Officials in Jerusalem are not pleased or comfortable at being thrust into the center of an American political controversy over a possible U.S. military strike against Syria. There’s no doubt that Israel favors a strong response from Washington to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s evil use of chemical warfare against his own civilian population. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government would prefer to stay out of the limelight, insisting, correctly, that this issue is not about Israel, which fortunately can defend itself against Damascus. It’s about the perception of America in the international community, and particularly in the eyes of Iran’s leaders, who are watching carefully to see if the world’s only superpower is willing to make good on its word to prevent “red lines” of non-conventional warfare from being crossed.
The United States works actively to thwart spying by Israel on the U.S., just as it does against enemies like Iran, China, Russia and Cuba, according to a secret report published by the Washington Post on Thursday.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to add new sanctions on Tehran that would drastically reduce Iran’s trade.
The bill, which passed Wednesday evening by a vote of 400-20, would expand sanctions to shut down U.S. trade with any entity that trades substantively with Iran. Until now, such sanctions were imposed on entities that traded with Iran’s energy sector. The law maintains humanitarian exceptions for food and medicine.
President Obama spent his first term pushing from power long-standing Arab allies in Egypt and Tunisia, seeking to engage the now blood-soaked Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, pulling his punches against Iran’s nuclear program, and putting “daylight” between his Administration and Israel. Now for his second term, he has nominated for the highest posts bearing on the Middle East three figures who give the strongest indication we can expect much more of the same – John Kerry for State, Chuck Hagel for Defense and John Brennan for the CIA.
At least one organization does not take Iran’s threats to wipe Israel off the map, coupled with the continued progress of its nuclear program and the terrorism of its surrogates, at face value.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Kenneth Roth, the executive director of George Soros-funded Human Rights Watch (HRC), wrote in an internal email, “Many of [Iran’s] statements are certainly reprehensible, but they are not incitement to genocide. No one has acted on them.”