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The New York Times reported yesterday that Iran is supplying weapons and intelligence – and, according to some reports, combat personnel – to the Iraqi government in its ongoing struggle with the terror group ISIS. That publication and a lot of other observers – including those who have long wanted us to ignore Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons – are savoring the perceived irony of the United States and Iran being on the same side of a fight.
But are we on the same side of this fight as Iran? Well, no.
To begin with, Iran is a predominantly Shia country. ISIS is a militant Sunni group that visits as much violence on Shia civilians as it does on the Iraqi military. A violent, expansionist, pan-national army of hard-line Sunnis isn’t something Iran wants on its doorstep. That’s the Iranian line on why they’ve gotten involved. In the larger Muslim world where the war between Sunni and Shia is deadly serious, that reason plays well.
But their real reason is power.
ISIS had been devoting most of its resources to fighting against Bashar al-Assad in Syria – another thing that put them at odds with Iran – and was closely aligned with al-Qaeda until the better-known terrorist organization swore them off earlier this year (how crazy do you have to be for al-Qaeda to reject you?). Now they have turned their attention to the apparently softer target of Iraq. Their military gains – they have driven up the Euphrates river, taken the city of Mosul, and are now a serious threat to Baghdad – have even made President Obama reconsider his policy of pulling out of Iraq.
While the President reconsiders, Iran has stepped in with actual help. In the end, Iran help may obviate any possible need for American assistance. Which will, of course, mean that Iraq will become – as Syria and Lebanon already are – an Iranian client state. Iran’s influence will grow in the region, as will their ability to export…Read More » Comments (15) »
Friday, June 27th, 2014 at 9:31 AM | Jonathan Greenberg
As the situation in Iraq grows more worrisome and the ISIS insurgency grows more fearsome, there is only force nearby with any chance to handle the situation – Iran. Even as the U.S. “negotiates” to keep the nation from developing nuclear weapons, it also now considers Iran a major part of its Middle East strategy. Writing at Tablet, Lee Smith says that a predatory and not-so-powerful Iran is not the partner the U.S. needs in the Middle East:
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The Iranians always understood the sanctions regime as a matter of will: If you stick to your position, the Americans will blink first, they’ll soften their position because it’s in their nature—what the Americans fear more than anything is not to be loved for their fairness …
However, this is the flip-side: The Iranians are not capable of shouldering the weight that Obama wants them to carry. Just like America’s traditional allies, Iran is limited in its ability to project power.
Thursday, June 19th, 2014 at 8:46 AM | Stand For Israel
As the situations in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East worsen, the U.S. talks of having a “shared interest” with Iran in seeing the defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Writing at Commentary, Max Boot says that our interests and those of Iran are not the same:
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While some may take satisfaction from Sunni and Shiite extremists clashing, the problem is that they could both win–i.e., both sides could gain control of significant territory which will then become terrorist states. That is what has already happened in Syria and it is now likely to happen in Iraq as well …
Put bluntly, the U.S. interest is in creating democratic, stable, and pro-Western regimes; the Iranian interest is in creating fundamentalist, terrorist-supporting, Shiite-extremist regimes. There is no overlap of interest …
Monday, June 16th, 2014 at 8:46 AM | Stand For Israel
As the deadline nears for a deal on Iran’s nuclear activities, and as the House Foreign Affairs Committee holds a hearing today on the same, Jennifer Rubin writes at The Washington Post that the United States is fast approaching a critical point when it comes to its stance on the situation and how it affects Israel:
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Congress then should consider an array of new economic sanctions, means of making our military threat more capable and measures to enhance Israel’s ability to act unilaterally if it sees fit.
As for Israel, Iran’s continued progress toward a nuclear arms capability, its revived economy, its ongoing support for terrorism, its refusal to cooperate with inspectors and sustained research on Iran’s advanced centrifuges and ballistic weapons program should factor into Israel’s consideration as to how long it can wait before acting unilaterally. No serious observer in the United States or in Tehran thinks Obama will act; it therefore becomes an issue of timing for Israel: When will the Jewish state act in the absence of U.S. leadership to defend itself and, in turn, the West from the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran?
Tuesday, June 10th, 2014 at 8:56 AM | Stand For Israel
As the U.S. and Iran meet today for another round of nuclear talks, stakes are high. Yet, as Mona Charen writes at The National Review, Iran’s leadership does not take its American counterparts seriously, and has little reason to do so:
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Khamenei knows that far from considering any sort of military strike against Iran, Obama has worked assiduously to prevent Congress from imposing any further sanctions …
Even after five years in office, years that have seen Iran brutally suppress peaceful protesters, torture and kill political prisoners, persecute religious minorities, ship arms to terrorist groups, and prop up the genocidal regime of Bashar Assad in Syria, which has now killed an estimated 100,000 people (and by the way, how is Obama’s Atrocities Prevention Board handling that?), President Obama clings to the notion that Iran can be trusted to abandon its nuclear-weapons program if we just concoct the right words on paper in Geneva.
Tuesday, June 10th, 2014 at 8:45 AM | Stand For Israel
As President Obama expresses optimism about the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran, Lee Smith writes at Tablet that there is little in the contours of the likely outcome that suggests an American victory in the negotiations and everything that suggests that America and our allies just want this issue to go away:
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The real concern isn’t that a deal on the nuclear program will fall apart because of partisan squabbling in Washington. It’s the prospect of a comprehensive agreement tackling a host of regional issues in ways that will come at the expense of American interests. In other words, what should worry both the administration’s allies and its critics is that we’re moving toward a so-called “grand bargain” with Iran, with the United States getting the short end of the stick.
Friday, May 30th, 2014 at 9:04 AM | Stand For Israel
Russia will sign a deal with Iran to provide the Islamic nation with two more nuclear reactors, on top of the one it has already built them. The deal is part of larger negotiations which could lead to eight such reactors:
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Russia … built Iran’s only operating nuclear power reactor, at Bushehr.
“Russia and Iran may sign an intergovernmental agreement this year on building from four to eight nuclear reactors, and, under the deal, the contract for the construction of the first two reactors as additions to Bushehr,” the source said.
Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom said earlier it was in talks with Iran on the potential construction of more reactors there but revealed no details.
Thursday, May 22nd, 2014 at 10:11 AM | Stand For Israel
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel visited Jerusalem today, meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu. The Times of Israel reports that two discussed the Hamas-Fatah unity talks, but also spoke about Iran and its nuclear ambitions and deception, with Netanyahu voicing his concerns and Hagel responding with American assurances:
“We’ve been saying all along that Iran is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the international community,” Netanyahu said, “so I wasn’t surprised and I’m sure you weren’t surprised by the recent UN report on Iran’s ongoing efforts to deceive the international community … We must not let the foremost terrorist state of our time, Iran, develop the capability to produce nuclear weapons.”
Hagel responded by assuring the prime minister that America would not let Iran build a nuclear weapon.
“America’s commitment to Israel’s security is resolute … and I want to assure you, Prime Minister and the people of Israel, of the United States’ continued commitment to ensuring Iran does not get a nuclear weapon, as President Obama has said, and that America will do what we must to live up to that commitment.”
We pray that Hagel’s (and America’s) assurances are genuine, for the sake of Israel and the rest of the world.Comments (2) »
Friday, May 16th, 2014 at 11:12 AM | Stand For Israel
The U.N. Panel of Experts that are supposed to monitor Iran’s nuclear program has a new report which, while not yet public, has been leaked. Writing at Commentary, Evelyn Gordon says that – surprise, surprise – Iran is still hard at work developing a nuclear weapon. So what are we doing negotiating with them?
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Under the “moderate” Rouhani–the man the world has declared it can do a deal with–Iran has continued trying to smuggle in parts for the illicit nuclear program it denies having; at most, it has decreased the pace a bit. And, as the report later admits, maybe not even that: It may simply have developed “more sophisticated” methods of “concealing procurement, while expanding prohibited activities.”
Friday, May 16th, 2014 at 8:29 AM | Stand For Israel
May 8 is Victory in Europe (V-E) Day. Today we celebrate the United States and other Allied nations’ victory over Hitler’s Nazi Germany 69 years ago. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to a group of WWII veterans today, thanking and praising them for helping defeat the Nazis, as well as their part in the establishment of Israel. But in today’s world, Netanyahu warned, there are still major battles to win and obstacles to overcome, including the upcoming nuclear talks with Iran:
“Today we have a country, we have an army, we have the determination and we have the power, but with all this we know that the best defense against nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran is no nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran,” Netanyahu said …
Netanyahu ended by thanking the World War II veterans for their “extraordinary dedication that paved the way for the establishment of Israel.”
As those who defended freedom during WWII advance in age, we voice our own appreciation for the sacrifices they made in order to leave a better world for us.Comments (4) »
Thursday, May 8th, 2014 at 10:48 AM | Stand For Israel