The Middle East They Wanted

The agreement is only the latest of Obama’s gross misjudgments about the Middle East, going back to his Senate days, when he vehemently opposed the military “surge” that crushed the terrorist insurgency in Iraq, as Senator Hillary Clinton also did.

Dr. Aviel Sheyin-Stevens

OpEds Aviel Sheyin -Stevens
Aviel Sheyin -Stevens
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On 14 July 2015, Iran signed a nuclear agreement with the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany and the European Union.

Under the agreement, in five years, Iran will have unlimited access to the international conventional arms market. In eight years, Iran will be able to purchase and develop whatever missile systems it desires. In 10 years, limitations on its nuclear program will be removed. The agreement ends the international sanctions regime against Iran and permits Iran to develop advanced centrifuges. When it ends in 10 years, Iran will be positioned to develop nuclear weapons immediately.

The details are debatable, and largely irrelevant, when compared to the two irrefutable aspects: The agreement guarantees that Iran will develop nuclear weapons and the ayatollahs will get $150 billion.

U.S. law classifies international agreements into three classes: treaties, congressional-executive agreements, and executive agreements. Distinctions among the three concern their method of ratification: by two-thirds of the Senate, by normal legislative process, or by the President alone, respectively. All three classes are considered treaties under international law; they are distinct only from the perspective of internal U.S. law.

Over the period of negotiations, Obama said it was an executive agreement and the U.S. Senate’s sole authority to ratify treaties by two-thirds majority would be inapplicable.

U.S. Presidents regarded ratification by two-thirds of the Senate as necessary where an international agreement would bind a future president. Obama stated that he would sideline Congress by anchoring the agreement in a binding UN Security Council resolution. The resolution would force Obama’s successors to uphold the agreement after he leaves office.

Obama mitigated his position slightly when presented with a bill, with veto-proof majorities in both houses, which requires him to submit the agreement to Congress. He got Congress to replace the two-thirds Senate majority required to approve a treaty with a two-thirds bicameral majority necessary to disapprove an executive agreement – then pledged not to go to the Security Council until after Congress voted.

Obama betrayed his pledge. He went to the Security Council before Congress could vote on the agreement.

Regardless of congressional action, Iran will have a free hand to develop nuclear weapons, at least until the next president is inaugurated. If Congress rejects the agreement, Obama can be expected to take no military action against Iran’s nuclear program and to disregard U.S. sanctions against his Iranian comrades. Since the agreement has destroyed any potential international coalition against Iran’s illegal program, no one will mind if Iran intensifies its nuclear activities.

Like so much that has been done by the Obama administration, including the diplomatic recognition of Cuba, the agreement demonstrates how safe it is to be America's enemy. The administration's policies toward Israel and Ukraine demonstrate how risky it is to be America's ally.

From the beginning, the Obama administration’s actions and inactions in the Middle East were not about stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons, but stopping Israel from stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

If Iran abides by the agreement or is not punished for cheating on it, in 10 years, the greatest state sponsor of terrorism in the world will be rich, in possession of a modernized military, a ballistic missile arsenal capable of carrying nuclear warheads to any spot on earth, and the nuclear warheads themselves.

If Iran remains a threat, the agreement bars the U.S. from taking any steps to counter it aside from all-out war. Since sanctions are gone, deterrence is gone; that leaves only war. Rather than diminishing the chance of war, the agreement makes it inevitable that Iran will get the bomb or there will be a full-scale war, or both.

The only person who gets a say in how that $150 billion is spent is Iran’s dictator Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and he has been clear about how he intends to use the money.

In back to back anti-American rants after the agreement was signed, Khamenei repeatedly threatened the U.S. and extolled calls for its destruction. Speaking in front of a banner at Friday prayers that declared, “We will trample America,” Khamenei praised calls for “Death to America.” He promised to continue to fund and sponsor terrorism and proxy wars. Just as notably, he refused to commit to upholding the agreement.

The agreement is only the latest of Obama’s gross misjudgments about the Middle East, going back to his Senate days, when he vehemently opposed the military “surge” that crushed the terrorist insurgency in Iraq, as Senator Hillary Clinton also did.

President Obama claimed that “al-Qaeda is on the run,” mishandled Libya and Syria, urged Mubarak to go that got him replaced by the Muslim Brothers, dismissed Islamic State as a “JV” [Junior Varsity] team, and claimed Yemen as a counter terrorism success story.

Yemen, is the latest Obama-era failed-state, where rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran are pitted against one another in a proxy war involving the Saudi-backed, Sunni Yemeni central government and the Iranian-backed, Shia Houthi rebels; providing room for the Islamic State and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula for planning, training and operations.

Obama dismissed the thought of America being vulnerable to “a small country” like Iran. Iran is larger than Japan was when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. If Japan had nuclear bombs, World War II could have turned out differently.

After World War II, Japan and Germany were transformed from belligerent military powers threatening world peace for more than half a century to two of the most pacifist nations on earth. Both countries remained under American occupation for years, slowly gaining such self-governing powers as the military overseers chose, and at such a pace as these overseers deemed prudent in the light of conditions on the ground.

Perhaps the reshaping of German and Japanese societies under American occupation made such a project seem doable in Iraq. Had the Bush administration achieved it, such an achievement in the Middle East could have been a magnificent gift to the entire world, bringing peace to a region that has been the spearhead of war and international terrorism.

The US-led invasion of Iraq terrified several rogue regimes in the region. In the two to three years immediately following the invasion, America’s deterrent strength soared to unprecedented heights.

Things could have been done differently about Iraq; however, in the end President Bush listened to his generals and launched the military surge that crushed the terrorist insurgents and made Iraq a viable country. The most solid confirmations of the military success in Iraq were the intercepted messages from al-Qaeda operatives in Iraq to their leaders in Pakistan that there was no point sending more insurgents, because they now had no
Despite the mistakes that were made in Iraq, it was still a viable country until Obama pulled out all the troops, ignoring his own military advisers.
chance of prevailing against American forces. This was the situation that Obama inherited — and lost.

Despite the mistakes that were made in Iraq, it was still a viable country until Obama pulled out all the troops, ignoring his own military advisers, just so he could claim to have restored “peace,” when in fact he invited chaos and defeat.

Secretary of State John Kerry and others indicating that the only alternative to the Obama administration’s pretense of controlling Iran’s continued movement toward nuclear bombs is war ignore the fact that Israel bombed Iraq’s nuclear facilities in 1981, and Iraq did not declare war.

If Iran is not stopped, the choice will no longer be between a nuclear Iran and war. The choice would be between surrender to Iran and nuclear devastation, since Iran has explicitly and repeatedly declared its intention to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.

There was a time when Israel or the United States could have destroyed Iran’s nuclear facilities with little risk of war. Obama’s years-long negotiations with Iran allowed Iranian leaders time to multiply, disperse, and fortify their nuclear facilities. The Obama administration’s leakage of Israel’s secret agreement with Azerbaijan, allowing Israeli warplanes to refuel during attacks on Iran’s nuclear facilities, also sabotaged Israeli attempt to destroy Iranian facilities.

Israel still may have the ability to attack Iran’s facilities. A successful attack along with the adoption of a vigilant strategy of active nuclear defense can form the basis of a successful Israeli nuclear defense system. Israel will also need to operate in hostile countries (Lebanon, Syria, etc.) to destroy deliveries of nuclear materiel whether transferred by air, sea or land.

There is never going to be any real inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities. They get to provide their own samples and delay things if they do not want to be inspected.

The Keystone Pipeline from Canada has been subjected to a greater inspections regime than Iran’s nuclear program will ever be subjected to, because Obama cares more about stopping Canada getting the pipeline than Iran getting the bomb.

In January 2009, before his inauguration, Obama told a crowd of cheering supporters: “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” These are not the words of a pragmatic-minded politician.

A pragmatic politician attempts to address problems and fix them, not to "fundamentally transform" an entire nation. Transforming nations is what radicals aspire to do.

Obama’s actions in the past six years have been radical; his “fundamental transformation” did not end at America’s shores.

Obama alienated America’s friends and emboldened America’s enemies. He surrendered Iraq, in whose cause so many young Americans died, to America’s enemy, Iran. He launched his radical foreign policy initiatives in June 2009. Speaking in Cairo, now aflame with anti-American protests, he offered the Muslim world “a new beginning.” By this, he meant not a Muslim new beginning but an American change of heart.

According to public opinion polls, America’s appeasement of Islamic rage has led to a situation in which America is more hated today in the Middle East than it was at the height of the war in Iraq. Six years of “fundamentally transforming” America’s traditional policies in the Middle East has wrought an explosion of anti-Americanism. American schools, businesses and diplomatic facilities set ablaze. A U.S. ambassador and three others murdered in Benghazi. The black flag of Jihad raised over American embassies in Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan and Yemen.

The day before the agreement was concluded, Samantha Powers, Obama’s UN Ambassador, in a bid to tie the hands of her boss’s successors and render Congress powerless to curb his actions, circulated a binding draft resolution to Security Council members that would prohibit member nations from taking action to harm the agreement.

Obama has reoriented America's Middle East policy in favor of the ayatollahs, to make Iran the regional superpower in the Middle East, disfavoring America’s traditional allies: Israel, Saudi Arabia and the other Sunni Arab monarchies. In that sense, the Obama administration officials were not bamboozled by Iran. They got the Middle East they wanted; a reorientation more dramatic than when America abandoned Chiang Kai-shek for Maoist China. At least, Maoist China was not seeking America’s destruction. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran’s goal best: “Death to America.”

Aviel Sheyin-Stevens is a registered patent attorney and a Certified Public Accountant. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Miami.