The Obama Administration's Conflicting Messages on Iran
By Alan M. Dershowitz
The Obama Administration is sending conflicting and confusing messages both to Iran and to those who fear an Iranian nuclear weapon. According to The New York Times, defense secretary Robert M. Gates sent a top secret memorandum to White House officials bemoaning the fact that the United States simply has no policy in place to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. At the same time, it is telling Israel that although Iran has threatened to wipe it off the map, the Jewish state should not take military action to prevent a second Holocaust. Indeed former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, who has participated in White House discussions concerning the Middle East, has threatened that if Israel tries to destroy Iran's nuclear weapon facilities, the United States is fully capable of shooting Israeli jets out of the air.
Although Gates subsequently denied that his memo, which he acknowledges writing, was intended as a "wake up call," a senior White House official has confirmed that it was just that. There is no evidence, however, that the White House is prepared to confront the grave threat posed by a nuclear Iran. The policy that seems to be emerging from the White House is one called "containment." But what is containment? It is little more than an acknowledgement of failure. Containment implies that the United States will not succeed in preventing Iran from securing nuclear weapons, but rather it will accept such an eventuality and seek to deter the use of nuclear weapons by threats and by the deployment of defensive measures. The analogy that proponents of containment point to is North Korea, which has nuclear weapons but has thus far been "contained" from using them. But there are vast differences between North Korea and Iran.
North Korea is a secular Communist regime that is risk averse and that has no sworn existential enemies. The goal of its leaders is simply to remain in power and maintain their totalitarian control over their people. Iran is a theocratic, apocalyptic regime that believes that it has a religious obligation to destroy Israel and threaten the United States. Iran, unlike North Korea, also operates through surrogates, such as Hezbollah, Hamas and other smaller terrorist groups. They could hand-off nuclear material to such groups, or to sympathetic individuals, for use as dirty bombs directed against its enemies.
When he ran for president, Barak Obama pledged not to allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons. He claimed to understand that a nuclear Iran would be a game changer and a direct threat to the United States and its allies. He now seems to be softening his position and that of the United States government.
If in fact the United States is prepared to accept a nuclear Iran, then it has no right to require Israel to accept the risks posed by a nuclear armed country that has overtly threatened its destruction. Every country in the world has the inherent right to protect its citizens from a nuclear attack. Israel, a nation that Obama has himself acknowledged was built on the ashes of one Holocaust, certainly has the right to take military action to prevent a second Holocaust, especially at the hands of a country that has explicitly threatened to wipe it off the map.
The world ignored the explicit threats of one tyrant who threatened to destroy the Jewish people in the 1930s, and he nearly succeeded in the 1940s. Israel cannot be expected to ignore Hitler's successor, who while denying the first Holocaust, threatens a second one.
The United States has promised to regard a nuclear attack on Israel as a nuclear attack on its own country, but Iran does not credit such threats, since it appears that the Obama Administration has already broken its promise not to accept a nuclear Iran. Elie Wiesel put it well when he said that the Holocaust has taught the Jewish people to "believe the threats of our enemies more than the promises of our friends." Iran's promise to destroy Israel must be taken seriously, not only by Israel but by the United States. If the United States is not prepared to stop Iran from acquiring the nuclear weapons necessary to wipe Israel off the map, then Israel must be prepared to protect itself.
I am not suggesting that Israel should attack Iran's nuclear weapons facilities. I don't know enough about the military considerations that should go into any such an existential decision. But I am asserting, in unqualified terms, that Israel has an absolute right--legally, morally, politically--to take such an action if it deems it necessary to protect its citizens from a threatened nuclear attack. This is especially the case, if Secretary Gates was correct when he wrote in his memorandum that the United States "lacks a policy to thwart Iran," as The New York Times headline announced. Someone must thwart Iran. An Iran with nuclear weapons simply poses too great a threat to the world to be accepted-- or "contained."
Comment on this item
by Richard Kemp
Would General Allen -- or any other general today -- recommend contracting out his country's defenses if it were his country at stake? Of course not.
The Iranian regime remains dedicated to undermining and ultimately destroying the State of Israel. The Islamic State also has Israel in its sights and would certainly use the West Bank as a point from which to attack, if it were open to them.
There can be no two-state solution and no sovereign Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan, however desirable those things might be. The stark military reality is that Israel cannot withdraw its forces from the West Bank.
Fatah leaders ally themselves with the terrorists of Hamas, and, like Hamas, they continue to reject the every existence of the State of Israel.
If Western leaders actually want to help, they should use all diplomatic and economic means to make it clear to the Palestinians that they will never achieve an independent and sovereign state while they remain set on the destruction of the State of Israel.
by Louis René Beres
The Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO], forerunner of today's Palestinian Authority, was founded in 1964, three years before Israel came into the unintended control of the West Bank and Gaza. What therefore was the PLO planning to "liberate"?
Why does no one expect the Palestinians to cease all deliberate and random violence against Israeli civilians before being considered for admission to statehood?
On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States endorsed a "Mandate for Palestine," confirming the right of Jews to settle anywhere they chose between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. This is the core American legacy of support for a Jewish State that President Obama now somehow fails to recall.
A sovereign state of Palestine, as identified by the Arabs -- a Muslim land occupied by "Palestinian" Arabs -- has never existed; not before 1948, and not before 1967. From the start, it was, and continues to be, the Arab states -- not Israel -- that became the core impediment to Palestinian sovereignty.
by Timon Dias
It looks as if this new law is meant to serve as a severe roadblock to parties that would like to dismantle the EU in a democratic and peaceful way from within.
A rather dull semantic trick pro-EU figures usually apply, is calling their opponents "anti-Europe."
by Alan M. Dershowitz
by Soeren Kern
Austria has emerged as a major base for radical Islam and as a central hub for European jihadists to fight in Syria.
The proposed revisions would, among other changes, regulate the training and hiring of Muslim clerics, prohibit the foreign funding of mosques, and establish an official German-language version of the Koran to prevent its "misinterpretation" by Islamic extremists.
Muslims would be prohibited from citing Islamic sharia law as legal justification for ignoring or disobeying Austrian civil laws.
Leaders of Austria's Muslim community counter that the contemplated new law amounts to "institutionalized Islamophobia."
Official statistics show that nearly 60% of the inhabitants of Vienna are immigrants or foreigners. The massive demographic and religious shift underway in Austria, traditionally a Roman Catholic country, appears irreversible.