Saturday, January 17, 2015

Desperate Drumbeat For War Against Iran Intensifies As Netanyahu Faces Electoral Defeat In Israel


Although the latest polling from Israel-- all the latest polling from Israel show Israeli's have grown disenchanted with Netanyahu's far right Likud Party and are on the verge of handing over the government to the center-left Zionist Camp, run by Isaac Herzog Labor Party and Tzipi Livni's more centrist Hatnua. Still, many Israel-firsters in the U.S. Senate are rushing to shove Obama's delicate negotiations with Iran under the bus with more sanctions designed to enrage Iran's hardliners and scuttle the talks. Likud puppets Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Robert Melendez (D-NJ) are leading the charge to engineer a war with Iran, while Lindsey Graham, Kelly Ayotte and John McCain are the cheering squad.

Friday, Senate Banking Chair Richard Shelby (R-AL) said their bill is one of the first things the Banking Committee will take up-- probably Tuesday-- and a vote could come as soon as next Thursday. President Obama-- and Tony Blair-- have asked the senatorial Likudniks to hold off until the negotiations have ruin their natural course.

With enough warmonger, AIPAC-oriented Democrats joining virtually all the Republicans, there's little doubt that the bill can pass, despite Obama's requests that they hold their fire. "Why is it," he asked, "we would have to take actions that might jeopardize the possibility of getting a deal over the next 60 or 90 days? What is it precisely that is going to be accomplished?"

Last month Galland, executive director of Civic Action, and Becky Bond, political director of CREDO Political Action, penned an OpEd for DC trade paper The Hill, Iran: Will Senate Democrats stand for diplomacy--or with Republican war hawks?". It's rare for Beltway types to ever read that the Republicans aren't up to the worst shit in the world by themselves and that conservative Democrats are their biggest enablers-- after the grotesque Zionist briber-meisters like Sheldon Adelson (R) and Haim Saban (D).
On November 24, 2014, negotiators in Vienna announced the extension of talks aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program. They now have until July 2015 to broker a deal and they're back at it this week. Predictably, a pack of Republican senators and neoconservative commentators pounced on the announcement, demanding everything from a new round of sanctions to airstrikes within Iran. Many of these folks-- like Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.)-- are the same cast of characters who led us into a disastrous war in Iraq in 2003.

Eager to undermine President Obama’s agenda, even at the cost of starting a war, Republicans are ramping up pressure on Senate Democrats in an effort to cobble together a veto-proof majority opposed to continued diplomatic efforts. Unfortunately, a small group of deeply misguided Democrats, like Sens. Robert Menendez (N.J.), Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), and Mark Warner (Va.), are poised to join Republicans in recklessly pushing the U.S. closer to another major Middle East war—and advancing the agenda of hard-liners in Iran.

It’s certainly tempting to direct all of our outrage at Republicans, who appear to be motivated more by a desire to deny Obama a major foreign policy victory than by an interest in preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. However, if Congress prevents Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry from brokering a deal with Iran, it will be first and foremost the fault of a handful of pro-war Senate Democrats who break ranks and vote with the GOP. 

This is because-- although Republicans will take over the Senate next year-- Democrats still hold most of the cards when it comes to Iran. To circumvent  Obama’s veto, any poison pill legislation intended to sabotage diplomacy (such as additional sanctions) will require a substantial number of Democratic votes.

Fortunately, the American people are solidly on the side of diplomacy. They’ve shown that they will speak out loudly in favor of Obama’s negotiations with Iran. In the past, we’ve seen fiercely determined progressive activists—including millions of MoveOn and CREDO members—successfully push Democrats to hold the line in Congress.

On the merits, Democrats have no excuse to deny the president their support. Since negotiations began, Iran’s nuclear stockpile has been sharply reduced. Iran has agreed to an internationally monitored cap on the enrichment of uranium. The frequency of international inspections of Iranian nuclear sites has increased, and sites that were previously off-limits are now subject to international inspections on short notice. And finally, Iran has said it will modify a nuclear reactor under construction to significantly reduce its production of weapons-grade material.

Ironically, Republicans' response to November’s extension of talks is almost perfectly mirrored by the response of hard-liners in Iran, who, like hard-liners in the U.S., oppose a diplomatic deal.

Farshad Farahat, the human rights activist and star of the Academy Award winning film Argo, makes a similar observation: “The fact of the matter is that the more you know about the politics of Iran, the clearer it becomes that senators like Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL),  who are leading efforts to oppose the negotiations, are doing the bidding of those who oppose freedom in Iran.”

Democrats’ next move should be clear: Stand with Obama and the global community to lock in a lasting and peaceful diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. All the proposed alternatives would undermine diplomacy and risk a return to a path of aggressive confrontation and eventual war. Democrats who choose the latter path should expect to be held fully accountable by the wider progressive community for what could become the most foolish, dangerous, and costly foreign policy decision of this decade.

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