Right Web

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

Next Hurdle for Iran Deal: AIPAC’s Plan B (Endorsed by Post)

Having lost the Iran deal vote, AIPAC and hawkish outlets like the Washington Post are moving to support other measures aimed at preventing broader cooperation between the United States and Iran.

Print Friendly

LobeLog

AIPAC’s Plan B—codified in the “Iran Policy Oversight Act of 2015” of Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD)—is now definitely in the cards (pun intended) and will pose the next major obstacle to the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and the P5+1. Those who are focusing on what the Republicans are planning, such as the ludicrous idea of suing the president for allegedly failing to submit to Congress an agreement between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran, are missing the point. The game now is to presume unanimous Republican support for any bill that the White House opposes and to get a sufficient number of Democrats who are nervous about their vote on Thursday to sign on to something approximating Cardin’s bill, including at least a couple of its numerous “poison pills,” to ensure a veto-proof majority.

Note, for example, AIPAC’s “victory” statement to its membership after Thursday’s vote (a good example of trying hard to squeeze lemonade out of lemons) in which it looks forward to what it calls:

Future Legislation: By achieving the largest possible bipartisan rejection of this deal, and by ensuring that even those who supported the deal were aware of its weaknesses, we established the strongest possible foundation for future congressional action. Iran’s past and current behavior shows the continued danger of the threat. We will now work with Congress on a broad agenda to respond to the dangers posed by this agreement: (1) to establish congressional oversight and monitoring of the agreement; (2) to take steps to clarify our commitments to our allies and strengthen our ability to enforce the agreement; (3) to develop a new strategy working with Israel and our Arab allies to counter Iranian aggression in the region; and (4) to enhance Israel’s security and deepen the vital U.S.-Israel strategic partnership.

This statement is entirely consistent with Cardin’s bill despite AIPAC’s insistence all last week to inquiring reporters that it had nothing to do with that “Iran Policy Oversight Act of 2015” draft summary that we published on September 3.

Now comes The Washington Post‘s lead editorial in its Sunday print edition, “Next Steps On Iran.” Although the Post supported the JCPOA as the least bad of the alternatives, its hyper-interventionist, often neocon/liberal-hawk editorial board is now speaking favorably about Cardin’s legislation, including such “poison polls” as imposing new sanctions for Iran’s support for Hezbollah or “sponsorship of a terrorist attack on a U.S. target,” not to mention delivery of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) to the Israelis so they can presumably attack Iran’s Fordow facility. Here are some of the Post’s less-than-helpful ideas:

The measures that could be included in a post-deal package start with a clarification of U.S. intent regarding Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon. Congress can make clear that Mr. Obama or his successor will have support for immediate U.S. military action if an Iranian attempt to build a bomb is detected. One trigger could be verification that Tehran is producing highly enriched uranium; another would be the resumption of work on warhead designs and materials. Such a statement by Congress could not be binding, but it would tell Iran and U.S. allies in the region that the nuclear deal has not taken the U.S. military option off the table.

Other steps could be aimed at deterring Iran from using the billions it will gain from the lifting of sanctions to step up its support for Hezbollah, the Assad regime in Syria and other proxies. Tehran is claiming that the accord prevents the United States from reimposing sanctions in the future. But Congress can make clear that new sanctions can and will be adopted for non-nuclear offenses, such as weapons deliveries to Hezbollah or sponsorship of a terrorist attack on a U.S. target.

Legislation can also mandate new U.S. support for Israel. A 10-year security agreement, due to expire within three years, could be renewed and expanded; Congress could support the delivery to Israel of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, a bomb developed to destroy an Iranian nuclear facility buried under a mountain.

The greatest risks of the nuclear accord are that Iran will seek a bomb in spite of the constraints it accepted and that it will escalate its attempt to establish hegemony over the Middle East by force. While Congress can’t now overturn the deal, it can pragmatically address both of these threats.

Amid all the talk about how Bibi and AIPAC and the Israel lobby (and the Saudis) were decisively defeated in the Senate on Thursday, this is a very useful reminder that it was one battle—albeit a very important one—in a long war being waged by the above-mentioned three against any possible détente, let alone rapprochement—or, God forbid, any actual cooperation—between Washington and Tehran. And they still have an influential ally in the editorial board of the U.S. capital’s major newspaper.

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

Although sometimes characterized as a Republican “maverick” for his bipartisan forays into domestic policy, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is one of the Senate’s more vocal hawks.


Former CIA director Michael Hayden, a stalwart advocate of the Bush-era policies on torture and warrantless wiretapping, has been a vocal critic of Donald Trump


The former GOP presidential candidate and Speaker of the House has been a vociferous proponent of the idea that the America faces an existential threat from “Islamofascists.”


David Albright is the founder of the Institute for Science and International Security, a non-proliferation think tank whose influential analyses of nuclear proliferation issues in the Middle East have been the source of intense disagreement and debate.


A right-wing Christian and governor of Kansas, Brownback previously served in the U.S. Senate, where he gained a reputation as a leading social conservative as well as an outspoken “pro-Israel” hawk on U.S. Middle East policy.


Steve Forbes, head of the Forbes magazine empire, is an active supporter of a number of militarist policy organizations that have pushed for aggressive U.S. foreign policies.


Stephen Hadley, an Iraq War hawk and former national security adviser to President George W. Bush, now chairs the U.S. Institute for Peace.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

Print Friendly

The Trump administration appears to have been surprised by this breach among its friends in the critical Gulf strategic area. But it is difficult to envision an effective U.S. role in rebuilding this Humpty-Dumpty.


Print Friendly

A recent vote in the European Parliament shows how President Trump’s relentless hostility to Iran is likely to isolate Washington more than Tehran.


Print Friendly

The head of the Institute for Science and International Security—aka “the Good ISIS”—recently demonstrated again his penchant for using sloppy analysis as a basis for politically explosive charges about Iran, in this case using a faulty translation from Persian to misleadingly question whether Tehran is “mass producing advanced gas centrifuges.”


Print Friendly

Trump has exhibited a general preference for authoritarians over democrats, and that preference already has had impact on his foreign policy. Such an inclination has no more to do with realism than does a general preference for democrats over authoritarians.


Print Friendly

The President went to the region as a deal maker and a salesman for American weapon manufacturing. He talked about Islam, terrorism, Iran, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without the benefit of expert advice in any of these areas. After great showmanship in Riyadh, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem, he and his family left the region without much to show for or to benefit the people of that war-torn region.


Print Friendly

Although the Comey memo scandal may well turn out to be what brings Trump down, this breach of trust may have had more lasting effect than any of Trump’s other numerous misadventures. It was an unprecedented betrayal of Israel’s confidence. Ironically, Trump has now done what even Barack Obama’s biggest detractors never accused him of: seriously compromised Israel’s security relationship with the United States.


Print Friendly

Congress and the public acquiesce in another military intervention or a sharp escalation of one of the U.S. wars already under way, perhaps it’s time to finally consider the true costs of war, American-style — in lives lost, dollars spent, and opportunities squandered. It’s a reasonable bet that never in history has a society spent more on war and gotten less bang for its copious bucks.


RightWeb
share