Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Obama, Netanyahu And Congress: The Real Inside Story Raises Further Questions
President Obama's latest escapade involving Israel says a great deal about his deep animus towards Israel. And it raises an important question.
Our story starts with Speaker of the House John Boehner inviting Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress on Iran and on Islamist terrorism in March.
Boehner's rationale for this was a widely popular bi-partisan bill up in congress calling for large scale sanctions on Iran if the Obama administration is unable to craft a deal limiting Iran's nuclear weapons capacity. President Obama, who watered down the previous sanctions and unilaterally dispensed with them said bluntly that he'd veto any legislation regarding Iran, and made a special point of mentioning this in his State of the Union address.
President Obama's logic is that he and Secretary Kerry just need a little more time....in spite of three missed deadlines for a deal that have seen Iran's nuclear stockpile actually grow.
There’s really zero transparency about what’s actually going on. IAEA inspectors have not been allowed inside major Iranian bases like Fardo, and among many things, Secretary John Kerry was apparently 'misinformed' when he claimed over a year ago that he had an agreement with the Islamic Republic that to cease operations at their heavy water reactor at Arak, a facility with no peaceful applications designed to produce weapons-grade plutonium. The IAEA hasn't been allowed to inspect Arak either. Nor has it been shut down, as Kerry originally told us. Meanwhile, the Iranian Majlis is on the verge of passing legislation mandating that Iran increase its nuclear enrichment.
Small wonder Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), a co-sponsor of the senate version of the bill called what President Barack Hussein Obama had to say about Iran as 'talking points straight from Tehran.'
Even the Washington Post awarded the president “Three Pinocchios” out of a possible four for his dishonest and delusional remarks on Iran during his speech.
So it's quite natural that Speaker Boehner would want the Prime Minister of Israel, who's been outspoken on Iran's nuclear threat to address congress to increase consensus on a bill that would almost certainly have to override a presidential veto. And Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyahu, whose country gets threatened with annihilation by Iran every other week was happy to accept.
That's when the White House literally went berserk.
The president claimed that congress had disrespected him by not clearing Netanyahu's visit with the White House, although in fact congress has the legal right to invite anyone it wants to to address a joint session.
But the president's special wrath was directed at Benyamin Netanyahu,and that was no accident, as we'll see. The president announced that he would not meet with or otherwise acknowledge Netanyahu's presence during his visit. And unnamed White House officials were quoted in the press as saying that Netanyahu had 'forgotten that Obama's going to be president for another year and a half', and that Netanyahu was 'spitting in our faces' by daring to come to America without an official presidential invitation. There were dark statements about how there would 'be a price to pay.'
The president tried to justify this by saying that the invitation by congress was a breach of protocol, and against U.S. policy to meet with a head of state this close to a national election.
He lied about that too.
For instance, a couple of months before the British general election, President Obama invited British PM David Cameron to the White House in a high profile visit that was essentially an endorsement. And just a couple of weeks ago, only four months before what's shaping up as the tightest UK election in years, the president, who is more popular in the UK than he is here did the same thing,having a meeting with Cameron, a lavish photo-op and calling him 'a great friend' and one of his "closet and most trusted partners in the world."
There have been other occasions. Remember the president's love affair with former Islamist Egyptian leader Mohammed Morsi in the run up to the Egyptian elections?
The president also had the White House release a leak alleging that Israeli Mossad Head Tamir Pardo had personally warned US senators against further Iran sanctions.
At that point, I got fairly concerned, because to my knowledge no one in Israel's security apparatus has ever said anything like that..if anything the reverse, that increased sanctions had the best chance to bring Iran to the table for real concessions. For the head of Mossad to say this would amount to him creating his own private foreign policy.
I can tell you now without any doubt whatsoever that this was a complete fabrication by the White House, and I heard it directly from several people who definitely ought to know.
Moreover, the Mossad released a public statement on the matter. And it was not exactly diplomatic in tone.
A senior Israeli official delivered an uncommonly harsh attack on US President Barack Obama's administration Thursday evening, following the American report that alleged that Mossad Head Tamir Pardo had warned US senators against further Iran sanctions, in contradiction of Israel's official stance.
"The fraudulent claims against the Mossad Head were raised by the Americans yesterday, despite a message that had been transmitted to them on Tuesday by Intelligence Minister [Yuval] Steintz,” the senior Israeli source told Channel 2 news.
He added that Israel had gone over the minutes of the meeting between Pardo and the delegation of senators, and that Pardo had not said what was attributed to him.
"Leaking the Mossad Head's statements, even if they had not been falsified, is a serious breach of all the rules,” the senior source added. “Friends do not behave like this. Information from a secret meeting must not leak out.” [...]
"The Head of Mossad did not say that he opposes additional sanctions on Iran,” said the spy agency Thursday.
"Mossad Head Tamir Pardo met on January 19, 2015, with a delegation of US senators,” Mossad said in a statement. “The meeting was held at the request of the senators and with the prime minister's approval. At the meeting, the Head of Mossad stressed the extraordinary effectiveness of the sanctions that have been placed on Iran for several years in bringing Iran to the negotiating table.”
"The Head of Mossad noted that in negotiating with Iran, a policy of 'carrots and sticks' must be adopted, and there are not enough 'sticks' nowadays,” it added.
Furthermore, said the agency, he “said specifically that the agreement that is being formed with Iran is bad and could lead to a regional arms race.”
Both the Mossad and the Israeli government are livid over this, and that can't help but affect the relationship with the U.S. This indeed is hardly the way an ally acts.
Of course, the real reason for all this goes well beyond the president's ego. It’s very much about the Israeli elections.
Ha'aretz is Israel's very Left wing newspaper beloved of the main stream press here and in Europe because of its political stance, even though few Israelis bother reading it.The paper's most popular edition is its English language one, although it also publishes in Hebrew. There was one article in the Hebrew edition that by an interesting coincidence, Ha'aretz decided not to translate and include in its English edition.
It was translated by IMRA (Independent Media Review Analysis), and here's a summary:
Haaretz reporter Roi Arad revealed in an article in the Hebrew edition
today (January 26th) that the foreign funded organization, “One Voice”, is bankrolling the V-2015 campaign to defeat Binyamin Netanyahu’s national camp in the March
2015 Knesset Elections.
One indication of the generous financing is that it has now flown in a team of five American campaign experts (including Jeremy Bird, the Obama campaign's national field director) who will run the campaign out of offices taking up the ground floor of a Tel Aviv office building.
V-2015 is careful not to support a specific party - rather “just not Bibi”.
As such, the foreign funds pouring into the campaign are not subject to
Israel’s campaign finance laws.
The alliance of Yitzhak Herzog and Tzipi Livni jumped in hard on the controversy, claiming that Netanyahu is destroying Israel's relationship with the United States...and they're using Obama's money and campaign muscle to trumpet that message in the Israeli media. One of the major weaknesses of the Israeli left is that they have zero credibility with the majority of Israel's public when it comes to national security. .They now have an issue to exploit to attempt to cover for that.
The President’s strategy is blatantly obvious. He's directly interfering with democratic election of a U.S. ally in order to elect a more 'flexible' Israeli government that will cave in to Hamas/Fatah's demands. Given that his friends in Iran have already said they've given Hamas and Fatah advanced missile technology and will wage war against Israel from Palestinian controlled territory in Judea and Samaria (AKA The West Bank) this attempt to place Israel in a vulnerable position with indefensible pre '67 borders goes beyond mere malice and crosses the line to overt hostility.
The last time this happened, in 1999, President Clinton used the same tactic against Netanyahu in order to bring the hapless Ehud Barak and Labor to power. He funded Labor's campaign against Netanyahu and sent James Carville and Stanley Greenberg to run the campaign. Barak won, but the result was the Second Intifada, the death of hundreds of Jews in Arafat's war on Israeli civilians and the ascension of Ariel Sharon and Likud in 2001.
But President Obama's attempt to subvert Israel's election may actually backfire badly . Things are quite different today. Clinton was personally popular in Israel then, and Barack Hussein Obama is not, to say the least. Also, the stakes are a lot higher than they were in 1999, and most Israelis know it.
Aside from President Obama apparently being willing to try to deliver the Jews to the Iranians and those Arabs whom identify themselves as Palestinians in order to appease them or to destroy a valuable U.S. alliance in the process, I think it's time we took a look at whom this president protects and empowers and whom he attacks. And that goes beyond Israel.
The terrorist group Boko Haram in Nigeria have already pledged allegiance to the new Caliphate of Islamic State and have been responsible for thousands of deaths in Africa. They already control much of Northern Nigeria, and are attacking major cities like Maiduguri.
Many of their arms came from Moamar Ghaddaffi's stocks in Libya, which Islamists got their hands on after President Obama's illegal intervention in favor of jihadis and Islamists in Benghazi. The Nigerian army has frequently found itself outgunned in trying to protect its country.
The current Nigerian government under President Goodluck Jonathan has always had friendly relations with Israel, and in an effort to fight off Boko Haram negotiated a major arms deal with the Israelis which included Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopters.
The Obama Administration stopped the sale of the desperately needed arms for a 'review.'
The transfer of such aircraft requires a review to determine its “consistency with US policy interests,” Obama administration officials told The Jerusalem Post.
Reviews of this kind take place in the case of “any requests for one country to transfer US-origin defense items to another country,” said Ned Price, White House Assistant Press Secretary and Director for Strategic Communications.
According to a report initially published in a local Nigerian daily, ThisDay, Nigerian government officials believe a large sale was halted because of “unfounded allegations of human rights violations by our troops,” one such official is quoted saying. The Nigerian official is not named in the report.
“This,” he continued, “after the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had initially approved the purchase.”
US officials tell the Post such transfers must be consistent with a policy directive revised by President Barack Obama in January, which outlines the criteria for conventional-weapons sales.
The ostensible reason given was a report by the highly suspect NGO Amnesty International, which accused the Nigerian forces of 'human rights violations.' Since this report took place months ago, back in August of last year, why would a review take place now when the arms are desperately needed, especially after all of the presidential rhetoric linking Boko Haram with al-Qaeda and Islamic State?
The answer, again, is elections.
Nigeria's elections occur next month and President Goodluck Jonathan, whose support comes mainly from the Christian south of the country is running against Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Muslim general and former hard line dictator with Islamist leanings who has been defeated three times before in his attempts to regain power. His power base in mainly in the Muslim North.
The biggest issue in the election? Protecting the country from the attacks of Boko Haram. And with arms shipments to the Nigerian Army suspended or severely curtailed, President Jonathan's chances for re-election continue to slip, and Buhari's chances improve.
That's exactly how the Obama Administration wants it.
Just a few days ago, none other than Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria to meet with both candidates.
Mr. Kerry warned that the level of American support would be influenced by the determination of Nigeria’s politicians to carry out fair and peaceful elections.
“Bottom line, we want to do more,” he said. “But our ability to do more will depend to some degree on the full measure of credibility, accountability, transparency and peacefulness of this election.” [...]
“There has been a history of violence being fomented by political parties here in previous elections,” a senior State Department official told reporters before Mr. Kerry’s meetings.
“We hope that if there is any doubt about the election that they will use their court system and not encourage their supporters to go into the streets,” said the official, who declined to be identified under the department’s protocol for briefing reporters.
There's no mention of it in this linked New York Times article, but the 'violence' involved came almost exclusively from Muslim supporters of Buhari after he was defeated by Jonathan the last time out almost two to one,in 2011. And it is Buhari who is threatening violence again if he loses this time.
Yet the Obama Administration is doing its very best to put Buhari in power by holding up desperately needed arms shipments and threatening the current president.
Scoff at this all you want. But by delaying arms shipments to Nigeria's beleaguered army, the Obama Administration is assisting Boko Haram and doing its best to help a Muslim former military dictator who already was involved in inciting sectarian violence to take power.
Whether it's Africa, Libya, Iran, Turkey, Syria Egypt or Hamas/Fatah, one thing that is consistent is the Obama Administration's support and empowerment of Islamists and its opposition and attempts to weaken any of our allies like Israel, Nigeria's Jonathan Goodluck or the al-Sissi government in Egypt who oppose them. It's a clear, unmistakeable pattern.
Perhaps it's time we started asking why.
UPDATE: Proof that Obama deliberately manufactured the nonsense about Netanyahu 'disrespecting the president'....from the New York Times, no less.