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David Gerstman
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Will Iran Back Out of the Nuclear Deal? It Did So Before
+David Gerstman, TheTower.org

...While Iran has been accusing the U.S. of failing to meet its JCPOA obligations since Implementation Day—even when Barack Obama was still president—it appears that Iran may be more serious about its current claims against the U.S.

It might seem odd that Iran would abandon a deal that was implemented less than two years ago, but in 2005 it abandoned a deal it made with the EU3 (United Kingdom, France and Germany) less than ten months earlier.

In November 2004, Iran agreed to stop enriching uranium in exchange for political and economic considerations from the EU3. Over the next ten months Iran regularly charged that the Europeans were not holding up their end of the deal, and, in August 2015 resumed enriching uranium in violation of the 2004 deal and prompting the U.S. and Europe to bring the matter of Iran’s nuclear program to the Security Council. This led to the imposition of at least six U.N. Security Council resolutions condemning Iran as well as the imposition of U.S. and European sanctions.

Iran’s violation of the 2004 nuclear deal wasn’t the first time Iran violated a nuclear deal with the West. It also violated an earlier deal in 2003. The New York Times described what happened...
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Week in Review: Who Cares About History? Who Cares About UNSCR 1701?
+David Gerstman, The Tower

...Who Cares About UNSCR 1701?

Hezbollah’s media tour of Lebanon’s border with Israel last week showed that the Iranian proxy had “dropped all pretenses and laid bare the joke that is UNSCR 1701 and the ‘Lebanese government,’” wrote Tony Badran, a research fellow at Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, stipulated that there be no armed groups in Lebanon except for the Lebanese Armed Forces [LAF] and banned other nations from shipping weapons to any force other than the LAF.)

In essence, Badran observed, the media tour showed that the Lebanese government is totally dependent on Hezbollah.

The control Hezbollah wields over Lebanon was highlighted during another incident this week. Lebanese President Michael Aoun, an ally of Hezbollah, and other Lebanese officials are seeking to prevent passage of additional U.S. sanctions against the Iranian proxy, arguing that such sanctions “greatly harm Lebanon and its people.” Aoun’s claim that sanctions against Hezbollah would hurt the Lebanese people is an admission that Hezbollah effectively dominates Lebanon. As David Daoud, a research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, observed in January: “Slowly but surely, the Party of God is clearing its own path towards full control of Lebanon’s government.”

There may however be one player on the international scene that cares about enforcing UNSCR 1701: Israel. Several missiles struck sites near Damascus International Airport on Thursday, shortly after four cargo planes from Iran landed in Syria. According to Emanuele Ottolenghi, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, such flights often transport weapons to Hezbollah in violation of UNSCR 1701.

While Israel did not claim responsibility for the missile strikes, Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said they were “consistent with our policy to prevent Iran’s smuggling of advanced weapons via Syria to Hezbollah by Iran.” If Israel did attack the suspected Hezbollah arms depots in Damascus, it would appear to be the one country in the world that is serious about enforcing UNSCR 1701.

Read the whole thing

Below: Photo: bar stef / YouTube
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Thomas Friedman’s Unhinged Attack on Trump and Netanyahu
+David Gerstman, +Legal Insurrection

Gerstman debunks point after point that New York Times journalist Thomas Friedman claims.

Here is one of them:

[Quoting Friedman:] But they [Obama and Kerry] are convinced — rightly — that Netanyahu is a leader who is forever dog paddling in the middle of the Rubicon, never ready to cross it. He is unwilling to make any big, hard decision to advance or preserve a two-state solution if that decision in any way risks his leadership of Israel’s right-wing coalition or forces him to confront the Jewish settlers, who relentlessly push Israel deeper and deeper into the West Bank.

That is what precipitated this fight over Obama’s decision not to block a U.N. resolution last week criticizing Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The settlers’ goal is very clear, as Kerry put it Wednesday: to strategically place settlements “in locations that make two states impossible,” so that Israel will eventually annex all of the West Bank. Netanyahu knows this will bring huge problems, but his heart is with the settlers, and his passion is with holding power — at any cost. So in any crunch, he sides with the settlers, and they keep pushing.

Actually during his first term as prime minister, twenty years ago in January 1997, Netanyahu did exactly what Friedman said that he never did. He came to an agreement to withdraw Israel from most of Hebron.

Krauthammer observed in The Weekly Standard then that “in retrospect, Netanyahu’s election was the best thing that could have happened to the peace process. He has turned it from the policy of 51 percent of Israel to the policy of 75 percent. For Oslo to do anything other than tear apart the Israeli body politic, it had to be entrusted to a skeptic who would carry it out nonetheless.

The notion that “settlers” are ruining the possibility was debunked by Elder of Ziyon in July [http://bit.ly/2hBNe7L]. But if that isn’t good enough, the hardly pro-Likud Washington Post observed in their editorial blasting Kerry and the administration in general for their treatment of Israel, “in fact, the two-state solution remains entirely viable, as even the settlement statistics cited by Mr. Kerry demonstrate.” [http://wapo.st/2hKnPvV] The Post actually credited Netanyahu for this but for which he “received no White House credit.”

Read the whole thing: http://bit.ly/2iqkxyF

Below: Photo: The New York Times / YouTube

#mediabias
#thomasfriedman
#newyorktimes
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Israel’s Legitimacy is not dependent on a Palestinian State, or The NY Times
The truth bites NYT columnist Thomas Friedman in the face, but he ignores it.
+David Gerstman, +Legal Insurrection 
 
We hear from critics of Israel that Israel needs a two-state solution to be  legitimate. Without a Palestinian state, Israel will rule over millions of resentful Palestinians to whom it will have to deny their basic rights in order to maintain its Jewish nature. Or if Israel enfranchises the Palestinians, they could overwhelm the Jews with their votes and then Israel would cease to be a Jewish state. So the reasoning goes, without a separate Palestinian state, Israel will either cease being Jewish or democratic.

But there was already a separation achieved in 1993, with the signing of the Oslo Accords. By the end of 1995 Israel had withdrawn from the major population areas in the West Bank, leaving over 90% of Palestinians under the political control of the Palestinian Authority. In 2005, Israel "disengaged" from Gaza ending any semblance of occupation of that territory.

On the political front, Yasser Arafat rejected a two state solution from then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. In 2008 Arafat's successor, Mahmoud Abbas rejected a peace deal from then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Two years ago, Abbas rejected a framework agreement that current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had reluctantly agreed to.

So the problem isn't the occupation but what the Palestinians have done or haven't done with the opportunity. By focusing strictly on Israel, the peace processors have absolved the Palestinians of any responsibility for their own plight. Worse, by making Israel responsible, they give the Palestinians the ability to determine Israel's  legitimacy.

...Aside from this procedural flaw in placing the sole or major burden of making peace with Israel, there's also a huge practical flaw. With whom should Israel, can Israel make peace?

Read the whole thing: http://bit.ly/1RQPfMF

Below: Photo: Thomas Friedman

#israel  
#palestinian  
#abbas  
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How The Washington Post Contributed to Mythology of Obama Greatness
+David Gerstman, +Legal Insurrection 

At a time when tensions in the Middle East are rising, it is perhaps a time to once again review President Barack Obama’s qualifications for office. To be sure his qualifications were fabricated, or at least oversold.

This wasn’t just the doing of the Obama campaign. Campaigns are supposed to do present their candidates in the best possible light. The problem  was that America’s supposedly independent media boosted the first terms senator’s prospects with little or no skepticism.

This was certainly the case in reporting where most reporters bought into the historical aspect of Obama’s candidacy as well was the rebuke to Republicans for the failings of the Bush presidency. (If not the failings, then the aspects that the liberal media disagreed with.)

For the purpose of this exercise let’s look at parts of The Washington Post‘s 2008 endorsement of Obama. I am using the Post as an example of what we saw so frequetly because even though the Post is a liberal paper, its editorial position regarding foreign policy is generally responsible. However in the Post’s enthusiasm for Obama, all caution was disregarded and they promoted a man who did not really exist.

In its 2008 endorsement of Obama the Post described him as “a man of supple intelligence, with a nuanced grasp of complex issues and evident skill at conciliation and consensus-building.” In fact we have seen over the course of the past seven years a man, who may be brilliant, but stubbornly insists on doing things his way regardless of the results. There has been little or no conciliation or consensus building during Obama’s term in office. Obamacare, which is collapsing under the weight of its internal contradictions, was passed with only Democratic support. And the president’s biggest foreign policy “achievement,” the nuclear deal with Iran, was passed despite bipartisan opposition because Obama chose the path of an executive agreement to bypass BOTH parties in Congress.

Keep reading: http://bit.ly/1S7KChJ

#mediabias  
#washingtonpost  
#obama  
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Violated Syria Deal on Chemical Weapons Was Described Same Way As Iran Deal

From: "Traces of Chemical Weapons Found at Undeclared Site in Syria"
+David Gerstman, +Legal Insurrection Blog 
Assad once again violates a “verifiable” deal
 
After pointing out that this is not the first time that Syria has been caught cheating on its Chemical Weapons Deal, Gerstman notes the similarity between how Obama described the Syria deal and how the proposed Nuclear Deal with Iran is presented.

I welcome the progress made between the United States and Russia through our talks in Geneva, which represents an important, concrete step toward the goal of moving Syria’s chemical weapons under international control so that they may ultimately be destroyed. This framework provides the opportunity for the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons in a transparent, expeditious, and verifiable manner, which could end the threat these weapons pose not only to the Syrian people but to the region and the world. The international community expects the Assad regime to live up to its public commitments.

While we have made important progress, much more work remains to be done. The United States will continue working with Russia, the United Kingdom, France, the United Nations and others to ensure that this process is verifiable, and that there are consequences should the Assad regime not comply with the framework agreed today. And, if diplomacy fails, the United States remains prepared to act.

Gerstman adds:

Sentiments similar to those in the two phrases bolded above are regularly said by the President and the administration official regarding the nuclear deal with Iran. The president insists that the deal with Iran will be verifiable, and that Iran will be subjected to unprecedented inspections and that any violations will be met with a snap back of the sanctions regime.

But when we see that there are no consequences to Syria for violating a verifiable deal to get rid of its chemical weapons, what lesson should we draw about future violations by Iran of any deal that it agrees to regarding its illicit nuclear program?

Read the whole thing (http://bit.ly/1KB0Jgx)

Below: Credit: wochit news / YouTube 

#syria  
#chemicalweapons  
#iran  
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Israel Uses Disproportionate Force in Nepal

Hat tip: +Yisrael Medad 

#nepalearthquake  
#israel  
#unitednations  
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I was in the audience for both of these Iran addresses, by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Vice-President Joe Biden. Josh Rogin reports that the remarks were “unnerving some experts, who doubt the administration’s claims about the sanctions will hold up…. The two officials seemed to be eager to get ahead of any and all the criticisms they are anticipating. But they did not…. The administration will continue to face questions it can’t answer.”
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Originally shared by ****
This pretty much sums it up. 
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Originally shared by ****
I can't say that this pretty much sums it up, because it doesn't do the speech justice. Not even close. But I'm going to leave this here anyway, as a small sample of the many great points that he made.
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