Monday, June 26, 2017

US Supreme Court allows a subset version of Trump’s travel ban to take effect

This is a major victory for everyone who wants to defend the US from jihadists. Thank you Founding Fathers for coming up with the US system of checks and balances. And the victory is not so partial after all. The ban “may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” Which was not the gist of what Trump wanted  to achieve so Trump’s revised travel ban is going to be enforced after all. 

A quote from Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s new book, "The Challenge of Dawa", on immigration:

“The administration, through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), should subject immigrants and refugees to ideological scrutiny, as happened during the Cold War.

 Individuals requesting temporary entry to the United States, permanent residency, or citizenship must be asked about their commitment to Islamism and related concepts such as the death penalty for apostasy and support for sharia law and the subjugation of women. If individuals are found to have lied in their immigration or citizenship applications about their commitment to the US Constitution by engaging in subversive dawa activities after establishing residency, their residency or citizenship must be revoked."

Note that the emphasis is on ideological  scrutiny.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Stopping terror

Letters to the Editor, Jerusalem Post, June 21, 2017 

The reaction of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas after the terrorists involved in the murder of Hadas Malka and a simultaneous attack nearby were killed by the police was to issue a statement that their deaths were a “war crime.”

The jihadists live in an alternate ethical universe. This is the time to expose it to the world.

Where does it come from? Ibn Warraq, the pen name of one of the great Islamic scholars of today, wrote recently: “Again during the caliphate of Umar, al-Mughirag b. Shu’bah says to his Persian adversary Rustam, ‘If you kill us, we enter Paradise; if we kill you, you shall enter fire,’ while the Muslim commander, Zuhrah b. Hawiyyah al-Tamimi, says to Rustam, ‘We do not come to you looking for things of this world; our desire and aspiration is the hereafter.’”


Monday, June 19, 2017


The Islamic Republic of Iran is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, is governed by an apocalyptic radical Islamic regime and is expanding its presence and influence across the Middle East by the use of intimidation, aggression and terrorism. Still, many in the West have been eager to re-engage with Iran in terms of trade and sanctions relief.

Fortunately, thanks to a new administration in the White House and a renewed sense of urgency among the Sunni Arab states, the Iranian threat is back at the top of the international agenda. These positive developments have created the right conditions for more countries, especially within the EU, to understand the true nature of the Iranian regime, the threat it poses to the world, and ultimately deal with it in accordance with reality instead of wishful thinking.

The regime that controls Iran with an iron fist, led by Ayatollah Khamenei, is guided by the Shi’ite version of Islamism. Islamism is a political ideology with roots in Muslim scriptures that calls for the destruction of Western society and the establishment of Sharia law (Islamic law) worldwide.

While Sunni Islamism generally calls for the incremental implementation of Sharia worldwide, many within Shi’ite Islam believe that when the world is on the verge of destruction the Twelfth Imam, the Shi’ite messiah, will suddenly return to rule the world through a worldwide Islamic caliphate. The prophecy does not specify who should be responsible for the destruction and therefore the Iranian regime may take it upon themselves to create the right conditions for the return of their messiah.

For Ayatollah Khamenei and many other leaders in Iran, this religious prophecy is not just about faith but rather their main guide when it comes to implementing policy. This conviction is the reason they enforce Sharia with such ruthlessness domestically and why they have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on terrorism abroad instead of investing in their own population.

Implementing this doomsday ideology goes far beyond rhetoric and even policy, it is their raison d’être.

Hence, when Iranians chant “Death to America” and call to wipe Israel “off the map,” it would be in the best interest of the West to take them more seriously, even literally. This prophecy is so deep-rooted in Iranian culture that their leaders have stated publicly that they are willing to let millions of their own people die in order to fulfill it. This was infamously expressed by former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani who in 2001 said that a nuclear bomb “would not leave anything in Israel but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world.”

It is imperative for the West to realize that this is not empty rhetoric; it is their ideology, policy and conviction.

For the Iranian regime (and other Islamists) death is not the end – dying for Allah is the ultimate victory, the ultimate achievement of one’s life.

Aside from downplaying the Iranian regime’s ideology, most Western countries have yet to realize the severity of the threat that Iran poses and instead focus on the much less significant threat posed by the Islamic State (ISIS). While ISIS has managed to conduct and inspire recent terrorist attacks on Western soil, Iran is a vastly greater threat as its economy is several hundred times larger, it has a tremendously more advanced army with intercontinental ballistic missiles, an air force and a navy, and is on the path to developing nuclear weapons.

Furthermore, Iran is indirectly in control of four other governments in the Middle East, in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen, and has a global terrorism network that operates in over 30 countries across all continents. Just one of its terrorist proxies, Hezbollah, currently has a stockpile of over 130,000 rockets, more than the combined arsenal of all 28 NATO countries, with the exception of the US.

While their ideologies are very similar, the capabilities of ISIS pale in comparison to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Those in the West who believe that engagement with Iran will lead to moderation fundamentally misunderstand the nature of the regime. Nothing illustrates this better than Iran’s behavior since signing the catastrophic nuclear deal in 2015. The nuclear deal awarded Iran enormous financial benefits and re-engagement with the international community in return for an unverified pause in parts of its nuclear program. Since the nuclear deal Iran’s executions and human rights abuses have reached record levels, funding for terrorism and military spending have increased, it has become more aggressive in the region, accelerated the development of ballistic missiles, and is well on its way to establishing a land corridor from Tehran to the Mediterranean.

Moreover, the West is not sufficiently alarmed by Iran’s repeated threats to wipe Israel off the map because many do not realize that Israel is an extension of the West. Just like many in the West believe that Israel is a target of terrorism because of “the occupation,” they are equally in denial that Iran’s threat against Israel is also a threat against the West.

Because of the new US administration, the renewed sense of urgency among Sunni Arab states, and because more Western countries are starting to take the threat of radical Islamic terrorism more seriously, the time is ripe to get the EU and other countries on board to at last treat Iran as the devastating threat to the world it truly is.

The civilized and democratic world cannot afford to continue with its double standards of claiming to fight terrorism while at the same sponsoring the Iranian regime through increased trade and sanctions relief with a fatally false sense of hope that it will improve its behavior.

The author is a member of the Jewish Diplomatic Corps, a flagship program of the World Jewish Congress, and a board member of the Zionist Federation of Sweden. Follow him on Twitter: @GabRosenberg.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Obama Administration Rejected Arab Pleas to Bomb Iran, Kerry Reveals

the algemeiner

Former Secretary of State John Kerry addresses the 2017 Oslo Forum

Former US Secretary of State John Kerry revealed at a public forum in Norway this week that the Obama administration resisted Arab entreaties to “bomb” Iran and instead pursued negotiations to rein in Tehran’s nuclear program.

Speaking on Wednesday at the Oslo Forum, which brings together leading foreign policy officials from around the world, Kerry claimed that before negotiations with the Iranian regime began, “We were hurtling toward conflict.”

“I mean, there’s just no other way to describe it,” he added.

“Leaders in the region were saying to me personally, and to the president, President Obama, ‘You should bomb these guys — that’s the only way to resolve this issue,’” Kerry continued.

But, he said, “we chose a different path.”

“What we did is to find a mutually acceptable way to guarantee that both sides were able to agree on a path forward that met both sides’ needs,” Kerry — who negotiated the July 2015 six-power nuclear deal with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and other Iranians officials — told an audience that included EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende, as well as Zarif himself.

Saeed Ghasseminejad — an Iran fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) think tank — told The Algemeiner on Thursday that Kerry was correct in depicting the deal as beneficial to the Islamic Republic.

“The deal meets Iran’s needs to have a pathway toward making a nuclear bomb in future, when the ‘sunset clauses’ kick in,” Ghasseminejad said. The deal set expiration dates — or “sunset clauses” — on the limits imposed on Iran’s nuclear program.

Ghasseminejad added, “The deal Mr. Kerry signed without congressional support does not meet the needs of the US and its allies in the region to put an end to the nuclear program of a rogue government.”

Iran, he went on to say, “is the most dangerous state sponsor of terror in the world, is involved in religious cleansing and crimes against humanity in Syria, and continuously calls for annihilation of Israel.”

Since leaving office, Kerry has become something of a hate figure in much of the Arab press. In its report of Kerry’s reunion with Zarif in Oslo, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya reproduced a tweet from Donald Trump Jr., the son of the current US president, charging that the former secretary of state was “still fighting for Iran.”

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Islam in Islamic Terrorism: The Importance of Beliefs, Ideas, and Ideology

Editorial Reviews
Ibn Warraq exemplifies the rarely combined qualities of courage, integrity, and intelligence.
   BERNARD LEWIS, Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University.

Ibn Warraq, one of the great heroes of our time
  DOUGLAS MURRAY, The Spectator.

Ibn Warraq is a hero of mine, and it is shameful that he and his writings have not been recognized for their scholarship, courage, and relevance. Ever since Leon de Winter gave me Ibn Warraq s book Why I am Not a Muslim I have cherished it. It has had a profound influence on me, and gave me courage in my own work and activities. His subsequent books have defended Western civilization and have reminded us what we are fighting for. Ibn Warraq deserves our attention and thanks."
AYAAN HIRSI ALI, Activist and Author of Nomad: From America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of  Civilizations (2010) and Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now (2015)

--New English Review
Ibn Warraq, the celebrated apostate, author of Why I Am Not A Muslim and of scholarly works on the Koran, Muhammad, and early Islam, as well as polemical works in defense of the West, has now written The Islam in Islamic Terrorism, showing, in the words of the Islamic fundamentalists (or, more exactly, revivalists) themselves, what really motivates Islamic terrorists today, and what has motivated them since the time of the Kharijites in the first century of Islam: the belief in the need to recover the pristine Islam of the time of Muhammad, by removing all innovations (bid a), the further belief that it is the duty of Muslims to wage Jihad against all Unbelievers until Islam everywhere dominates, and to bring about the resurrection of the caliphate, and the imposition of Islamic Law, or Sharia, all over the globe.

Ibn Warraq s The Islam In Islamic Terrorism is a brilliant series of reported echoes down the corridors of Islam, where the same complaints about bid a, the same insistence on regulating every area of a Believer s life, the same refusal to allow freedom of religion or thought, the same duties of violent Jihad and Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong, the same demands for a return to the same pristine Islam of Muhammad, the same virulent antisemitism, the same quotes from the Koran and Hadith, the same hatred of Infidels, the same insistence that we love death more than you love life, the same call for bloodshed and Muslim martyrdom, the same dreary fanaticism, are thoroughly described and dissected, and above all the various violent manifestations of this revivalism over the centuries are linked to one another, as Ibn Warraq brings to bear the massive research he has been conducting over many years, in primary and secondary sources, and here deploys to splendid effect.
--Hugh Fitzgerald
--Jihad Watch
About the Author

Ibn Warraq is the highly acclaimed scholar of Islam and author of Why I Am Not a Muslim and Defending the West. He is also the editor of The Origins of the Koran, What the Koran Really Says, The Quest for the Historical Muhammad, Leaving Islam, and his latest with New English Review Press, Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies. He is also a Senior Editor for the popular Anglo-American webmagazine, New English Review.


Here are a few  quotes from the book:

As the Ayatollah Khomeini once put it, “Eleven things are unclean: urine, excrement, sperm, blood, a dog, a pig, bones, a non-Muslim man and woman, wine, beer, perspiration of the camel that eats filth.” 


"If you refuse the jizyah, I will bring against you the tribes of people who are more eager for death than you are for life. We will then fight  you until God decides between us and you “(emphasis added). A little later, Khalid repeats the threat with a slight variation: "then we will bring against you a people who love death more than you love drinking wine."

Again during the caliphate of 'Umar, al-Mughirag b.Shu'bah says to his Persian adversary Rustam, 'If you kill us, we enter Paradise, if we kill you, you shall enter the Fire," while the Muslim commander Zuhrah b.Hawiyyah al-Tamimi say to Rustam , "we do not come to you looking for things of this world, our desire and aspiration is the hereafter."

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

MELANIE PHILLIPS: Terror to continue until Islam reforms

The Times


The elephant is still in the room. Even now, with Theresa May saying “enough is enough” after the London Bridge atrocities, we are still refusing to identify correctly the threat that has already claimed so many lives.
These attackers are not “evil losers”. They are not “sick cowards”. They are not nihilists or psychiatric cases or lone wolves. They are devout and ecstatic Muslim fanatics who are waging a war of religion against us.
Mrs May correctly referred to “Islamist” terrorism. Yet she also said this was a “perversion of Islam”. How can it be a “perversion” when it is solidly rooted in religious texts and theological doctrine validated and endorsed by the world’s most powerful Islamic authorities?
In his article in The Times, the communities secretary Sajid Javid tied himself up in knots. He rightly said it wasn’t enough for Muslims merely to condemn terror attacks; they must ask themselves “searching questions”, and issue challenges.
Yet he also said the perpetrators were not “true Muslims” and that it was right to say the attacks were “nothing to do with Islam”. Well if that’s so, why should Muslims need to do anything at all?
The West views Islam through its own cultural prism, which equates religion with spirituality. The problem is that Islam is as much a political ideology as a source of spiritual guidance.
In 2010 a German study, which involved intensive questioning of 45,000 Muslim teenagers from 61 towns and regions across the country, found that the more religious they were the more likely they were to become violent.

Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi, a Shia cleric in Australia who campaigns against Sunni extremism, has said: “The scriptures are exactly what is pushing these people to behead the infidel. Our books teach the beheading of people.”
Of course, millions of Muslims don’t subscribe to any of this. Some are merely cultural Muslims who observe no religious practices. Some, such as the Sufis or the Ahmadiyya sect, are pious Muslims who are truly peaceful (and are themselves victims of the Islamists).
But political, aggressive, jihadist Islam, constrained for so long by both the Ottoman empire and western colonialism, is now dominant once again in the Muslim world. Which is why in 2015 Egypt’s President Sisi remarkably told the imams of Al-Azhar university in Cairo — the epicentre of Islamic doctrinal edicts — that Islam’s corpus of sacred texts was “antagonising the entire world”, that it was “impossible” for 1.6 billion Muslims to “want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants”, and so Islam had to have a “religious revolution”.
We should be promoting and defending such Muslim reformers in the desperate hope that they succeed. Instead we knock the ground from under their feet by saying Islamist attacks have nothing to do with Islam. Until and unless Islam is reformed, we need to treat its practices on a scale ranging from extreme caution to outlawing some of them altogether.
Mrs May said we need to make people understand that our “pluralistic British values” were “superior to anything offered by the preachers and supporters of hatred”.
The problem is, though, that Islamists believe their values represent the literal word of God. So to them, no other values can possibly be superior. As a result, you can no more deradicalise them than you could have deradicalised the priests of the Inquisition.
We must require Muslims to take responsibility for the actions of all in their community. An ICM poll of British Muslims two years ago found that nearly a quarter wanted Sharia to replace British law in areas with large Muslim populations.
Four per cent — equivalent to more than 100,000 British Muslims — said they were sympathetic to suicide bombers fighting “injustice”.
In other words, we must see jihadist Islam as at the extreme end of a continuum of beliefs which are themselves incompatible with British society.
So we shouldn’t just be stopping people coming back to Britain from Syria or Libya, or detaining terrorist suspects through control orders. We should also be closing down radical mosques, deporting those born in other countries who are involved in extremism, stopping foreign funding for Muslim institutions and banning the Muslim Brotherhood.
We should also outlaw Sharia courts because, since Sharia does not accept the superior authority of secular legislation, it inescapably undermines the core British value of one law for all.
The message should be that British Muslims are welcome citizens but on the same basis as everyone else: that they subscribe to the binding nature of foundational British laws and values. If not, they will be treated as subversives.
The chances of any of these measures being taken, though, are slim. There will be inevitable claims that judge-made human rights law, which has often protected the “rights” of extremists rather than their victims, cannot be set aside without “destroying British values”.
Jihadist terrorists, however, are not trying to divide us, destroy our values or stop the general election. They are trying to kill us and conquer us.
If it is to defend itself, a liberal society may need to adopt illiberal measures. If we don’t do so now, we’ll be forced to eventually. The only question is how many will have to die before that happens.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Theresa May urgently needs a crash course on Islam, given by Ayaan Hirsi Ali


It is appalling that the Prime Minster of the United Kingdom is either ignorant or deliberately deceiving.   

In a speech after the London terror attacks she said:

“First, while the recent attacks are not connected by common networks, they are connected in one important sense. They are bound together by the single evil ideology of Islamist extremism that preaches hatred, sows division and promotes sectarianism.

It is an ideology that claims our Western values of freedom, democracy and human rights are incompatible with the religion of Islam. It is an ideology that is a perversion of Islam and a perversion of the truth.”

The very ideology which came into being with Muhammad’s move from Mecca to Medina in 622, the hijrah, is according to Theresa May a perversion of Islam? Has Theresa May any idea what she is saying? After all, Ayatollah Khomeini admitted: " Islam is politics or it is nothing."

Here is what Ayaan Hirsi Ali writes:

“No symbol represents the soul of Islam more than the Shahada. But today there is a contest within Islam for the ownership of that symbol. Who owns the Shahada? Is it those Muslims who want to emphasize Muhammad’s years in Mecca or those who are inspired by his conquests after Medina? On this basis, I believe that we can distinguish three different groups of Muslims.

The first group is the most problematic. These are the fundamentalists who, when they say the Shahada, mean: “We must live by the strict letter of our creed.” They envision a regime based on Shariah, Islamic religious law. They argue for an Islam largely or completely unchanged from its original seventh-century version. What is more, they take it as a requirement of their faith that they impose it on everyone else.

I shall call them Medina Muslims, in that they see the forcible imposition of Shariah as teir religious duty. They aim not just to obey Muhammad’s teaching but also to emulate his warlike conduct after his move to Medina. Even if they do not themselves engage in violence, they do not hesitate to condone it.

 Instead of letting Islam off the hook with bland clichés about the religion of peace, we in the West need to challenge and debate the very substance of Islamic thought and practice. We need to hold Islam accountable for the acts of its most violent adherents and to demand that it reform or disavow the key beliefs that are used to justify those acts.

This kind of behavior Winston Churchill would have called abdication of duty

In the House of Commons, on November 12, 1936, he said:

 “Two things, I confess, have staggered me, after a long Parliamentary experience, in these Debates. The first has been the dangers that have so swiftly come upon us in a few years, and have been transforming our position and the whole outlook of the world. Secondly, I have been staggered by the failure of the House of Commons to react effectively against those dangers. That, I am bound to say, I never expected. I never would have believed that we should have been allowed to go on getting into this plight, month by month and year by year, and that even the Government's own confessions of error have produced no concentration of Parliamentary opinion and force capable of lifting our efforts to the level of emergency. I say that unless the House resolves to find out the truth for itself, it will have committed an act of abdication of duty without parallel.” 

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Bret Stephens: Six Days and 50 Years of War

The  New York Times

In June 1967 Arab leaders declared their intention to annihilate the Jewish state, and the Jews decided they wouldn’t sit still for it. For the crime of self-preservation, Israel remains a nation unforgiven.

Unforgiven, Israel’s milder critics say, because the Six-Day War, even if justified at the time, does not justify 50 years of occupation. They argue, also, that Israel can rely on its own strength as well as international guarantees to take risks for peace.

This is ahistoric nonsense.

On June 4, 1967, the day before the war, Israel faced the fact that United Nations peacekeepers in Sinai, intended as a buffer with Egypt, had been withdrawn at Cairo’s insistence; that France, hitherto Israel’s ally, had imposed an arms embargo on it; and that Lyndon Johnson had failed to deliver on previous American assurances to break any Egyptian blockade of the Israeli port of Eilat.

On June 5, the first day of the war, the Israeli government used three separate diplomatic channels to warn Jordan — then occupying the West Bank — not to initiate hostilities. The Jordanians ignored the warning and opened fire with planes and artillery. Some 6,000 shells landed on the western side of Jerusalem alone.

On June 19, 1967 — nine days after the end of the war — the Israeli cabinet decided it would offer the return of territories conquered from Egypt and Syria in exchange for peace, security and recognition. The Arab League categorically rejected peace with Israel at its summit in Khartoum later that year.

In 1973 Egypt and Syria unleashed a devastating surprise attack on Israel, puncturing the myth of Israeli invulnerability.

It took a decade after 1967 for the Egyptian government of Anwar Sadat finally to accept Israel’s legitimacy. When he did he recovered every inch of Sinai — from Menachem Begin, Israel’s right-wing prime minister. Syria remains unreconciled.

It took another decade for Yasir Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization to recognize Israel and formally forswear terrorism. But its pledges were insincere. Only after the Soviet Union’s collapse and Arafat’s disastrous support for Saddam Hussein in the gulf war did the P.L.O. finally seem to get serious. It led to the Oslo Accords of 1993 and further Israeli withdrawals.

In 2000, at Camp David, Israel offered Arafat a state. He rejected it. “I regret that in 2000 he missed the opportunity to bring that nation” — Palestine — “into being,” was Bill Clinton’s bitter verdict on the summit’s outcome. Within two years Arafat was calling on a million “martyrs” to march on Jerusalem.

In 2005, another right-wing Israeli government removed its soldiers, settlers and settlements from the Gaza Strip. Two years later Hamas seized control of the territory and used it to start three wars in seven years.

In 2008, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered a Palestinian state in Gaza and 93 percent of the West Bank. The Palestinians rejected the proposal out of hand.

This is a truncated history. Israel is not a nation of saints and has made its mistakes. The most serious of those is proliferation of West Bank settlements beyond those in historically recognized blocs.

But before we fall prey to the lazy trope of “50 years of occupation,” inevitably used to indict Israel, let’s note the following:

There would have been no occupation, and no settlements, if Egypt and its allies hadn’t recklessly provoked a war. Or if the “international community” hadn’t fecklessly abandoned Israel in its desperate hours. Or if Jordan hadn’t foolishly ignored Israel’s warnings to stay out of it. Or if the Arab League hadn’t arrogantly rejected the possibility of peace.

A Palestinian state would most likely exist if Arafat hadn’t adopted terrorism as the calling card of Palestinian aspirations. Or if he hadn’t rejected the offer of a state 17 years ago. Or if he hadn’t renounced his renunciation of terror.

A Palestinian state would also most likely exist if Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas — now in the 13th year of his elected four-year term — hadn’t rejected it again nine years ago, and if Gazans hadn’t turned their territory into a terrifying model of Palestinian statehood, and if the United Nations didn’t treat Hamas’s attacks on Israel as a nuisance but Israel’s self-defense as a crime against humanity.

The cover of a recent issue of The Economist purports to answer the question “Why Israel Needs a Palestinian State.” The argument isn’t wrong. It just isn’t wise.

Israel needs a Palestinian state to safeguard its democratic future — in the long term. But the character of such a state matters at least as much as its mere existence. The Middle East doesn’t need another failed state in its midst. Israel doesn’t need another Hamastan on its border. Palestinians in the West Bank don’t need it over their heads.

In 1967 Israel was forced into a war against enemies who then begrudged it the peace. Egypt, at least, found its Sadat. The drama of the Six-Day War will close when Palestinians find theirs.


My comment:

Let’s look at this from a Muslim perspective:

“And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you”
“And expel them from wherever they have expelled you” means that no land that has ever belonged to Muslims or been ruled by Muslims can ever legitimately in the eyes of Islam be ruled by non-Muslims.
What about Sadat?

 Muslims are permitted not to wage jihad if the infidel side is perceived as too strong, in which case 10 years of hudna or cease-fire is permitted, after which the conditions for jihad are reevaluated. Here we are in the 4th back to back hudna with Egypt. During Morsi the hudna had almost been broken.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Is Trump All Talk on Iran?


On his first official trip abroad, the president rallied Arabs and Israelis to unite against Iran. But by giving Boeing a pass to sell Tehran planes, he’s sending a very different message.

During his trip to the Middle East last week, President Donald Trump had one consistent theme and he never wavered from it: The region needs to unite to stop Iran. Mutual antipathy for Tehran has driven Arab regimes such as Saudi Arabia to make common cause with Israel. It was also the motivation for the massive $110 billion arms deal Trump struck with the Saudis, who believe that President Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran has endangered their security.

But while Trump talks tough about the Iranians, the normally bellicose Islamist regime has been restrained, at least by its standards, in response. Why? The Iranians may be unhappy with Trump’s effort to orchestrate the creation of a Middle East NATO that would oppose their dream of regional hegemony, but they are actually quite pleased with other elements of his administration’s Iran policy. For all of Trump’s bluster, his decision not only to leave the nuclear agreement in place but to erect no obstacles to a major U.S. commercial deal with Iran may have convinced the ayatollahs that the president isn’t quite as hostile as he wants to seem.

 One of the least noticed aspects of the nuclear deal was a provision that granted Tehran an exception to U.S. sanctions that remained in place after it was signed. That provision allowed U.S. companies to sell “commercial passenger aircraft and related parts and services” to Iran, and Boeing took advantage of it, joining European businesses in a race to secure Iranian business.

 It was a clever strategy that enabled Obama to undermine the remaining resistance to the deal. If, as Obama hoped, a major U.S. firm such as Boeing were to conclude a massive deal of its own with Iran, the jobs created by the sale would build a strong new constituency opposed to retightening the screws on Tehran no matter the regime’s subsequent actions.

Boeing’s deal with Iran was concluded in June 2016, and the Obama administration subsequently issued the requisite licenses for it to move forward. But the Trump administration still has a chance to raise objections and to block the delivery of the planes to Tehran.

The grounds for objection were already clear last year, when Boeing was celebrating the deal: Many of the companies with which it would be doing business have strong connections to or are owned by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which coordinates Iran’s international terrorist network. Yet so far, the Trump administration has remained suspiciously silent about the deal, leading Iran to the not unreasonable conclusion that while the president may be willing to talk about its role as the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, he is as reluctant to do something about it as his predecessor was.
Trump has no good options when it comes to tearing up the nuclear deal that he spent so much of the 2016 campaign denouncing as a betrayal of U.S. interests. Walking away from the pact at a moment when neither America’s European allies nor Russia and China are willing to re-impose sanctions would simply give the Iranians permission to move quickly toward a bomb without providing a means short of war to stop them. But Trump does have options that can start the process of rebuilding an international quarantine against Iranian terror and punishing the regime for its illegal missile tests.

 Earlier this month, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a sweeping set of measures designed to impose new restrictions on trade with Iran because of its human-rights violations and support for terror. The point of such efforts is to expand the list of Iranian individuals and companies affected by the sanctions that still remain in place, so as to hamper the ability of the IRGC and other agents of the regime to profit from foreign trade. Moreover, even if other nations won’t re-impose their own sanctions on Iran, U.S. measures that bar foreign banks from the American financial system if they do business with terror-connected Iranian entities can still have a devastating impact on the regime.

 President Trump mocked John Kerry as the worst negotiator in history for his disastrous role in making the nuclear pact possible. But if he doesn’t move to support the Senate bill and to do something about the Boeing deal, then he will effectively be throwing in his lot with Obama’s secretary of state, who remains a public opponent of increased sanctions on Iran.

 The reason for Trump’s reluctance to move against Boeing is obvious: Promises to create American jobs were as important to the success of his campaign as were his criticisms of Obama. Putting any further obstacles in the way of the transaction would have a devastating impact on the company and the thousands of workers it employs. Moreover, Boeing is looking to expand its ties with Iran and has applied for another license to sell 30 more planes to entities within the country. But Iran uses commercial planes such as the ones Boeing sells to ferry supplies, munitions, and “volunteers” to Syria, where they have helped preserve the rule of the barbarous Assad regime. No one in the White House can pretend that Boeing’s budding business relationship with the Islamic Republic is unrelated to the security concerns that Trump discussed with the Saudis and Israelis last week.

All of which is to say that there’s a glaring contradiction between Trump’s indulgence of Boeing’s desire to profit from its dealings with Iran and his efforts to rein in a dangerous foe of U.S. interests. If he stays silent and/or allows the planes to be delivered, it may preserve jobs for some of the working-class voters who backed him. But it will also validate Tehran’s belief that he is as much a paper tiger as Obama was. And an Iran unfettered by fear of U.S. power, hard and soft, would be an even bigger threat to global security.