Category: Foreign Affairs

Netanyahu Under Attack In Last Ditch Effort To Undermine Israel at U.N.

Benjamin_Netanyahu_Official_portraitTVCELI has been warning legislators in Washington for months as to the potential dangers of an 11th hour stab in the back from the Obama administration.

After altering several NGOs the response was almost universal — nothing to see here.

…until something did happen.

Last week’s debacle at the United Nations was Israel’s 62nd condemnation at the hands of an organization that has failed to condemn pariah states such as North Korea, Iran, or even ISIL as many times.

After learning that the refusal to exercise the U.S. veto was intentional according to Reuters, the reaction from the American press was visceral — and nearly united in defense of Israel and shock at the actions of its outgoing president.  From National Review:

As an initial matter, it is important to state that there is one — and only one — true obstacle to peace in the Middle East: the persistent failure of Israel’s enemies to accept that it has a right to exist, as a Jewish state and within defensible borders. Israel’s enemies sought to exterminate it on the very day of its declaration of independence (when there were no settlements, and the West Bank and Gaza were in Arab hands), and they seek to exterminate it still today.

Obama’s 11th hour move came at a time when many Christian families in the United States were preparing to celebrate the Christmas season, and in a not-so-ironic twist, at the very moment when millions of Jews worldwide were preparing to celebrate Hanukkah.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — who has to date held the title “Leader of the Free World” in the total absence of American leadership — was quick to hold the contrast up in stark relief:

“Whole countries in the Middle East are collapsing, terror is everywhere and for an entire hour the Secretary of State of the United States talks only about the only democracy in the Middle East, a democracy that is one of the only stable places in the entire Middle East,” Netanyahu said.

“We are now celebrating Christmas,” the Israeli PM said. “Maybe Secretary of State John Kerry didn’t see that Israel is the only place in the Middle East where Christians can celebrate Christmas in security and peace and happiness.”

Meanwhile, the Israeli press is warning of worse to come, according to the Times of Israel:

Kerry is quoted as saying that he could present his ideas for a final status solution if the Palestinians pledge they will support the proposed framework. The US officials advised the Palestinians to travel to Riyadh to present the plan to Saudi leaders.

Israel fears that Kerry, who is slated to give a speech Wednesday on the subject, will then lay out his comprehensive vision for two-state solution at a Paris peace conference planned for January. Israel has refused to attend. Israel further fears that this Kerry framework could be enshrined in another UN Security Council resolution.

What has the Israeli government so concerned?  Rumors of an American-brokered but UN enforced peace deal are emerging, one that has Israels neighbors working in concert to impose an Arab “peace” on the Jewish State:

The Egyptian report fits with Israeli claims that it had received “ironclad” information from Arab sources that Washington actively helped craft last week’s UN resolution declaring Israeli settlements illegal.

“We have ironclad information that emanates from sources in the Arab world and that shows the Obama administration helped craft this resolution and pushed hard for its eventual passage,” said David Keyes, spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Israeli government has been alarmed at such reports for months.  The U.S. State Department and Secretary John Kerry have adamantly denied there to be any truth to these allegations… that is, right up until the first extension of “good faith” — the condemnation of Israeli settlements in the West Bank — had mystically manifested itself to be ironclad fact.

TVCELI will be monitoring these developments over the course of the next few weeks.



Should America Still Shoot Deserters?

It says a lot about the American military that Bowe Bergdahl is the only notable example of a soldier deserting his unit despite over 14 years of tough fighting in Afghanistan.  For those not familiar with him, Bergdahl walked off his base in 2009 due to dissatisfaction with his leadership.  This idea turned out to be just as stupid as it sounds, and he was quickly captured by the Taliban and held for five years.

Because nobody abandons their post anymore, there isn’t much recent precedent about how to punish somebody that does.  Only one soldier has been executed for desertion since the Civil War, and that decision was made in part to stop others from deserting.  Thanks to the professionalism of the U.S. Army, that isn’t a problem now.

PFC Bergdahl abandoned his unit in 2009

But that doesn’t mean deserting can just be ignored.  Somehow, the military commission in charge of Bergdahl’s case seems ready to do that:

In a memorandum dated Friday, the legal team said it agreed with Lt. Col. Mark Visger’s conclusion that their client be referred to a special court-martial and receive neither jail time nor a punitive [dishonorable] discharge.

The recommendation, which hasn’t been announced publicly by the U.S. military, is a significant development for Bergdahl, who in March was charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

This decision is ridiculous.  There is still one level of review left, so the Army may come to its senses.  But it is an insult to even suggest that someone who abandons their post in wartime should just be released.  He deserves a dishonorable discharge and a jail sentence at a minimum – and he should feel very fortunate if that’s all that happens to him.  Nobody made him join the Army, and nobody should feel sorry for him if he received the traditional punishment for traitors – a bullet – instead of a plane ticket home.

This hesitancy to punish one of the worst crimes a soldier can commit against his country is a prime example of the kind of fundamental weakening of America we have seen under the Obama administration.  Make no mistake: our enemies notice this kind of decision, and it makes them bolder about fighting our troops and attacking our interests overseas.  No commander should enjoy punishing a soldier, but a good commander knows it is sometimes necessary.  It will be a worrying sign if all the punishment Bowe Bergdahl receives is being kicked out of the same Army he voluntarily abandoned when it needed him.

Recognizing the Heroism of Brave Christians in Syria

There has been a lot of discussion recently about religious freedom in America, and for good reason – the courts and bureaucrats deep in government have been chipping away at that freedom.  But today we ask you to reflect on the sacrifices of Christians halfway around the world, including 12 brave souls who stood up for the freedom to believe in Jesus and were brutally killed for it.

These missionaries were from Syria.  Even as civil war spread across that country, they insisted on staying in their homeland, and they insisted on bringing the word of Christ to those trapped by the violence.

The black flag of ISIS
The black flag of ISIS

Christian Aid Mission describes the situation:

‘Every time we talked to them,’ the director said, ‘they were always saying, ‘We want to stay here – this is what God has told us to do. This is what we want to do.’ They just wanted to stay and share the gospel.’

These missionaries knew ISIS militants were approaching the town where they lived and worked, but they refused to flee the terrorists, believing the work of sharing Christ to be too important to abandon.

They were soon captured by ISIS forces and given a chance to renounce Christianity and spare their own lives.  Instead they prayed publically in the name of the Jesus, continuing to follow a peaceful path until the terrorists beheaded and crucified them in front of the entire town.

This is reality of terrorism – and the danger it poses both to America and Christians everywhere.  As we continue to fight to uphold our values, I ask that you join us in taking a moment to appreciate the sacrifice of these missionaries and all those who risk their lives in the name of the Lord.

House Bill Makes Iran Re-pay Terror Victims Before Sanctions Lifted

The fight against the Iran nuclear deal is continuing, this time with a bill in Congress which would make the current Iranian regime – the world’s largest sponsor of terrorism – pay back the families of its American victims before any sanctions on it were lifted.

The explosion of the Marine Corps building in Beirut, Lebanon, created a large cloud of smoke that was visible from miles away.
The bombing created a cloud of smoke visible from miles away.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA), and is known as the Justice for Victims of Iranian Terrorism Act (or H.R 3457).  It requires Iran to pay over $40 billion in court judgments, most of which comes from lawsuits brought in connection to the 1983 bombing of a Marine Corps barracks in Lebanon.  The bombing, which killed 241 servicemen, was the deadliest day for the U.S. Marine Corps since the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II.

American investigations found terrorists backed by Iran and Syria were likely responsible, and one terrorist leader was indicted in federal court.  But instead of going to court, that terrorist leader went on to join Hezbollah – a group dedicated to the destruction of Israel and consistently backed by Iran.  And Iran has never admitted responsibility or paid a dime to the victims of the horrific attack.

In passing this bill, House Republicans finally voted to change that.  The bill declares that “the President may not waive, suspend, reduce, provide relief from, or otherwise limit” sanctions” until he has “certified to the Congress that the Government of Iran has paid each judgment against Iran.”

President Obama, predictably, opposes this accountability for sponsors of terror.

Fierce Criticism of the Iran Deal at UN by Netanyahu

More than 150 world leaders are gathered in New York this week at a meeting of the United Nations. Most of the press attention went to Vladimir Putin attending the meeting for the first time in a decade – until today, when Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu called out the array of presidents and prime ministers for accepting an Iran deal which is woefully insufficient to guarantee the safety of his country or the world at large.  It was a remarkable display of leadership, and one our current administration could learn a lot from.

Prime Minister Netanyahu

On a day where two Israelis were murdered while driving their family through the West Bank, Netanyahu addressed the existential threat that Iran poses both as a nation chasing nuclear weapons and as a sponsor of organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah.

Netanyahu specifically noted the financial windfall Iran will receive from the deal and the inevitable home for that money – terrorism.  The total monetary benefit for the Iranian regime is unknown, but as the Israeli leader noted, it will be more than enough to continue undermining the stability in the world’s most volatile region:

This deal doesn’t make peace more likely. By fueling Iran’s aggressions with billions of dollars in sanctions relief, it makes war likely.

Unleashed and unmuzzled, Iran will go on the prowl, devouring more and more prey… You think hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief and fat contracts will turn this rapacious tiger into a kitten?”

For all its passion, though, the speech was careful in its approach to America.  After weeks of strong disagreement with the Obama administration, Netanyahu was careful to keep disagreeing without risking the relationship, lauding America as a long-standing Israeli ally and saying any differences were “within the family.”

Netanyahu’s speech to the United Nations can be watched below:

Is Iran already spending its profits from the nuclear deal?

It should come as little surprise that Iranian government, with billions of dollars in additional revenue coming as a consequence of the recent deal regarding its nuclear weapons program, has started spending more money on its favorite pastime – promoting regional instability through Islamist terrorist organizations:

Since the deal was signed, Iran has significantly increased its financial support for two of the largest terror groups in the region that have become political players, Hamas and Hezbollah. In the years before the deal was signed, the crippling sanctions limited this support, which had significantly diminished along with Iran’s economy.

This was a predictable response, and one anticipated in previous analysis of shortcomings of the current deal.  It is a shame that the current administration has given up on sanctions, as the financial restrictions in place were pushing Iran into an increasingly difficult fiscal situation.  Lifting the sanctions and allowing this Iranian windfall creates grave dangers for both America and its allies in the region.

Why The Iran Deal Is A Bad Deal

TVCELI’s new white paper on the Iranian nuclear weapons agreement is finally out.  Our conclusions are straightforward:

Much has been said about the alternative to a deal being war, but the true alternative is a better deal — one that is enforceable and with serious consequences — if the Islamic Republic is unfaithful to the agreement. The crippling sanctions bringing Iran to the bargaining table must remain in place. Such a course of action would bolster the confidence of our allies in the region. Iran must recognize further its commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Moreover, a clear policy stance indicating that the United States and NATO are both unwilling to tolerate a mass race for nuclear arms in the region will show Western unwillingness to fight a series of proxy wars under the threat of an Iranian nuclear umbrella. Such a line will be a critical first step in restoring confidence in America’s resolve in the region while offering a free hand in dealing with ISIL, permitting avenues for a UN-brokered peace in Syria while assuring our Turkish allies of America’s commitment to preserving stability in the region and denying Iranians the leverage they have used to force the issue this far.

Feel free to read the rest and share with friends.

The alternative to the Obama-Kerry brokered deal with Iran isn’t war — it’s a better deal, one with teeth that reinforces the realities of nuclear non-proliferation and emphasizes the need for stability in the region.