a better breed; we are not the best Jews of the Jewish people,” she said. “It so happened we are there and you are here. I am certain that if you were in Palestine and we were in the United States, you would be doing what we are doing there.”  Paraphrasing Winston Churchill, she promised that the yishuv in Palestine “will fight in the Negev and will fight in Galilee and will fight on the outskirts of Jerusalem until the very end.”

In closing, she gave the audience its charge: “You cannot decide whether we should fight or not. We will … That decision is taken.  Nobody can change it. You can only decide one thing: whether we shall be victorious in this fight or whether the mufti will be victorious. That decision American Jews can make.”

And, a final reminder: “I beg of you — don’t be too late. Don’t be bitterly sorry three months from now for what you failed to do today. The time is now.”

The talk lasted 35 minutes. “The normal noises of a great crowd were paralyzed,” a contemporary report of the event said. When she finished, the audience rose to its feet, some people weeping openly while they applauded. “Sometimes things occur, for reasons you don’t know why,” Montor recalled, “you don’t know what combination of words has done it, but an electric atmosphere generates. People are ready to kill somebody or to embrace each other. And that is still vivid in my mind, that particular afternoon … She had swept the whole conference.”

In her plain dark dress, without a speck of makeup, her hair austerely parted in the middle and pulled tightly back, she seemed to some like a woman out of the Bible. Others marveled at her “genius” for speaking without a prepared text. Her pauses, one man noted, were as meaningful as the words she used. The Dallas delegation — strongly non-Zionist — became so fired up that its members planned to “get so much money they won’t know what to do with it.”

By any measure, Chicago had been a triumph; her speech one of the best in her life.

Editor’s note: The speech led to a whirlwind, cross-country fund-raising tour, 17 cities in the first two weeks, raising $20 million for the Jewish Agency, three times more than the initial goal.

In early March, Ben-Gurion wrote in his diary that “the only ray of light for the present is Golda’s success.”

On her return to Palestine on March 19, Ben-Gurion praised her: “Someday when history will be written, it will be said that there was a Jewish woman who got the money which made the state possible.”

Her only regret, she would say, was that she and those with her had not had the courage to ask for twice as much as they had. Next time she would not hesitate.

Saturday, October 14, 2017


President Trump’s refusal to certify that Iran is complying with its nuclear deal came after he “threw a fit,” according to a source of the Washington Post. The president was, the Post reported, “incensed by the arguments of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and others that the landmark 2015 deal, while flawed, offered stability and other benefits.” That left Mr. Trump, the Post’s source said, “furious. Really furious.”

Well, why shouldn’t Mr. Trump have been furious? The Post seems to suggest that he is somehow unstable, a line that’s being hawked by the New York Times. By our lights he was right to blow his celebrated stack. He had run for president, after all, on a bright line promise to exit the Iran deal. The deal itself was entered into by President Obama and Secretary Kerry with the full knowledge that both houses of Congress were against it.

Not only that, they plunged ahead in the face of warnings by, in Israel, our closest ally in the Middle East. Nor was it just Israel’s right-of-center government led by Prime Minister Netanyahu. It was also the left-of-center opposition, the Zionist Union, which warned against the appeasement. Yet someone in the Obama administration — our own theory is that it was the president, though Secretary Kerry denied that — set down Israel’s leader as “chickenshit.”

Plus, too, Messrs. Obama and Kerry took the aforementioned articles of appeasement and brought them to New York City, where they asked the United Nations Security Council to approve the deal. They voted in the Security Council against what they knew to be the wishes of our own United States Congress. So where did Secretaries Tillerson and Mattis come off trying to maneuver Mr. Trump into certifying a deal he’d specifically opposed in his campaign?

In announcing his decision, Mr. Trump went back to the 1979 revolution and marked that the rule of the ayatollahs was imposed on Iran against its will (and reimposed in 2009 as Islamist thugs crushed a democratic spring while an American president stayed mute and did nothing). Mr. Trump also marked Iran’s orchestration of the bombings of our embassy and our Marine barracks at Beirut in 1983 and the bombing of American military housing in Saudi Arabia.

Good for him. If he blew his stack at Messrs. Tillerson and Mattis, he nonetheless threaded a careful route forward. The most important feature of it is that he has dialed the Congress back into the process. It is the custodian most of the foreign policy powers granted to the government, including the centerpiece power to regulate Commerce with foreign nations. It’s no small thing for the president to return this question to the body that should have had a chance to ratify. Let us hope the Congress can rise to the task.


The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board   10-13-17

The House Intelligence Committee recently issued subpoenas to Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that paid for the dossier that contained allegations against then-candidate Donald Trump and ties to Russia. The dossier’s details have been either discredited or are unverified, but the document nonetheless framed the political narrative about Trump-Russian collusion that led to special counsel Robert Mueller.

Democrats and Fusion seem to care mostly that House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes issued the subpoenas, given that he officially recused himself from the Russia probe in April. But only the chairman is allowed to issue subpoenas, and Mr. Nunes did so at the request of Republican Mike Conaway, who is officially leading the probe.

The real question is why Democrats and Fusion seem not to want to tell the public who requested the dossier or what ties Fusion GPS boss Glenn Simpson had with the Russians in 2016. All the more so because congressional investigators have learned that Mr. Simpson was working for Russian clients at the same time he was working with Mr. Steele.

Americans deserve to know who paid Mr. Simpson for this work and if the Kremlin influenced the project. They also deserve to know if former FBI director James Comey relied on the dossier to obtain warrants to monitor the Trump campaign. If the Russians used disinformation to spur a federal investigation into a presidential candidate, that would certainly qualify as influencing an election.

The House committee also subpoenaed FBI documents about wiretap warrants more than a month ago but has been stonewalled. There is no plausible reason that senior leaders of Congress—who have top-level security clearance—can’t see files directly relevant to the question of Russian election interference.

Justice Department excuses about interfering with Mr. Mueller’s investigation don’t wash. Mr. Mueller is conducting a criminal probe, while Congress has a duty to oversee the executive branch. Both investigations can proceed simultaneously. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who supervises Mr. Mueller, needs to deputize specific Justice officials to handle Congress’s requests.

The media attacks on Mr. Nunes for issuing the subpoenas are a sign that he is onto something. He recused himself in April after complaints about his role bringing to light Obama Administration officials who “unmasked” and leaked the names of secretly wiretapped Trump officials. Mr. Nunes has since been vindicated as we’ve learned that former National Security Adviser Susan Rice and former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power did the unmasking. Yet Democrats on the House Ethics Committee have refused to clear Mr. Nunes—trying to keep him sidelined from the Russia probe.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley has also pursued the Fusion GPS trail, but he could use House backup. Speaker Paul Ryan needs to call on the Ethics Committee to render a quick decision on Mr. Nunes or allow him to resume his Russia investigation. Mr. Ryan should also prepare to have the House vote on a contempt citation if the Justice Department doesn’t supply subpoenaed documents.

Mr. Mueller will grind away at the Trump-Russia angle, but the story of Democrats, the Steele dossier and Jim Comey’s FBI also needs telling. Americans don’t need a Justice Department coverup abetted by Glenn Simpson’s media buddies.

Friday, October 13, 2017

IRAN DEAL 10-13-17

1.    Currently, a large number of  conventional school civilian foreign policy analysts  [ as represented by Reuel Marc Gerecht and  Ray Takeyh and military analysts with outstanding credentials as represented by  General Charles F. Wald, USAF (ret.) ] support Pres. Trump’s  refusing to certify that Iran is  in  compliance with the nuclear agreement

 Fatemeh Bolouri Kashani,  Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan’s widow  stated publicly that her late husband’s “ 24-hour a day driving passion  was  the destruction of Israel ” Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency interviewed Fatemeh Bolouri Kashanithe  widow of Mostafa Ahmadi Moshan , the  Iranian Scientist who was assassinated in Tehran in January.[ 2012].  She said, said Tuesday that her husband “sought the annihilation of the Zionist regime wholeheartedly,” — leaving no doubt as to nuclear program’s goal.

Amir Hossein Motaghi confirmed that the destruction of Israel was the ultimate goal the Iranian nuclear program and that Iran is very willing to delay its program in order to obtain certainty in their  route  to developing a protected nuclear/missile force of a  size sufficient to protect it from  a preemptive attack..

By Reuel Marc Gerecht and  Ray Takeyh WALL STREET JOURNAL 10-11-17 Mr. Gerecht is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracy. Mr. Takeyh is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. IRAN’S REGIME RESEMBLES THE SOVIET UNION IN ITS DYING DAYS. TRUMP CAN FOLLOW REAGAN’S EXAMPLE.

Robert R. Monroe - - WASHINGTON TIMES  October 11, 2017  Navy VIce Admiral (Ret) Robert R. Monro, is the former director of the Defense Nuclear Agency.


5.CONFRONTING THE FULL RANGE OF IRANIAN THREATS  Statement of General Charles F. Wald, USAF (ret.) Co-Chair, JINSA  Iran Task Force Hearing on CONFRONTING THE FULL RANGE OF IRANIAN THREATS to United States House Foreign Affairs Committee 10-11-17


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Statement of General Charles F. Wald, USAF (ret.) Co-Chair, JINSA Gemunder Center Iran Task Force Hearing on CONFRONTING THE FULL RANGE OF IRANIAN THREATS United States House Foreign Affairs Committee October 11, 2017 
Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Engel, Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss responses to the full range of threats posed by Iran. I have followed Iran closely throughout my career, including in my current capacity as co-chair of the Iran Task Force at JINSA’s Gemunder Center for Defense and Strategy. This summer, on the two-year anniversary of the announcement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), our Task Force issued a comprehensive report on the need to restore U.S. credibility and leverage for confronting the gamut of Iran’s menacing behaviors.1 However, I want to stress that my views expressed here today are my own. 
Understandably, much of the current debate focuses on Iran’s dubious compliance with the JCPOA, and whether continued adherence to the deal serves our national interests. Our JINSA Task Force has been an outspoken critic of this agreement. It creates a dangerous strategic imbalance by giving Tehran great financial, military and geopolitical benefits, while robbing the United States of the pressures we had built previously against Iran. ANY COHERENT STRATEGY AGAINST IRAN MUST PRIORITIZE RESTORING OUR LOST LEVERAGE, and I applaud this committee’s efforts to examine the range of options available to us and our allies. 
Iran’s Growing Military Threat 
1 JINSA Gemunder Center Iran Task Force, “Strategy to Restore U.S. Leverage Against Iran,” July 2017, available at:
This committee is well aware of the JCPOA’s literal costs: an estimated $115 billion in unfrozen assets back under Tehran’s control since day one, plus an additional $1.7 billion ransom for U.S. hostages.2 Since then, the added dividends of sanctions relief have flowed directly to the lucrative economic sectors controlled by the regime and its hardline Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The capital and technology from renewed foreign investment is already translating to increased spending on ballistic missiles and IRGC operations in places like Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
Beyond providing more funds, the JCPOA also effectively legalizes Iran’s ambitious military buildup in coming years. Even before the deal, Tehran already possessed the region’s largest arsenals of nuclear-capable ballistic and cruise missiles. By removing the previous legally-binding ban on test launches, U.N. Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2231 gives Iran, and specifically the IRGC, a major opportunity to advance these capabilities and intimidate our regional allies. 
No more than three years from now, the U.N. conventional arms embargo on Iran will also disappear, opening the country’s defense-industrial base to the international market and enriching the IRGC as an arms dealer. Tehran is already tipping the scales in conflicts across the region with largely outdated military equipment. The IRGC’s ability to inflict heavy costs on U.S. and allied forces, and possibly deny our access to the region altogether, will grow significantly as it augments its air defenses, fast attack craft, missile boat, submarines, unmanned vehicles, mines, radars and short-range missiles. 
No more than three years after that, the same U.N. resolution will permit the IRGC to access highly-advanced missile technology, materials and financing from abroad. This will aid its development of more sophisticated and accurate delivery vehicles, including intermediate-range (IRBM) and intercontinental (ICBM) ballistic missiles capable of targeting the heart of Europe and the U.S. homeland. Because this will occur shortly before the JCPOA allows Iran to ramp up its enrichment capacity, Tehran could push for ICBMs around the same it approaches nuclear weapons capability – effectively giving it a direct nuclear deterrent against the United States before the agreement even sunsets. 
Rising Iranian Aggression Under JCPOA 
Iran is already moving more directly and brazenly against U.S. interests and our allies. This stems in part from what the JCPOA does: it removes the aforementioned restrictions on Tehran’s power projection resources. Yet this also results from what the JCPOA represents: the weakening of U.S. credibility to push back as Iran aggravates the growing security vacuum in the Middle East. 
2 U.S. Department of the Treasury Press Center, “Written Testimony of Adam J. Szubin, Acting Under Secretary of Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence to U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, August 5, 2015.
3 Thomas Erdbrink, “Iranian Parliament, Facing U.S. sanctions, Votes to Raise Military Spending,” New York Times August 13, 2017. 
Since day one of the deal, this has been evident in Iran’s defiant upsurge in ballistic missile tests, including more accurate and mobile multi-stage missiles with reentry vehicles better suited for nuclear warheads – and more difficult to intercept than older Iranian versions. In June, Tehran even fired ballistic missiles in combat for the first time since the Iran-Iraq War, when the IRGC launched a salvo from Iranian soil into Syria.
Also for the first time in decades, Iran is at daggers drawn with U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf. It is assisting its Houthi proxy in Yemen with attacks on U.S. ships and our allies – including a steady hail of ballistic missiles targeting Saudi cities and bases. Flush with rising revenues from sanctions relief, Iran is also consolidating control over the heart of the Middle East and directly undermining U.S. efforts to stabilize Syria and Iraq. 
Throughout these conflicts, both the IRGC – which enjoys an increasingly central role in Iranian policymaking – and its terrorist proxy Hezbollah are transforming themselves into more professional, expeditionary combined-arms forces. Consequently, Iran can now intervene decisively to alter the course of conflicts across the region and establish new beachheads to threaten U.S. allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia. 
Simply put, even if Iran does not materially breach the JCPOA, the deal already is a boon to its destabilizing regional ambitions, and a strategic disaster for the United States. 
Rebuilding Leverage Against Iran 
American policymakers must now develop a coherent set of responses to reverse this untenable strategic imbalance, before it continues from bad to worse. As we laid out in our recent Iran Task Force report, this calls for a comprehensive strategy, utilizing every element of American power, to rebuild and apply counter-pressure against the full spectrum of Iran’s destabilizing behaviors. Time is of the essence, especially since any nuclear-related sanctions that Congress might snap back or enact would require time as much as anything else – time that Iran could otherwise spend breaking out or retaliating outside the nuclear program.
Our Task Force articulated recommendations to begin imposing costs on Iran’s most threatening behaviors, and to restore U.S. credibility damaged by the JCPOA: 
1. Develop Credible U.S. Military Leverage 
I applaud this committee for its years of tireless effort to increase pressure on Iran and Hezbollah through sanctions. Such measures are necessary, but their message and their impact must be reinforced with military leverage. 
4 CSIS Missile Defense Project, available at: (accessed October 5, 2017).
5 JINSA Gemunder Center Iran Task Force, “Strategy to Restore U.S. Leverage Against Iran,” July 2017, pp. 25-32. 
  • American officials should prepare – and make clear they are preparing – contingency plans to defend the United States and its allies from further Iranian tests of nuclear-capable missiles. This must include unequivocal threats to shoot down future tests if necessary.
  • Undertake concrete military preparations for responding to these and other Iranian military challenges, including forward-deploying part of our Aegis- equipped missile defense fleet to the Persian Gulf (like we already do in Europe and East Asia). Whether Iran adheres to the JCPOA or not, Congress should consider requiring the Pentagon adopt these changes as part of a broader reassessment of U.S. force posture and contingency planning for the region.
  • Leverage international law in defending our forces and maritime traffic against Iran’s increasingly aggressive and illegal behavior at sea. Existing rules of engagement (ROE) permit much more forceful responses to IRGC naval forces’ demonstrated hostile intent than our current restraint suggests.
  • Ensure the United States has a post-ISIS strategy and force presence in Syria. This is crucial to prevent Iran, Hezbollah and their proxies from dictating that country’s future. It will also impose obstacles to their evolving land bridge that would run directly from Iran to the Mediterranean and Lebanon.
2. Assemble a Regional Coalition Against Iran 

  • Augment the new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on defense aid to Israel by removing artificial Obama-era caps on missile defense assistance. The new MoU must be treated as the floor, not the ceiling, for bilateral cooperation against Iran’s and Hezbollah’s growing presence and capabilities on Israel’s northern borders.
  • Work with our Gulf allies Saudi Arabia and U.A.E. to develop a robust, multi- layered theater missile defense architecture, and potentially help facilitate the transfer of advanced Israeli missile defense systems to these countries – both of which confront Iran on their front and back doorsteps. American policymakers should also seriously consider explicit military backing for these two countries to defend against further Iranian encroachment.
  • Ensure interoperability of U.S. and Gulf air and maritime defenses to counter Iran’s growing anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) threat under the JCPOA.
    Regardless of the JCPOA’s future, these measures will demonstrate American resolve – both to Tehran and our concerned allies – that we will roll back Iranian aggression and deter or deny the hardline regime from advancing toward nuclear weapons capability.
    I thank you Mr. Chairman for my time, and I look forward to the Committee’s questions.
Robert R. Monroe - - WASHINGTON TIMES  October 11, 2017

 Navy VIce Admiral (Ret) Robert R. Monro, is the former director of the Defense Nuclear Agency.

America must not permit Iran to produce nuclear weapons. If a rogue state, the world’s No. 1 supporter of terrorism, is allowed to go into the production of nuclear weapons, no other state can be denied them. Proliferation — in self-defense — will go wild, and the result will be a world of nuclear horror and chaos, from which there is no return. Here’s how it will happen — and how it can be avoided.

The Iran nuclear agreement, formally titled the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, makes Iran a threshold nuclear weapons state. Iran must wait only a few years and it will be permitted to produce nuclear weapons. Mideast politics cannot permit Iran to be the sole regional possessor — not with their record of arming and directing proxies such as Hezbollah, Hamas, the Houthis or even the Taliban. Already, other states (e.g., Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt) are making covert preparations to go nuclear.

Given the tinderbox nature of the Mideast today — Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Kurdish regions, ISIS, Iraq, Yemen — the nuclear proliferation race will be intense. It will be accelerated by three factors: first, the regional nuclear fright in Northeast Asia, where North Korea’s neighbors, such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, are developing nuclear plans, technologies, personnel and resources; second, the increasing availability of fissile material from reactor growth in developing nations (some of which is intended for weapons purposes); and third, the startlingly rapid increase in international availability of intercontinental ballistic missile technology. No state will be safe without nukes.

Proliferation will be rapid. By 2030, we will have spurted from eight to about 20 nuclear weapons states, mostly our allies, which formerly relied on the deteriorating U.S. nuclear umbrella. By 2040, expect to see about 30 nations with nukes, as high-tech countries rush to protect themselves. By mid-century the count will be about 40, as the leading Third World countries proliferate. Nukes will be everywhere, unrecognized, uncounted and many unprotected. And the count will continue to rise. Nuclear weapons will be available for seizure and use by aggressors, terrorists, criminals, failed and failing states, even extortionists. The world will be marked by ruined, radioactive, deserted cities, large and small.

Is there any hope? Yes. But it requires immediate, forceful action by America. We must use military force to prevent Iran — and North Korea — from developing nuclear weapons.

Immediately withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement. Formally advise Iran that if it does not dismantle all its nuclear facilities, we will do it with military force. As an initial element of the negotiating process, demolish the Natanz uranium enrichment facility. Be generous with the carrots, but use the stick without delay if needed. As Iran is denuclearized, the world will rejoice. Hopes for nonproliferation will surge.

Strike North Korea hard (electric power plants, communication networks, known nuclear and launch sites, leadership sites, artillery and missile sites targeting Seoul. Offer the populace a better life than they have ever known if they help.

The damage and casualties incurred in these two actions is tiny as compared to the catastrophe these two rogues will inflict through proliferation.

By these two actions America will have temporarily stopped proliferation. There is now time for us to make nonproliferation permanent.

The single fault in the landmark Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) is that its creators were not able to agree on any mechanism to prevent proliferation. They did, however, take a giant step in that direction by creating two tiers of states: five approved nuclear weapons states (permanent members of the U.N. Security Council); and the balance (currently 185) who signed as non-nuclear weapons states.

A half-century of NPT experience has now proved that nonproliferation requires enforcement. America must now take on the intense, decades-long diplomatic effort to convince the world that these five must be accorded the responsibility of enforcing nonproliferation, collegially or individually. It is a fitting challenge for America’s foreign policy. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty must also be made nonapplicable to these five, so they will have the unquestioned power, as well as the responsibility, to enforce nonproliferation.

The world can remain stable at eight states with nukes, and future diplomacy can work to make it five.

America has the capability to show the world how to live comfortably with nuclear weapons for the long term. Do we have the will?

• Robert R. Monroe, a retired U.S. Navy vice admiral, is the former director of the Defense Nuclear Agency.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Jonathan Schanzer THE ATLANTIC  10-11-17

Decertifying the nuclear deal without walking away gives the Trump administration an opening to confront the Islamic Republic’s foreign meddling.

President Donald Trump is taking considerable heat for his expected announcement this week that he will “decertify” the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Critics say he is heedlessly discarding a deal that has been working, and needlessly putting America on a collision course with Iran.

As it turns out, Trump is actually not poised to “rip up the deal.” By decertifying it, the president and his advisors are, in fact, signaling their intent to strengthen it, with the help of Congress, so that the deal advances U.S. national security interests. Those interests are key criteria for the certification process, which takes place every 90 days, as laid out in the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA) of 2015. Right now, with the Iranians hindering inspection of military sites, working feverishly on their ballistic missile program, and banking on the nuclear deal’s sunset clauses, which all but guarantee Tehran an advanced nuclear program in roughly a decade, it’s hard to argue the deal is working for the United States.

Decertification has the potential to change all of that. The move will plunge Iran and the other parties involved in the nuclear deal into a state of limbo. It will prompt all sides to consider what the deal is worth to them, and what further compromises they may be willing to make to satisfy the national interests of the United States, as laid out by the Trump administration.

Under President Barack Obama, whose foreign-policy legacy was anchored to the nuclear deal, the promise of deferring (not preventing) Iran’s nuclear ambitions superseded all else. As a result, the fear of Iran walking away paralyzed Washington and prevented the Obama White House from making even reasonable demands of Tehran. The credible threat of a U.S. response to Iranian aggression was effectively off the table. So was the imposition of meaningful new sanctions, for that matter.

The coming decertification announcement provides an opportunity to break this paralysis. Trump is effectively telling Tehran that he sets the terms for the nuclear deal because he is not tethered to its success the way Obama was. The administration will then have a chance to chart its own Iran policy. As the 60-day INARA review period plays out, Trump can regain U.S. leverage, establish new red lines on Iranian behavior, and (unlike his predecessor) actually enforce them. If he does it right, he can do all of this without exiting the deal.

In response to decertification, Iran’s leadership will undoubtedly threaten to walk away from the table. But it’s not that simple. There are benefits the Iranians have yet to reap from the deal—beyond the more than $100 billion in released oil funds—ranging from increased foreign investment to greater integration with the global economy after years of economic isolation. In other words, Iran can still cash in considerably, but not if it balks at Trump’s calls to fix the deal.

The Europeans, Russians, and Chinese, are also reluctant to go along with Trump’s certification gambit. Some are already howling with disapproval. But some are already voicing their willingness to work with the White House. As the primary investors in Iran’s recent economic rebound, they have little choice but to try to resolve American concerns.

Of course, even the Chinese, Russians, and Europeans understand that they have a daunting task ahead of them. Iran is on a collision course with the West, one that has little to do with the nuclear file. Rather, it is about what the nuclear deal negotiators chose to ignore: Iran’s aggression across the Middle East.

Iran has harassed American ships in the Persian Gulf, held American sailors at gunpoint, bankrolled the murderous Assad regime in Syria, supported the Houthi rebels in Yemen, and furnished the majority of Hezbollah’s operating budget. And those are just a few of the highlights.

Tehran’s broader efforts to dominate the Middle East are also intensifying. From the deployment of its Revolutionary Guard Corps to far-flung corners of the region to the conscripting of Shiite irregular proxies to fight or hold territory in Syria and Iraq, Iran’s footprint continues to grow.

For American policymakers, Iran’s bid for regional hegemony is just as troubling as its nuclear ambitions. Together, they represent a dual Iranian strategy that cannot be separated, despite the P5+1’s efforts to do so back in 2015. This is why Trump should build on his decertification announcement with the rollout of a new Iran policy that actively counters these activities.

As it happens, the timing is fortuitous. The administration is slated to complete and roll out its Iran Policy Review by October 31st. If the policy lives up to the hints dropped by senior officials, the United States will once again push back on Iran’s malign behavior. If done right, it will do so wherever possible, and by using every pressure point available.

Such a policy would include designating the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist group (a move mandated by statute by October 31st), but also new tranches of Treasury sanctions on Iranian bad actors, and other economic pressure. The financial targets figure to be non-nuclear in nature, to ensure that the United States remains compliant with the nuclear deal. But the pressure should be palpable.

From there, Washington is also expected to actively target Hezbollah, Iran’s most powerful and active proxy. The Trump administration and Congress have already signaled they will take aim at Hezbollah’s economic interests, while also weakening their positions across the Middle East.

Beyond that, Washington can take further steps to strengthen America’s allies, such as the Sunni Arab states and Israel, who are also willing to challenge Iranian aggression. This could mean greater intelligence-sharing and bilateral cooperation, but could also include new hardware and military capabilities. More broadly, the United States must signal that Iranian threats to its allies will be seen as threats to the United States itself.

Admittedly, none of this will be easy. The Middle East is a dangerous region that doesn’t respond well to change. The same can be said for Washington in the Trump era. But whatever challenges loom will be the cost of shattering the paralysis in Washington that has reduced America’s Iran policy to a false binary of either hewing to the nuclear deal or war.

The choices to counter Iranian aggression before the nuclear deal were many. President George W. Bush understood this at the tail end of his presidency. President Obama even understood this at the beginning of his. But Obama then chose to limit his options through the nuclear deal. This has not served America well. It’s time to restore those options. Decertification and a new Iran policy, if done right, can potentially put America back in the driver’s seat after two years of going along for the ride.