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Much has been made — including by us — of the similarities between a previous Iranian weapons-laden boat bound for Gaza, the Karine A, and the ship captured last week. Now, Elliott Abrams, former National Security Advisor under President George W. Bush, writes at the Council on Foreign Relations that the incident reminds us about the foolishness of U.S. diplomatic efforts with the Palestinians (half of their putative state is controlled by the entity meant to be on the receiving end of the arms) and Iran (the origin of the weapons):
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Whatever peacemaking Secretary Kerry is undertaking with Palestinian authorities in Ramallah, Hamas remains in charge in Gaza and is dedicated to violence. But the larger issue this time is the donor rather than the recipient. While we talk of outreach to Iran and unclenched fists, Iran continues to be the largest state sponsor of terrorism.
Monday, March 10th, 2014 at 8:21 AM | Stand For Israel
Israel’s latest voice in Washington has both the safety of Israel and of the United States on his mind. Ambassador Ron Dermer is an Israeli who was raised in the U.S., and sees Iran’s nuclear aspirations as a very real threat to both allied nations:
How is Iran’s nuclear program not just a problem for Israel, but a problem for America as well?
Dermer explained it’s “because we’re [Israel] the Little Satan to Iran [and] you’re [the United States] are the Great Satan.”
“The only thing you put on an ICBM is a nuclear warhead. That’s it,” he continued. “And they’re designed to be propelled, to be sent, thousands of miles across the ocean to try to reach you.”
And as the United States and Israel stand together as allies, Dermer realizes that the greatest American friends of the Holy Land are Christians:
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“I believe that the Christian community in the United States — the tens of millions of Christians, of evangelical Christians, throughout this country — can stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel and beat back any attempts to delegitimize, to libel, to malign Israel,” he said.
Thursday, March 6th, 2014 at 11:36 AM | Stand For Israel
Jonathan Tobin writes at Commentary that U.S. policies in the Middle East and the assumptions they’re based on are thrown into serious doubt by the capture yesterday of a shipment of Iranian weapons headed for Gaza. What does this episode mean for the ongoing negotiations over negotiations and America’s insistence on more dialogue?
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The breakup of that alliance demonstrated Hamas’ belief that they no longer needed Iran’s assistance. But things have changed since the start of the Arab Spring when the Islamist group thought it could count on support from Egypt and Turkey to make up for the money and arms it got from Iran.
Thursday, March 6th, 2014 at 8:41 AM | Stand For Israel
Despite some similarities between the Karine A – another Iranian weapons ship headed to Gaza — Itamar Rabinovich points out some key differences between the impact the 2002 event had on President George W. Bush and the likely impact — Rabinovich doesn’t think there will be much — on President Obama:
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Washington is often described as “a one crisis town.” The crisis that dominates the agenda is obviously the Ukrainian one. If the president and his men have the time and patience to reflect on and deal with Middle Eastern issues, it is the difficult Israeli Palestinian negotiation that would be first on their minds.
Thursday, March 6th, 2014 at 8:32 AM | Stand For Israel
In the early hours this morning, the IDF stopped an Iranian ship trying to smuggle weapons to terrorists in the Gaza Strip. See footage of the operation here:
The IDF has posted more information on its blog, including a video explaining what was seized and how the operation protects the Holy Land:
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“The IDF will continue to operate against the Iranian attempts to arm regional terrorist organizations, who intend to continuously ignite our borders,” said IDF Spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner. ”We will continue to employ all the necessary means in order to prevent the armament of terrorist organizations and will combat the Iranian smuggling attempts that threaten the security and sovereignty of the State of Israel.”
Wednesday, March 5th, 2014 at 9:18 AM | Stand For Israel
Writing in The Washington Post, Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz argues — as we have argued here — that an Iranian nuclear weapon would make the entire region (and, thus, the entire world) susceptible to nuclear proliferation on a scale never before seen. It would mean nothing less than the end of the post-World War II nuclear non-proliferation regime:
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As for the Sunni-Shiite arms race, the critical reaction to an international agreement would be not in Washington but in Cairo, Ankara and Riyadh. Even if the Western powers express confidence in Iran’s commitment and pledge a vigorous economic and military response to any Iranian violation, regional players will render their own judgments.
Tuesday, March 4th, 2014 at 7:54 AM | Stand For Israel
Former Bush Administration National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams writes at the Council on Foreign Relations that there is a connection between Russian actions in Ukraine and the Iranian drive for a nuclear weapon — a weak America emboldens our enemies and undermines our allies and interests:
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Those who are wondering whether we need to pass sanctions legislation now and put more pressure on Iran should take all this into account. Like Putin, the ayatollahs likely see our failure to act in Syria (indeed our willingness to be “rescued” from action by Putin) as a sign that they can drive a hard bargain indeed with us over their nuclear weapons program, giving up nearly nothing and getting sanctions relief.
Monday, March 3rd, 2014 at 8:34 AM | Stand For Israel
Tony Badran, writing at NOW, makes the argument that a number of recent appointments by President Obama — including Robert Malley, whose support of U.S. engagement with Hamas forced then-candidate Obama to cut him from the campaign’s foreign policy advisory staff — suggests that American engagement with Tehran is a deeply held value and not a fly-by-night occurrence:
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In other words, the White House is signaling that engaging Iran, as a principal patron of the Assad regime that holds many of the cards, is necessary. This is all the more so since the Russian channel has proved insufficient. When that’s added to Obama’s assertion there’s only a political solution, and his continued aversion to military options, then the only option that’s left is Iran.
Friday, February 21st, 2014 at 8:25 AM | Stand For Israel
Jennifer Rubin, writing at The Washington Post, looks at yesterday’s framework agreement for talks between the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany) and Iran and concludes not only that the talks are at a dead end, but that everybody involved knows they’re at a dead end:
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Critics of the administration suspect either the talks will never end because it is impossible to conceive that Iran would do this or the president will try to peddle a phony deal that does none of these things in an effort to claim success. So the administration is back to its fundamental problem. It has carefully delineated what Iran must do, a standard less than the United Nations but higher than anything Iran would remotely do.
Thursday, February 20th, 2014 at 8:37 AM | Stand For Israel
Iran has long used the tactics of delay and deception in order to attempt to run out the clock on their nuclear ambitions — to acquire a bomb before the West can ramp up enough pressure to stop them. Writing at Commentary, Jonathan Tobin thinks we’re in for another helping of that old familiar dish:
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What is most distressing about the Iran talks is the blithe assumption on the part of the negotiators that they will drag on for as long as a year. That gives the lie to the president’s assurances that he wouldn’t let himself be suckered by the Iranians into allowing them to keep delaying while they continue to get closer to their nuclear goal.
Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 at 8:22 AM | Stand For Israel