Right Web

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Game Over? With Sen Casey, Pro-Deal Forces Win Over Key Iran Deal Vote

LobeLog

While LobeLog generally shuns “breaking news,” Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey’s announcement Tuesday that he supports the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action (JCPOA) merits special notice. According to my calculations, Casey’s announcement, which was coupled with a lengthy and thoughtful memorandum on why he reached his decision, makes it a virtual certainty that Obama will have enough support among Senate Democrats to sustain his veto – if one proves necessary — of any resolution to reject the nuclear deal.

Indeed, it’s looks increasingly possible that a veto may not be even necessary. If 41 Democrats (including the two independents, Bernie Sanders and Angus King) oppose such a resolution, it won’t even get to the president’s desk. And, with Delaware Sen. Chris Coons joining Casey and what is becoming a remarkably strong majority of his Democratic colleagues, that prospect is certainly looming into view. With Coons, I count 33 Democratic senators on record as supporting the deal. With another half dozen reportedly leaning in that direction… well, you can do the math. Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski is also expected to announce her support imminently, which would bring the veto-relevant total to the magic 34.

That said, Casey’s decision marks a major victory for the administration and the independent groups that have rallied behind the JCPOA. Until now, the Pennsylvania senator has been a staunch ally of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and a steadfast hawk on Iran. Shortly after winning reelection in 2012, Casey spoke before the neoconservative (and mainly Republican) Foundation for Defense of Democracies which sang his praises in the latter regard. “Few leaders have done as much as Senator Casey to confront Iran, our greatest threat in the Middle East,” noted FDD board member Ken Schwarz in his introduction.

Casey was one of the original movers of the Kirk-Menendez “Wag the Dog” Act (S. 1881), the bill designed by AIPAC and FDD to sabotage the November 2013 Joint Program of Action (JPOA).

(Of the 15 Democrats who co-sponsored that bill, Casey and Coons have become the third and fourth — after Gillibrand and Donnelly — to endorse the JCPOA. Four others – Begich, Pryor, Landrieu, and Hagan – were defeated in their reelection bids. Five others – Cardin, Blumenthal, Warner, Booker, and Manchin – haven’t yet announced their positions, while Menendez and Schumer are the only two Senate Democrats who have pledged to reject the deal.)

Casey was also one of just eight original Democratic co-sponsors of S. 269, the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015, that was introduced by Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk, AIPAC’s most loyal Republican in the upper chamber. Other Democratic co-sponsors of that bill included Menendez, Schumer, Blumenthal, Donnelly, Manchin, and Peters (who has also come out in favor of the JCPOA). That legislation, a milder version of the “Wag the Dog” bill, albeit also intended to sabotage the P5+1 talks, became mired in parliamentary mismanagement and never made it to the floor.

Casey’s co-sponsorship of these bills is not the only thing that makes his support for the JCPOA so significant, however. My understanding from sources on Capitol Hill is that, once Schumer announced his opposition to the deal with Iran, Casey became one of the top three — along with Cardin (the ranking member of Senate Foreign Relations Committee) and Booker – lobbying targets for AIPAC and the various donors who have contributed millions to the campaign to secure a veto-proof majority against the nuclear deal.

Casey’s decision not only brings Obama to the brink of victory in his quest to secure the 34 Democratic votes in the Senate to sustain any veto. It may also provide additional political cover – and inject some spine – into still-wavering Democrats, including, perhaps Cardin and Booker. If they break in the president’s favour, the chances that Obama will be forced to wield his veto will likely be substantially reduced – which would be a remarkable victory indeed, particularly given the tens of millions of dollars spent on this campaign by the opposition.

Of course, Benjamin Netanyahu, AIPAC and the Republicans, who are already working on new sanctions legislation, will not be deterred. And, while Obama now looks set to win a mighty big battle in the Senate later this month, the war over the future of U.S. policy toward Iran is hardly over.

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), one of the more effective U.S. lobbying outfits, aims to ensure that the United States backs Israel regardless of the policies Israel pursues.


Erik Prince, former CEO of the mercenary group Blackwater, continues to sell security services around the world as controversies over his work—including in China and the Middle East, and his alleged involvement in collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia—grow.


Gina Haspel is the first woman to hold the position of director of the CIA, winning her confirmation despite her history of involvement in torture during the Iraq War.


Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI) is a pressure group founded in early 2019 that serves as a watchdog and enforcer of Israel’s reputation in the Democratic Party.


Richard Grenell is the U.S. ambassador to Germany for the Donald Trump administration, known for his brusque and confrontational style.


Zalmay Khalilzad is Donald Trump’s special representative to the Afghan peace process, having previously served as ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq under George W. Bush.


Robert Joseph played a key role in manipulating U.S. intelligence to support the invasion of Iraq and today is a lobbyist for the MEK.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

The Senate on Wednesday passed a measure mandating the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Saudi/UAE-led war against Houthi rebels in Yemen. The vote marks the first time since the War Powers Act of 1973 became law that both chambers of Congress have directed the president to withdraw American forces from a conflict.


The Trump administration’s failed “maximum pressure” approach to Iran and North Korea begs the question what the US president’s true objectives are and what options he is left with should the policy ultimately fail.


In the United States, it’s possible to debate any and every policy, domestic and foreign, except for unquestioning support for Israel. That, apparently, is Ilhan Omar’s chief sin.


While Michael Cohen mesmerized the House of Representatives and President Trump resumed his love affair with North Korea’s Kim Jong, one of the most dangerous state-to-state confrontations, centering in Kashmir, began to spiral out of control.


The Trump administration’s irresponsible withdrawal from the landmark Iran nuclear agreement undermined Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and emboldened hardliners who accused him of having been deceived by Washington while negotiating the agreement. However, the Iranian government could use the shock of Zarif’s resignation to push back against hardliners and take charge of both the domestic and foreign affairs of the country while Iran’s foreign opponents should consider the risks of destabilizing the government under the current critical situation.


Europe can play an important role in rebuilding confidence in the non-proliferation regime in the wake of the demise of the INF treaty, including by making it clear to the Trump administration that it wants the United States to refrain from deploying INF-banned missiles in Europe and to consider a NATO-Russian joint declaration on non-first deployment.


The decline in Israel’s appeal to Democrats is directly related to the wider awareness of the country’s increasingly authoritarian nature, its treatment of Palestinians, and its reluctance to take substantive steps toward peace. Pro-Israel liberals face a fundamental paradox trying to reconcile Israel’s illiberalism with their political values.


RightWeb
share