Tag Archives: Iran Deal

Which is the Most Dangerous:  Preserve, Fix or Tear Up the Iran Deal?

{Previously published in the Jerusalem Post}

The time to strike new legislation is now, this spring, before the next election season is in full swing.

‘We will produce any weapons of any kind that we need and use them at any time to defend ourselves”– Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, October 2017.

A new bill, the “Iran Freedom Policy and Sanctions Act,” has been introduced in the US House of Representatives that attempts to fix the flaws in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, the “Iran deal”), while also sanctioning Iranian human rights abuses, terrorism and ballistic missile development.

To understand why the JCPOA needs to be fixed, we need only focus on the unfulfilled promise of unfettered inspections of Iranian military sites; the most likely place Iran will weaponize a nuclear device.

According to The Guardian, US secretary of state John Kerry told the Israelis back in 2015, “I absolutely guarantee that in the future we will have the ability to know what they are doing so that we can still stop them if they decided to move to a bomb… We will have inspectors in there every single day … forever.”

Last month, Kerry opined in The Washington Post that the agreement is “grounded in the transparency rules of the IAEA’s [International Atomic Energy Agency] Additional Protocol” allowing inspections in military sites. President Barack Obama also promised “inspectors will have 24/7 access to Iran’s key nuclear facilities.”

In other words, the promise of “anytime, anywhere inspections.”

Only one problem: Iran has repeatedly said it will never abide by the Additional Protocol. As senior adviser to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati said, “Nobody is allowed to visit Iran’s military sites.” Ayatollah Khamenei agrees. He told Reuters that access to military sites is a “red line.”

What is the Additional Protocol and Section T? Section T restricts Iran from weaponizing a nuclear explosive device or acquired dual-use technology, while the Additional Protocol was “sold” to Congress as the transparency allowing unfettered access to military sites. You often hear from supporters of the deal that Iran is in full compliance with the JCPOA. But if your inspectors have never visited a military site, you will never have anything to report.

Indeed, IAEA chief Yukiya Amano told Reuters last fall that his agency doesn’t have the “tools” to verify Iran’s compliance.

The “Iran Freedom Policy and Sanctions Act” attempts to fix this profound flaw in the deal, while also toughening economic sanctions against the Republican Guards and Basij Force, who profit from nuclear and missile development and are at the vanguard of Iranian human rights abuses, terrorism and missile development. The problem is that the Senate will not be able to fix the flaws of the JCPOA because it would require 60 votes, a virtual impossibility in this political climate.

There is a path forward. It’s a two-pronged approach.

Create legislation from both houses of Congress to provide new, enforceable, non-waivable sanctions that focus on Iran’s human rights abuses, missile development, and terrorism. (Recall that non-nuclear sanctions were promised but not acted upon by the Obama administration.) Leave the issue of reinstating sanctions regarding the JCPOA for President Donald Trump.

In other words, Congress should take half a loaf that would accomplish the same goal of economically punishing Iran with new sanctions, while avoiding the 60-vote threshold needed in the Senate for fixing the JCPOA. Dealing with the JCPOA is best addressed by President Trump as he could reimpose sanctions on the nuclear program in 120 days.

Shouldn’t Democratic senators who did not support the JCPOA also want to sign on to non-nuclear sanctions? The answer is President Trump and politics.

Anything that Trump supports – even if clearly in the national interest – is dismissed and rationalized away with the hope that it will translate into a political victory in the midterm elections.

The question for senators Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), Chris Coons (D-Delaware) and Chuck Schumer (D-New York), who all voted against the JCPOA, is why are you now in favor of preserving the Iran agreement? Don’t you want to be on the right side of Iranian human rights, and against the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism? Senator Cardin claims to be interested in fixing the deal but has demanded the Europeans be given a veto on any new American legislation that fixes the JCPOA. Has Iran decreased its cooperation with the North Korean missile and nuclear program, stopped supporting terrorists, decreased its executions of women and children or its calls to exterminate Israel? Senator Cardin, please reconsider.

Won’t the Europeans go ballistic? Sure, but they will choose the American market and financial system and not run afoul of American sanctions.

Supporters of the agreement say that if the US withdraws from the JCPOA, Iran will quickly restart its nuclear program; the JCPOA, they say, has increased Iranian nuclear “break-out” time from three months to a year. Even if it were true in 2015, the one-year delay will completely evaporate over the next eight years because the Obama administration inexplicably allowed Iran to immediately develop advanced centrifuges, reducing to a few months the time needed to produce weapons-grade material.

Which is more dangerous – preserving the JCPOA, fixing it or ripping it up? The most dangerous option is preserving the status quo without changing the deal’s fundamental flaws, that undermine American national security. Congress needs to pass new, biting economic sanctions on the regime for human rights abuses, terrorism and missile development, requiring only 50 votes, while leaving decertification of the JCPOA for the executive branch.

The time to strike new legislation is now, this spring, before the next election season is in full swing.

The writer is director of MEPIN™, the Middle East Political and Information Network™. He regularly briefs members of Congress and think tanks on the Middle East.

Should the Flawed Iran Deal Alter U.S. Interest in Regime Change? 

{Previously published in the Jerusalem Post}

With Obama’s out, what happens next with Iran?

It has become painfully clear that former US president Obama’s desire to make the Islamic Republic of Iran a “very successful regional power” has come to fruition. Iran is on the verge of creating its long-sought Shi’ite Islamist land corridor from Tehran to the Mediterranean.

Unfortunately, Obama’s goal to develop “an equilibrium…between Sunni states and Iran in which there’s competition…but not an active or proxy warfare” has utterly failed. Just look at Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

This is an important moment to reassess American foreign policy in the region, as we mark the second anniversary of the still unsigned Iran agreement (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA).

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has persuaded President Donald Trump to again recertify Iran, fearing that pursuing full compliance would endanger his fragile cease-fire in Syria and his working relationship with Russia and its Iranian ally. Appeasement is rarely a successful strategy in this part of the world.

Iran has violated both in spirit and the law the JCPOA and UN Security Council resolutions by exceeding heavy water limits, testing intercontinental ballistic missiles, and refusing to grant full access to international inspectors.

As German Intelligence recently reported, Iran has continued to seek “products and scientific know-how for developing weapons of mass destruction as well missile technology.”

The JCPOA was a transactional set of understandings that was sold to the American people as strictly about nuclear weapons, after it became clear that none of the moderation promised by the deals supporters had materialized. The Iran agreement was supposed to be vigorously enforced, while not inhibiting consequences for violations of UN Security Council resolutions, human rights abuses, terrorism, or destabilization and threats against its neighbors.

Yet Iran’s supreme leader’s rhetoric and actions against American interests have only increased and worsened since July 2015. Iran is now planning a naval port on the Mediterranean, is entrenched in Syria, and is more hostile than ever to America and its allies.

American foreign policy advisers should be asking:

• Would American national security interests be better served by a change in the Iranian government?

• Can America openly desire a peaceful regime change, while not being accused of wanting to start a new war?

• Wouldn’t the Iran agreement more likely be adhered to, if the regime in Iran were not the Islamic Republic of Iran?

In 1983, then-president Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union an “evil empire.” In 1987, in the name of freedom and American interests, he unapologetically called for regime change in the brutal authoritarian communist expanse by famously declaring, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Yet, like the JCPOA, he continued to seek transactional agreements with that evil empire. There is little doubt that what Reagan wanted to achieve was a regime change in the Soviet Union and the collapse of communism, yet no bullet was ever fired.

Could the same approach work with the Islamist theocracy, if the Iranian people were given moral encouragement to take charge of their own destiny? Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran, like the former Soviet Union, poses one of the most consequential threats to American security interests in the 21st century.

Its aspirations are megalomaniacal, and it is on the threshold of irrevocably changing the character of the Middle East against American interests.

As Saeed Ghasseminejad and Emanuele Ottolenghi wrote in The Huffington Post last year on the first anniversary of the JCPOA: “In the administration’s telling, the agreement would help loosen hard-liner’s grip on power in favor of more moderate forces…

the sad truth is unavoidable: the very opposite has occurred.”

Iranian ascendancy was validated and supported by Obama’s Iran agreement, which purposely ignored its hegemonic ambitions to reach a legacy agreement that almost certainly guarantees Iran an industrial-size nuclear program with full international approval in just 10-15 years.

When a pro-peace, pro-Israel progressive organization on the second anniversary of the JCPOA claimed that the agreement had “utterly defanged” Iran, it strained credulity.

It is troubling to see so many progressive groups act as Iranian advocates while Iran still remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, routinely imprisons and tortures its opponents, treats women as second class citizens, and is openly antagonistic to LGBTQ.

The JCPOA has betrayed the people of Iran. Ironically, Iran’s citizens would be among the most Western- oriented people in the Muslim Middle East, if only they could unshackle themselves from their repressive Islamist leadership. This would give them the opportunity to vote in a truly representative election, not one controlled by the Guardian Council, which disallowed 99% of presidential candidates in the last election and does not allow a women to be elected president.

As Ray Takeyh of the Council on Foreign Relations said, the “Islamic republic… features a constant struggle between an authoritarian regime and restive population seeking democratic empowerment…. one thing certain about Iran’s future is that another protest movement will rise at some point seeking to displace the regime.”

Nothing could have been so contradictory to American values than the Obama administration’s abandonment of the Iranian people in 2009 during their Green Revolution, when Iranians by the millions rose to challenge their repressive Islamist government.

In 2015, when Iran was on the threshold of collapse from congressional sanctions with an economy in free-fall, Obama rescued the supreme leader and the fortunes of the Revolutionary Guard with front-loaded sanctions relief, undermining the Iranian people’s chances for more freedom.

So is it wise for an American administration two years into the JCPOA to publicly state that it is in the interests of the Iranian people and American security, to view with favor an eventual change in the leadership of the Islamist Republic, one that is representative of its people while not endangering its neighbors? With the blood of so many Americans directly staining the hands of Iran, ranging from its 1983 orchestrated bombing that murdered 241 American servicemen in Beirut to the untold number of American servicemen maimed and killed by Iranian supplied IED’s in Iraq, America does not have to be apologetic to state the obvious – that Iran is a menace to the world and its people.

It’s time to be there for the Iranian people if they again rise up against the fascists who now control their country. This does not mean military intervention, but it does mean that, at least rhetorically, America would welcome new leadership in Iran. Maybe that is all the Iranian people need to hear.

Unlike all of the Arab peoples who rose up during the failed Arab Spring, the Iranian people is Western oriented and is more likely to democratize in a non-Islamist fashion. But they won’t be free until the regime is gone, and it won’t be gone without a revolution of its indigenous Persian people. They will fail again if America abandons them.

The writer is director of MEPIN™, the Middle East Political and Information Network™. Dr. Mandel regularly briefs members of Congress and think tanks on the Middle East and is a regular contributor to The Jerusalem Post.

 

 

 

The Obama Administration’s Faulty Reasoning and Analysis

{Previously published in The Jerusalem Post}

Obama’s conviction borders on delusion as he ignores the dangers of nuclear weapons in the hands of an apocalyptical revolutionary theocracy.”

 The Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA) “has worked exactly the way we said it was going to… it’s not just the assessment of our intelligence community. It’s the assessment of the Israeli military and intelligence community.” – President Barack Obama “One year later, it can clearly be said that the nuclear talks reversed power relations in Iran’s favor, with the US forfeiting a historic opportunity to dismantle Iran’s nuclear capability…

Iran has been given the legitimacy to maintain, develop, and move forward along the path of uranium enrichment after the deal… the scope of the deal’s damage is wider still. It has turned Iran into a superpower… Iran is the only country that has the potential to pose a threat to the existence of Israel.” – IDF Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, former Israeli national security adviser When a politician or government official assures you something in the Middle East “has worked exactly the way we said it was going to,” you should take it with a large grain of Dead Sea salt. Humility is a prerequisite for Middle East analysis; where understanding regional variables is more akin to playing five-dimensional chess, where your enemies’ enemy is just as likely to be your friend as your foe, and tomorrow, guess again.

Humility is demanded to even begin to understand the complexities of the conflicting myriad of tribal Sunni and Shi’ite Muslim interests. As Scott Anderson wrote in The New York Times Magazine, “[J]ust beneath the sectarian and regional divisions… there lay extraordinarily complex tapestries of tribes and sub-tribes and clans, ancient social orders that remained the populations’ principal source of identification and allegiance.”

Simplistically connecting the dots between the 2003 Iraq War and the chaos that now afflicts the Muslim world projects a misleading narrative of simple cause and effect. To both Sunnis and Shi’ites of the region, 13 years is a blink of an eye, where Muhammad’s word and the death of the fourth caliph ring as clearly to the faithful as though they occurred only yesterday. Westerners cannot understand that 21st-century Islam sees separation of church and state as an alien concept.

Few experts saw the “Arab Winter” coming, just as the best and brightest Israeli military intelligence experts miscalculated the possibility of an Arab invasion in 1973 (Yom Kippur War).

So when US President Barack Obama said with confidence, “The country [Israel] that was most opposed to the deal… [Now] acknowledges this has been a game-changer,” it strains credulity.

Claiming all now agree that the JCPOA is a good agreement makes sense only if your audience is members of Meretz or J Street, not mainstream Israeli parties of the Left, Center and Right, or the American electorate.

I guess the administration missed the Pentagon report in Bloomberg this month, according to which Iran “improved its offensive cyber abilities and developed more advanced ballistic missiles since signing an accord last year to curb its nuclear program.” This violates UNSC resolutions 1929/2231 banning ballistic missile tests, and betrays the president’s own words that snap-back sanctions would occur if Iran violated the deal, as a missile program is essential to an Iranian nuclear weapons program.

Worst of all, the legitimization of the Iranian nuclear program betrays Obama’s promise that the “prohibition on Iran having a nuclear weapon is permanent.” As Alan Dershowitz, who studied the deal’s language, wrote in The Times of Israel, “There’s nothing in the deal that says they’re not allowed to develop nuclear weapons.”

In 1973 the same level of certainty was reached by the Israeli military intelligence chief, who was convinced that an Arab attack on Israel was highly unlikely since they had no new jet fighters or Scud missiles capable of reaching Tel Aviv. His marching orders were not to panic the nation with repeated call-ups of reservists, disrupting the national economy. So even massive Arab troop movements did not budge him.

False certainty and the desire for “legacy have blinded this American administration, which concluded that Iran is a better long-term friend than Israel or the Gulf States. Just as [with] the inability of the Israeli intelligence chief in 1973 to think out of the box, Mr.

Obama’s conviction borders on delusion as he ignores the dangers of nuclear weapons in the hands of an apocalyptical revolutionary theocracy.”

Karen Armstrong wrote, “Socrates made it his life’s work to compel people to question their most fundamental assumptions… The people who conversed with Socrates usually thought they knew what they were talking about, but by the end of the conversation he had exposed the flaws at the heart of each firmly held opinion.”

This is excellent advice for President Obama, and the next American president, if they really think they know what is going to happen next in the Middle East.

The author is the director MEPIN™ (mepinanalysis.org), read by members of Congress, their foreign policy advisers, members of the Knesset, and journalists. He regularly briefs Congress on issues related to the Middle East.

Will Senate Democrats take Violations of the Iran Deal Seriously?

(Previously published in The Jerusalem Post)

Will Democratic senators and members of the House follow their consciences and defend American national security interests, or will they march in step with Obama?

The contentious debate over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has not ended, but simply moved into its next predictable phase: dealing with Iranian violations of the JCPOA and UNSC Resolution 2231.

Back in the summer of 2015, Democratic Senators wrestled over the difficult choice of trusting the president on Iran or risking the wrath of the administration and the Democratic leadership by opposing the deal because it would weaken American national security interests. In the end, most begrudgingly choose political allegiance over principle, but publicly promised disappointed constituents that they would meticulously monitor for Iranian violations, and be quick to respond with “snapback” sanctions if Iran reneged on the deal.

Fast-forward to Spring 2016, and the Iranian transgressions of both the JCPOA and UNSC resolutions on missile tests are clear to everyone.

Furthermore, Iran’s continued support of the genocidal Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, with Iranian- backed Hezbollah shock troops, has unquestionably broken all human rights standards, being the very definition of state-sponsored terrorism. Just ask the tens of thousands of Syrian civilians Syria has tried to starve to death with Iranian financial support.

During my briefings on Capitol Hill in March, I reviewed two pieces of new Senate legislation, The Iran Ballistic Missile Sanctions Act of 2016 and the Iran Terrorism and Human Rights Sanctions Act of 2016 (S. 2726). Both called for tangible consequences for Iranian missile tests, human rights abuses and support of terrorism. They simply follow the president’s promises that there would be “snapback sanctions” if Iran violates the deal, as it obviously is, flagrantly violating UNSC Resolution 2231 and the JCPOA . The most recent missile tested by Iran can carry a nuclear payload and is capable of reaching both Israel and Europe. President Barack Obama and his administration are pressuring Democrats to forget about the “snapback sanctions.” The legacy deal is more important than the truth.

The administration, with the good graces of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and “Shomer of the Senate” Chuck Schumer have told fellow Democrats that all of this is a “Republican” ruse to destroy the president’s legacy, leaving the world in a dangerous predicament without the deal in place. They tell fellow Democrats not to vote for this “Republican legislation,” as it would be a political win for them, and that’s what counts.

Instead the administration is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the American people by trying to extend the toothless Iran Sanctions Act, which will allow the president to continue to waive any meaningful sanctions on Iran.

Even more troubling is that the administration never told the American public that the Iranian Parliament never actually approved the American version of the JCPOA given to Congress. The Majlis (Iranian Parliament) only approved an amended Iranian version that among other things disallows snapback provisions.

Yet Secretary of State John Kerry told the Senate on July 23, 2015, ‘‘We will not violate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action if we use our authorities to impose sanctions on Iran for terrorism, human rights, missiles… the JCPOA does not provide Iran any relief from United States sanctions under any of those authorities or other authorities.”

Over the past four months Iran has launched multiple banned missile tests, all of missiles capable of carrying a nuclear payload, in breach of the JCPOA .

UNSC Resolution 2231 was sold to Congress as an endorsement of the JCPOA , both touted as major achievements to stop Iran’s quest to build and deliver a nuclear bomb. Unfortunately, Iran never accepted UNSC Resolution 2231 as valid or enforceable.

When the administration realized during the negotiation last year that Iran would not allow any teeth to be attached to the JCPOA for future violations of the agreement, the administration pulled a fast one on Congress and the American public by moving anything objectionable to the Iranians, i.e. banning missile tests, to an obscure Annex B in UNSC Resolution 2231, but absent from the JCPOA .

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi made it clear that they viewed the two documents as different from the start.

In July 2015, according to a MEMRI translation Araghchi said, “We told them [the Americans] explicitly [that if you insist on including these articles on the arms and missile embargoes in the JCPOA , then], ‘There is no agreement,’ and we will not accept an agreement in which embargoes on weapons and missiles continue….”

As reported in MEMRI, “The Iranian perspective regarding UNSCR 2231 hinges entirely on its non-binding nature. Iran deems only the JCPOA to be binding… Iran insisted on relegating disputed issues (arms embargo, ballistic missiles) to UNSCR 2231 with the clear intent of violating it.”

2231 “calls upon” Iran to refrain for up to eight years from activity, including launches, related to ballistic missiles designed with the capability of delivering nuclear weapons. But Russia, as should have been expected, has defended its Iranian client and said the wording on Iranian missile tests is not legally binding. Putin 1, Obama 0.

Senator Mark Kirk, who has been insisting on Iranian accountability while defending American national security interests in regard to Iran’s quest for nuclear capability, said, “I reject our current posture of willful ignorance and inaction towards Iran’s terrorist activities, illegal missile testing, funding Assad’s war, and human rights abuses. The administration’s response cannot once again be it’s ‘not supposed to be doing that’ as Iran continues to walk all over US foreign policy and the international community.”

Democratic senators who reluctantly voted for the JCPOA claimed the Obama administration would hold tough and respond to violations immediately if the Iranians pulled any shenanigans. In addition, the president promised that the JCPOA and UNSC 2231 were in no way going to stop sanctions on Iran for its state sponsorship of terrorism or human rights abuses.

So much for the president’s promises.

Missile tests breaking UNSC resolutions evoke only rhetorical grumbles and shrugged shoulders from the administration, like what-can-we-do parents whose kids are misbehaving.

Which brings us to Congress’ foreign policy obligations to impose sanctions on Iran for breaking the JCPOA and UNSC 2231.

Will Democratic senators and members of the House follow their consciences and defend American national security interests, or will they march in step with Obama? The key is Democratic ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee Ben Cardin of Maryland.

Cardin, to his credit, voted against the JCPOA , but has received the runaround from the administration on consequences for Iran’s transgressions.

Ben, do the right thing.

Also calling senators Gillibrand, Coons, Booker, Wyden, Cantwell, Blumenthal, Schumer, Murphy and Peters.

The author is the director of MEPIN™.

The Price President Obama Will Demand from Israel for Increased Military Aid After the JCPOA

(Previously published in The Jerusalem Post)

To the president, this deal is not so much about nuclear weapons. It’s about the president’s outreach to the Muslim people as articulated in both his Cairo speech of 2009 and in other statements.

There may be a threatening quid pro quo on the horizon for Israel, namely that the truly consequential armaments it needs to defend itself will be withheld unless Israel concedes to a Palestinian state.

There has been an unexamined consensus in Congress that Israel will automatically be given a dramatic increase in both the quantity and quality of military aid to make up for the dangers the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has created for it. Those dangers include a strengthened Hamas and Hezbollah, the increasing presence of more dangerous conventional missiles and the looming threat of an Iranian nuclear-tipped missile directed toward the Jewish state.

There is no doubt more aid is forthcoming, if for no other reason than to give cover to Democratic members of Congress who will vote with the president on the deal, but will soon be seeking campaign donations from concerned pro-Israel political donors.

But what is not appreciated is that there will likely be a huge price Israel will be asked to pay to receive what it needs to survive.

Pundits following the Iran deal have misunderstood what the deal is really about. Almost everyone has been focused on the nuclear weapons aspect of the deal, but that is not primarily what this agreement (JCPOA) is all about. If it were, we would have negotiated a much better deal.

This deal is just the first step in President Barack Obama’s vision for creating a new Middle East. It began with Iranian rapprochement, but it will not end until a Palestinian state is created, a passionately held desire of the president, his advisors and his progressive supporters. The president and his allies, for example J Street, still believe that the Israeli- Palestinian conflict is the Middle East’s primary problem. Israel to them is the linchpin, and Israel remains to its critics the intransigent and immoral party in the dispute.

There is little doubt that resolving the conflict in some way that secures Israel would have positive consequences.

But to focus attention here is to miss the point that almost all of the problems of the Middle East, from Islamic State (IS) to the Sunni- Shi’ite divide, have nothing to do with Israel, except for Israel’s role as a convenient scapegoat.

For all of the administration’s condemnations of the Bush administration agenda – trying to bring democracy to the region with American hubris and exceptionalism – this president’s plan is in actuality much more ambitious: to transform the region with an American progressive footprint. The more the president protests that this deal is just about nuclear weapons, the less you should believe it. You just have to look at the dramatic concessions made on conventional and ballistic missiles.

The Iran deal is less about nuclear weapons and more about strengthening Shi’ite Iran as a counterweight to balance the power of the Sunni Gulf states before moving on to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the same progressive footprint. If the president thinks his pivot to Iran reassures the other regional players, he is dangerously mistaken. The half a trillion dollars in money freed up with sanctions relief over the next five years will ignite the Sunni-Shi’ite world, not quiet it. American aid to the Sunni world in turn is simply kerosene being thrown in the Sunni-Shi’ite fire, with American soldiers likely to end up being killed as a result. The president’s wishful thinking is that Iran will work with the US against IS, help resolve the genocidal Syrian civil war, and with billions in economic relief choose butter over guns to revitalize its domestic economy, rather than beef up its military and that of its proxies. Good luck with that.

To the president, this deal is not so much about nuclear weapons. It’s about the president’s outreach to the Muslim people as articulated in both his Cairo speech of 2009 and in other statements.

So after Congress fails to override the president’s veto, he will turn to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is directly related to the Iran deal as part of an overall strategic vision.

It will next be about pressuring Israel to accept a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines, which until the Obama administration was the Palestinian starting point for negotiations.

The Israeli view is secure and defensible borders. The American stick to Israel will be the threat to abstain from vetoing an expected French proposal in the UN Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state. The carrot is the advanced military aid Israel needs in response to the concessions the JCPOA created.

For the real consequential military “goodies” that Israel needs, there will be a quid pro quo: bend to our vision of resolving the conflict or pay the price.

The author is the director of MEPIN™ (Middle East Political and Information Network™), and a regular contributor to The Jerusalem Post. MEPIN™ is a Middle East research analysis read by members of Congress, their foreign policy advisors, members of the Knesset, journalists and organizational leaders. He regularly briefs members of Congress on issues related to the Middle East.

Iran: The Deal That Keeps Getting Worse

Today’s Vlog begins with the new Israeli Defense Force Strategy (IDF) for the next year.  This is particularly noteworthy because it is the first time in over half a century that it has been publicly released.

A significant change could be looming for the US peacekeeping force in the Sinai: its withdrawal.  In the aftermath of the Iran Deal, it may be a signal to both Egypt and Israel of the administrations displeasure with both governments, and its seeking to withdraw from another region of the Middle East.

Iran is still front and center in the news, especially with false statements and scare tactics being used by far too many people involved in the debate. We will present five questions for Congress to ask itself before they vote on the deal in just a few weeks. These questions are also a good source for you in your discussions with friends, to see if they are open minded about understanding its potential consequences, or if they are married to their political ideology and party.

Many people don’t realize that Iran has already been challenging the administration by transgressing current sanctions. Watch the following video and then decide for yourself if this deal will ever have consequences attached to Iranian provocations.

For more information on this topic, read my latest Jerusalem Post column: “What Should Congress Do It the Deal is Approved or Overridden.”