One of many stories not covered. If there's news value in it, the only news value in it -- one that this Shi'ite propagandist Haidar Sumeri will never grasp -- is the strides that the Iraqi government will take to protect oil while the citizens are left to fend for themselves.
This morning, Arwa Damon (CNN -- link is video and text) reported on the situation in Anbar Province's Ramadi noting that deputy
provincial council head Falih Essawi is issuing "a dire, dire warning"
as the Islamic State advances.
Arwa Damon: ISIS forces, it seems, early this morning managing to
enter the outskirts of the city of Ramadi from the east. This now means
that ISIS is fighting on the east. ISIS advanced from the north --
taking over three towns from the outskirts there over the weekend. The
routes to the south already blocked off. The city basically under siege
except for the western portion that is still controlled by forces, by
government forces, but that is wavering as well.
Pentagon officials stopped short of saying the city was on the brink
of falling. But they didn’t sound confident it would hold, either.
situation in Ramadi remains fluid and, as with earlier assessments, the
security situation in the city is contested. The ISF [Iraqi Security
Forces] continue to conduct clearing operations against ISIL-held areas
in the city and in the surrounding areas of Al Anbar province,” U.S.
Central Command spokesman Army Maj. Curt Kellogg, a said in a statement,
using the government’s preferred acronym for ISIS. The Coalition
continues to coordinate with ISF forces and provide operational support
AFP's Jean Marc Mojon and Karim Abou Merhil sound out various Middle East experts about the prospects for victory in Anbar. We'll note this section:
“Anbar, and especially Fallujah, is like Asterix’s village,” said
Victoria Fontan, a professor at American University Duhok Kurdistan,
referring to an unconquerable town in the French comic book series.
province is packed with experienced fighters and while some Sunni
tribes have allied with the government, others are fighting alongside
ISIS or sitting on the fence.
Local knowledge is seen as key to
retaking territory along the fertile strip lining the Euphrates, where
ISIS has inflicted severe military setbacks to the police and army since
Iraqi Spring MC notes this takes place as calls for reinforcements of government troops to be sent to . . . Baiji.
That's in northern Iraq, Salahuddin Province. These reinforcements are
being sent in to protect . . . Well, not people. There are people in
Ramadi who need protection. But the government forces going to Baiji
are going to protect an oil refinery.
How did that work out?
Does anyone remember?
Oh, yeah, the Islamic State seized Ramadi -- which they still control today.
But, hey, that refinery in Baiji, that oil refinery is safe.
Iraq Times reports the reaction to citizens in Basra which was to protest Haider's visit. The activists noted that he traveled all the way to Basra to reassure Big Oil but he did not meet with a single local protester to address the concerns that have had them pouring into the streets for the last weeks. The report notes that the British and US Ambassadors to Iraq had lobbied Haider to visit Basra to reassure Big Oil. As Iraq Times also notes, just north of Basra is where a protester -- protesting against Big Oil -- was shot dead by security forces working for yet another foreign oil company in Iraq.
There was a time when -- even under the despicable Nouri al-Maliki -- if foreigners killed an Iraqi citizen, it would be time for immediate arrests and a kangaroo trial.
But in Haider's Iraq, foreign oil companies can kill protesters and the government doesn't even publicly object.
shia militias crimes in 21_8_2015
Attacked protesters in #Basra
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Protests continued today, Aref Mohammed, Saif Hameed, Stephen Kalin and Gareth Jones (Reuters) report: Protesters demanding
government reforms have cut off road access to Iraq's southern
Umm Qasr commodities port, officials said on Saturday, hampering
activity at the harbour which receives grain shipments and heavy
equipment used in the oil industry. Dozens of demonstrators, who have closed the port's two main
gates since Friday morning, set up tents overnight and refused
to let trucks pass or employees enter the facility, said Ammar
al-Safi, a spokesman for the state-run General Company for Ports
MEE adds: The
demonstrations came in response to calls initiated by the civil
movement against corruption and called for swift action to be taken
against corruption and “corrupt” government officials they hold
responsible for continued electricity outages, water cuts and rising
unemployment rates, reported Aljazeera. Protesters also demanded
the reformation of the judiciary and the elimination of sectarianism
throughout government institutions, reported Aljazeera. The
protests are a continuation of demonstrations that started in July as
hundreds took to Tahrir Square in Baghdad calling on the government to
meet their demands. The protests have continued on a weekly basis,
usually erupting on Fridays.
All Iraq News quotes Ammar al-Hakim declaring, "The reforms must be comprehensive and should respond to the citizens' demands. We will defend our country with our souls and blood to prevent anyone who attempts to steal achievements."
Thursday, August 20, 2015. Chaos and violence continue, corruption charges are brought against some Iraqi officials, Nouri al-Maliki continues to insist he's done nothing wrong, partisan whores treat Iraq War Criminal John Podesta as an honest voice, and much more.
Chutzpah: Jeb blaming Obama for W's failure in Iraq. Must have forgotten it was Bush-Cheney who blew it there. Now he wants a do over? Plz..
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How much of a fool and moron is Robert Jolley?
He's just a parrot for partisan spin, we get that.
He's not about anything that actually matters.
I oppose the ongoing Iraq War and have been speaking out against it publicly since 2002 in my offline life.
What has Baby Cum Pants Jolley done?
My tolerance for idiots is at an all time low.
Don't you ever pretend you give a damn about Iraq and then quote all time whore John Podesta.
Seriously, just stop Tweeting.
There's no come back for you.
Only other idiots will ever applaud you.
You belong to a movement of mass stupidity.
Dropping back to the March 28, 2007 snapshot: Interviewed by Bonnie Faulkner (KPFA's Guns and Butter)
today, professor Francis Boyle discussed how a 2003 exploration of
impeachment by the Democrats was cut short when John Podesta announced
that there would be no introduction of bills of impeachment because it
would harm Democrats chances in the 2004 election. Speaking of the
measures being applauded by much in the media, big and small, Boyle
declared, "It's all baloney. All they had to do was just do nothing and
Bush would have run out of money. . . . The DNC fully supports the
war, that was made clear to Ramsey [Clark] and me on 13 March 2003 and
nothing's changed." John Podesta, former Clintonista, is with the
Democratic talking point mill (that attempts to pass itself as a think
tank) Center for American Progress -- with an emphasis on "Center" and
See you can't Tweet or reTweet Podesta on the topic of Iraq unless you're trying to get the blood on his hands onto your own.
Boyle and Ramsey Clark presented the case for impeachment to Democratic
congress members on March 13, 2003, just days before the bombs hit
Baghdad. Impeachment could conceivably have prevented over a million
deaths. The congress members present accepted the validity of the case,
but John Podesta and others argued that it would be better for
Democrats in the next election to let the war happen. We saw this same
cold blooded calculation, of course, in 2007 and 2008, as the Democrats
controlled the Congress and claimed to "oppose" the war while keeping it
going. While Clark argued for the political advantage of pursuing
impeachment, Boyle declined to address that point, preferring to stick
to the facts. Sadly, electoral arguments are almost the only thing most
congress members care about, and human life is not even on the list.
Francis A. Boyle: We just need one person to introduce the bill with
courage, integrity, principles, and of course a safe seat. In Gulf War
one I worked with the late great Congressman Henry B. Gonzales on his
bill of impeachment against Bush Sr. We put that one in. I did the first
draft the day after the war started. So in my opinion there is no
excuse for these bills not to have been put in already. In fact, on 13
March 2003, Congressman John Conyers
convened a meeting of 40 to 50 of his top advisors, most of whom were
lawyers, to debate putting in immediate bills of impeachment against
Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Ashcroft, to head off the war. There were draft bills sitting on the table that had been prepared by
me and Ramsey Clark. And the Congressman invited Ramsey and me to come
in and state the case for impeachment. It was a two hour debate, very
vigorous debate, obviously all of these lawyers there. And most of the
lawyers there didn't disagree with us on the merits of impeachment. It
was more as they saw it a question of practical politics. Namely, John
Podesta was there, Clinton's former White House chief of staff, who
said he was appearing on behalf of the Democratic National Committee and
they were against putting in immediate bills of impeachment because it
might hurt whoever their presidential candidate was going to be in 2004.
Well at that time no one even knew who their presidential candidate was
going to be in 2004. I didn't argue the point, I'm a political independent. It was not
for me to tell Democrats how to elect their candidates. I just
continued arguing the merits of impeachment. But Ramsey is a lifelong
Democrat and he argued that he felt that putting in these bills of
impeachment might help the Democrats and it certainly wasn't going to
hurt them in 2004.
So when the right thing could have been
done, when the Iraq War could have been stopped before it started, when
everything could have been changed, there was John Podesta arguing to
destroy Iraq, to destroy the lives of the Iraqi people, so that
Democrats could win the 2004 elections? (For the record, the whore was
wrong even when it came to electability: the Dems lost in the 2004
election -- they lost the presidency, the House and the Senate both
remained under Republican control with Republicans increasing their
seats -- in the single digits, but it's an increase -- in both houses of
Who's getting the do over? John Podesta?
Again, I've spoken out against the Iraq War all along.
I'll be damned if some cheap whore tries to reTweet War Criminal John Podesta and pretend Podesta has some standing on the topic of Iraq.
US House Rep John Conyers wanted to bring charges of impeachment and that would have ended it all.
But there was John The Infected Whore Podesta saying don't impeach Bully Boy Bush because it would harm election chances in 2004.
John Podesta is the last one to ever call bulls**t on anyone -- his entire life (and that of his brother Tony) has been nothing but bulls**t and people are dead as a result, millions of Iraqis included.
Podesta should be in a holding cell waiting to be tried at The Hague.
That stupid idiots on Twitter, caught up in their own bulls**t election, want to whore like Podesta is shameful.
Since this is the tenth anniversary of the
Bush war against Iraq, concerning Democratic Party support for it: On March 13,
2003 Congressman John Conyers convened an emergency meeting in Washington DC
at a law firm right down the street from the White House on the Eve of War to
consider, discuss and debate my draft Bill to impeach Bush and Cheney to try
to stop that war. He invited Ramsey Clark and me to come in and debate the case
for impeachment. The debate was 2 hours long. He also invited in about 40 top
NGO honchos affiliated with the Democratic Party, including John Podesta, for
the debate. I will not name the rest of them here, but I will never forget these
pro-war cowards and hypocrites for the rest of my life-- not including
Congressman Conyers. At the end of 2 hours of vigorous debating, we adjourned
with my draft Bill of Impeachment sitting on the table. As Ramsey and I walked
out of the building to take our separate cabs, I turned to him and said : “
Ramsey, I don’t understand it. Why didn’t those people take me up on my offer to
stay here, polish up my Bill of Impeachment immediately, and put it in right
away to try to stop this war?” And Ramsey replied: “I think most of the people
there want a war.” The Democrats supported that war from the get-go. And this
includes the Democratic National Committee. Podesta was there on their behalf
and in the name of the DNC put the kybosh on my Bill of Impeachment designed to
stop Bush’s war against Iraq.
Moving over to the State Dept. Yesterday's snapshot noted the State Dept issued a press release noting over $18 billion in weapons that the US had transferred to Iraq. At today's State Dept press briefing, spokesperson John Kirby was asked to explain the facts -- asked to explain them and couldn't.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) Iraq. I have a couple
of questions. First, you just published a fact sheet today on the State
Department website about the military assistance and this military
sales that you provide to Iraq. It’s very useful, but it’s a little bit
confusing. I was going to see if you can tell us – I mean, it’s a DOD
question but you published it – it’s your own fault – so I have to ask
the question here. If since 2014, since the war against ISIS started,
tell us the – how much you’ve provided to Iraq, but have they been
military aid, meaning without charge, or have you sold the weapons to
Iraq? Because at some point it talks about military sales and at some
point it talks about military assistance. So it’s kind of confusing; you
don’t know which portion has been free of charge and which portion have
you charged Iraq. MR KIRBY: Why don’t we get somebody who can break that down for you in greater detail? QUESTION: That would be great. MR KIRBY: I’m not at liberty right now. I don’t have that kind
of specificity of information up here. It’s both. And the larger point
that I think needs to be made is that since last summer we’ve
accelerated the aid and assistance, military support, that we have given
to the government of Iraq and that pace continues, and we’re going to
continue to do that to help them beat back ISIL. And it’s not just the
United States; other nations are also contributing as well to the degree
that they can. As for the exact breakdown, you’re going to have to let
us get QUESTION: Okay. MR KIRBY: -- some experts to sit down and talk to you. QUESTION: Okay. And also on the issue of the Kurdish
presidency. I know we’ve talked about this for the last couple of days,
but the issue remains outstanding and the U.S. officials remain in the
region talking to the leaders there. The president’s legal tenure
expired last night, midnight. Do you still regard the President Barzani
as the legitimate president of Kurdistan since he’s no longer by the law
the president? MR KIRBY: Well, I think that we’ve talked about this – that they -- QUESTION: He’s expired since midnight, so we haven’t talked about it, his term. MR KIRBY: They had meetings in Erbil, as we talked about, and
they’ve agreed to postpone the parliament sessions to Sunday to allow
additional time for parties to resolve all the pending issues related to
the presidential matter. QUESTION: But do you regard him -- MR KIRBY: And I’d refer you to Kurdish authorities to speak to
more about this consensus agreement. So I’m not going to take a
position one way or the other here. We were glad to see the Kurdish
parties get together, coming to a consensus agreement to kind of – to
deal with this presidential issue. And as I said, they’re going to work
through the weekend to do that. QUESTION: So my question is: When you deal with President Barzani, do you still deal with him as the president of the region? MR KIRBY: I’m not an expert on the constitutional framework
there. When Ambassador McGurk was in Erbil with our charge, they met
with President Barzani and other Kurdish political leaders, and at their
invitation were welcomed back to Erbil to get an update on the
political situation. But the decisions that were made and reached were
Kurdish decisions. QUESTION: Just – sorry, two more. I just want to be clear on
this. There are two senior U.S. officials that have been there – the
ambassador to Iraq and also Ambassador Brett McGurk. Does that mean the
U.S. take – took this issue very seriously? How serious did you think
the issue was that made you send two official to stay in the meetings
for hours, a couple of meetings at least? MR KIRBY: They were asked to be there by the Kurdish parties. QUESTION: Right. MR KIRBY: They were invited. Ambassador McGurk was just in
Iraq for much of this week, and I think earlier in the week I told you
he was in Erbil, then he went to Baghdad, then he was invited back to
Erbil by Kurdish political leaders because of these discussions they
were having. And so he was very glad for the invitation. He and the
charge went up there and they did sit in on these meetings, but it was
at the invitation of Kurdish leaders and that’s why he was there. Separate and distinct from that, of course we consider this an
important matter. I mean, what’s happening in Iraq politically,
militarily, economically, especially as it relates to the fight against
ISIL, is of great interest to the United States and to every other
member of the coalition. So yes, we take it seriously.
But the third point I’d want to make, and make it strongly, is that
these were Kurdish decisions. Ambassador McGurk and our charge went at
their invitation. It wasn’t to actively intervene or become involved in;
they were invited back to sit in on these discussions. But the
consensus that was reached was reached by the Kurdish parties.
Mr Barzani has served his two terms, the maximum currently allowed.
His last term expired in 2013, when it was extended by two years. But
the KDP, which currently leads a coalition government that includes the
other four parties, is firm on Mr Barzani staying in office. However,
existing laws provide neither a clear mechanism for electing a new
president nor a legal route to keep the current one in place. The
KDP says that given the Kurdistan Region's conflict against IS, if no
agreement is reached Mr Barzani should stay in power as a caretaker
president until the next election in 2017. However, existing laws
stipulate that the speaker of parliament should take over the
president's powers in the event of a presidential vacuum. So an extension for Mr Barzani at this point would be divisive at best and possibly illegal in the eyes of many.
As that issue festers, Lukman Faily demonstrates that US Secretary of State John Kerry's not the only diplomat capable of acting like an idiot Zaie Benjamin Tweets the following about Iraq's Ambassador to the US:
Iraq's Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani warns of "partition" if political reforms/anti-corruption measures fail. #TwitterKurds#Iraq
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For those who missed it, at a recent press conference, US General Ray Odierno was asked about partitioning Iraq. He responded it was not an idea he was willing to support at present and that, if it were to take place, that was a decision for Iraq and the region.
This had Faily bent out of shape -- so bent out of shape that days later, he's just got to comment.
But where his comment on Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's remarks?
Oh, that's right, the idiot knows to keep his mouth shut there, he knows not to trash al-Sistani.
It's a shame he can't respect free speech to begin with and instead tries to silence people with the lie that free speech leads to terrorism.
Iraq remains one of the most corrupt nations in the world. Alsumaria reports
that the country's Integrity Commission is preparing arrest warrants
against 2171 people -- 13 of which are current or former Cabinet
ministers. All Iraq News quotes Hasan al-Yasiri, head of the commission providing a lower number: 9 "current and former Ministers."
Though prime minister Haider al-Abadi has promised to address
corruption, the list of reforms or 'reforms' he has proposed did not
include anything like what the Integrity Commission is moving on. In
fact, Haider's corruption 'reforms' didn't really address much in terms
of corruption at all.
Peace Ambassadors for Iraq notes: Rather than attempting to improve governance, Abadi could be
eliminating the positions of Maliki and other prominent officials to
consolidate his own political power in a way that does not necessarily
improve either the effectiveness, transparency, or inclusiveness of
Iraq’s political system. As the Iraqi government proceeds with this measure, it must be sure
to maintain those with the necessary experience to keep the government
running. If not and the reforms actually fail to change the pattern of
inefficient governance, the plan would consolidate power in fewer hands
and make the situation worse than before.
One of the more problematic provisions that Abadi has proposed is the redirection
of public funds from municipal governments to non-governmental
militias. Iraq needs to devote its resources to strengthening its
national army and making it a more inclusive force. Not only does
strengthening the militias make the task of national reconciliation all
the more difficult, but also it increases the influence of Iran over
Iraq’s sovereign affairs and destiny.
Oh, yeah, liar Nouri. Nouri continues to insist the Parliamentary
report -- which found him responsible for failures that led Mosul to be
seized by the Islamic State in 2014 -- is wrong. Not everyone is so
sure. All Iraq News reports KRG
President Massouc Barzani has stated Nouri's denials and
counter-chargers ignore reality and that he cannot escape his
responsibility for the fall of Mosul.
Lastly, US Senator Robert Menendez is one of the few who can claim to have never taken his eye off of Iraq. He's issued a statement this week on the Iran deal and we will note it in full:
South Orange, NJ – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, senior member of
the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, delivered the following remarks
today at Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy and International
Relations. He was introduced by Courtney Smith, Senior Associate Dean
and Associate Professor.
“For twenty three years as a member of
the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations Committees, I
have had the privilege of dealing with major foreign policy and national
security issues. Many of those have been of a momentous nature. This
is one of those moments.
“I come to the issue of the Joint
Comprehensive Plan of Action, with Iran, as someone who has followed
Iran's nuclear ambition for the better part of two decades. I decide on
whether to support or oppose an issue on the basis of whether, it is in
my judgment, in the national interest and security of our country to do
“In this case a secondary, but important,
question is what it means for our great ally -- the State of Israel --
and our other partners in the Gulf.
“Unlike President Obama's
characterization of those who have raised serious questions about the
agreement, or who have opposed it, I did not vote for the war in Iraq, I
opposed it, unlike the Vice President and the Secretary of State, who
both supported it. My vote against the Iraq war was unpopular at the
time, but it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
“I also don't come to this question as
someone, unlike many of my Republican colleagues, who reflexively oppose
everything the President proposes. In fact, I have supported President
Obama, according to Congressional Quarterly, 98 percent of the time in
2013 and 2014. My dear, late mother would have been happy if I had
agreed with her 98 percent of the time -- and I revered her.
"On key policies ranging from voting in
the Finance Committee and on the Senate Floor for the Affordable Care
Act, to Wall Street Reform, to supporting the President's Supreme Court
Nominees and defending the Administration’s actions on the Benghazi
tragedy, his Pivot to Asia, shepherding the authorization for the Use of
Military Force (AUMF) to stop President Assad's use of chemical
weapons, during the time I was Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee, to so much more, I have been a reliable supporter of
“But my support is not – and has not been
driven by party loyalty, but rather by principled agreement, not
political expediency. When I have disagreed it is also based on
“The issue before the Congress in
September is whether to vote to approve or disapprove the agreement
struck by the President and our P5+1 partners with Iran. This is one of
the most serious national security, nuclear nonproliferation, arms
control issues of our time. It is not an issue of supporting or
opposing the President. This issue is much greater and graver than
“For me, I have come to my decision after
countless hours in hearings, classified briefings, and hours-and-hours
of serious discussion and thorough analysis. I start my analysis with
the question: Why does Iran -- which has the world's fourth largest
proven oil reserves, with 157 billion barrels of crude oil and the
world's second largest proven natural gas reserves with 1,193 trillion
cubic feet of natural gas -- need nuclear power for domestic energy?
“We know that despite the fact that Iran
claims their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, they have
violated the international will, as expressed by various U.N. Security
Council Resolutions, and by deceit, deception and delay advanced their
program to the point of being a threshold nuclear state. It is because
of these facts, and the fact that the world believes that Iran was
weaponizing its nuclear program at the Parchin Military Base -- as well
as developing a covert uranium enrichment facility in Fordow, built deep
inside of a mountain, raising serious doubts about the peaceful nature
of their civilian program, and their sponsorship of state terrorism --
that the world united against Iran's nuclear program.
“In that context, let’s remind ourselves
of the stated purpose of our negotiations with Iran: Simply put, it was
to dismantle all -- or significant parts -- of Iran's illicit nuclear
infrastructure to ensure that it would not have nuclear weapons
capability at any time. Not shrink its infrastructure. Not limit it.
But fully dismantle Iran’s nuclear weapons capability.
“We said we would accommodate Iran's
practical national needs, but not leave the region -- and the world --
facing the threat of a nuclear armed Iran at a time of its choosing. In
essence, we thought the agreement would be roll-back-for-roll-back: you
roll-back your infrastructure and we'll roll-back our sanctions.
“At the end of the day, what we appear to
have is a roll-back of sanctions and Iran only limiting its capability,
but not dismantling it or rolling it back. What do we get? We get an
alarm bell should they decide to violate their commitments, and a system
for inspections to verify their compliance. That, in my view, is a far
cry from ‘dismantling.’
“I recall in the early days of the
Administration's overtures to Iran, asking Secretary of State, John
Kerry, at a meeting of Senators, about dismantling Arak, Iran's
plutonium reactor. His response was swift and certain. He said: ‘They
will either dismantle it or we will destroy it.’
“I remember that our understanding was
that the Fordow facility was to be closed – that it was not necessary
for a peaceful civilian nuclear program to have an underground
enrichment facility. That the Iranians would have to come absolutely
clean about their weaponization activities at Parchin and agree to
promise anytime anywhere inspections.
“We now know all of that fell by the
wayside. But what we cannot dismiss is that we have now abandoned our
long-held policy of preventing nuclear proliferation and are now
embarked – not on preventing nuclear proliferation – but on managing or
containing it -- which leaves us with a far less desirable, less secure,
and less certain world order. So, I am deeply concerned that this is a
significant shift in our nonproliferation policy, and about what it
will mean in terms of a potential arms race in an already dangerous
“While I have many specific concerns
about this agreement, my overarching concern is that it requires no
dismantling of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and only mothballs that
infrastructure for 10 years. Not even one centrifuge will be destroyed
under this agreement. Fordow will be repurposed, and Arak redesigned.
“The fact is -- everyone needs to
understand what this agreement does and does not do so that they can
determine whether providing Iran permanent relief in exchange for
short-term promises is a fair trade.
“This deal does not require Iran to
destroy or fully decommission a single uranium enrichment centrifuge.
In fact, over half of Iran’s currently operating centrifuges will
continue to spin at its Natanz facility. The remainder, including more
than 5,000 operating centrifuges and nearly 10,000 not yet functioning,
will merely be disconnected and transferred to another hall at Natanz,
where they could be quickly reinstalled to enrich uranium.
“And yet we, along with our allies, have
agreed to lift the sanctions and allow billions of dollars to flow back
into Iran’s economy. We lift sanctions, but -- even during the first 10
years of the agreement -- Iran will be allowed to continue R&D
activity on a range of centrifuges – allowing them to improve their
effectiveness over the course of the agreement.
“Clearly, the question is: What do we get
from this agreement in terms of what we originally sought? We lift
sanctions, and -- at year eight -- Iran can actually start manufacturing
and testing advanced IR-6 and IR-8 centrifuges that enrich up to 15
times the speed of its current models. At year 15, Iran can start
enriching uranium beyond 3.67 percent – the level at which we become
concerned about fissile material for a bomb. At year 15, Iran will have
NO limits on its uranium stockpile.
“This deal grants Iran permanent
sanctions relief in exchange for only temporary – temporary --
limitations on its nuclear program – not a rolling-back, not
dismantlement, but temporary limitations. At year ten, the UN Security
Council Resolution will disappear along with the dispute resolution
mechanism needed to snapback UN sanctions and the 24-day mandatory
access provision for suspicious sites in Iran.
“The deal enshrines for Iran, and in fact
commits the international community to assisting Iran in developing an
industrial-scale nuclear power program, complete with industrial scale
enrichment. While I understand that this program will be subject to
Iran's obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear
Weapons, I think it fails to appreciate Iran's history of deception in
its nuclear program and its violations of the NPT.
“It will, in the long run, make it much
harder to demonstrate that Iran's program is not in fact being used for
peaceful purposes because Iran will have legitimate reasons to have
advanced centrifuges and a robust enrichment program. We will then have
to demonstrate that its intention is dual-use and not justified by its
industrial nuclear power program.
“What we get in return for removing
sanctions is an inspection and verification regime of Iran's
somewhat-diminished, but still existent nuclear program, for which we
will have to depend on Iranian compliance and performance for years to
“A significant part of that performance
is dictated by an Additional Protocol of the IAEA agreement that ensures
access to suspect sites in a country. But Iran has agreed only to
provisionally apply the Additional Protocol and only formally adopt it
when Congress has abolished all sanctions. This could mean that if Iran
has been sanctioned for violations of the agreement, Iran won’t even
have to seek ratification of the Additional Protocol until those
sanctions have been lifted – regardless of Iran’s full compliance.
“This is hardly an ironclad commitment on
which to base our right to inspect suspicious facilities. Of course if
the Iranians violate the agreement and try to make a dash for a nuclear
bomb, our solace will be that we will have a year's notice instead of
the present 3 months. So in reality we have purchased a very expensive
alarm system. Maybe we’ll have an additional nine months, but with much
greater consequences in the enemy we might face at that time.
“But what happens in the interim? Within
about a year of Iran meeting its initial obligations, Iran will receive
sanctions relief to the tune of $100-150 billion in the release of
frozen assets, as well as renewed oil sales of another million barrels a
day, as well as relief from sectoral sanctions in the petrochemical,
shipping, shipbuilding, port sectors, gold and other precious metals,
and software and automotive sectors.
“Iran will also benefit from the removal
of designated entities including major banks, shipping companies, oil
and gas firms from the U.S. Treasury list of sanctioned entities.
‘Of the nearly 650 entities that have
been designated by the U.S. Treasury for their role in Iran's nuclear
and missile programs or for being controlled by the Government of Iran,
more than 67 percent will be de-listed within 6-12 months,’ according to
testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of Mark
Dubowitz of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
“For Iran, all this relief comes likely within a year, even though its obligations stretch out for a decade or more.
“Considering the fact that it was
President Rouhani, who after conducting his fiscal audit after his
election, likely convinced the Ayatollah that Iran’s regime could not
sustain itself under the sanctions, and knew that only a negotiated
agreement would get Iran the relief it critically needed to sustain the
regime and the revolution, the negotiating leverage was, and still is,
greatly on our side. However, the JCPOA in paragraph 26 of the
Sanctions heading of the agreement, says:
Administration, acting consistently with the respective roles of the
President and the Congress, will refrain from re-introducing or
reimposing sanctions specified in Annex II, that it has ceased applying
under this JCPOA.’
“I repeat, we will have to refrain from
reintroducing or reimposing the Iran Sanctions Act I authored – which
expires next year -- that acted significantly to bring Iran to the table
in the first place. In two hearings, I asked Treasury Secretary Lew and
Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman whether we have the right to
reauthorize sanctions to have something to snapback to, and neither
would answer the question, saying only that it was ‘too early’ to
“But, I did get my answer from the Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations who, in a letter dated July 25, 2015, said:
is clearly spelled out in the JCPOA that both the European Union and
the United States will refrain from reintroducing or reimposing the
sanctions and restrictive measures lifted under the JCPOA. It is
understood the reintroduction or reimposition, including through
extension of the sanctions and restrictive measures will constitute
significant nonperformance which would relieve Iran from its commitments
in part or in whole.’
“If anything is a ‘fantasy’ about this
agreement it is the belief that snapback, without
congressionally-mandated sanctions, with EU sanctions gone, and
companies from around the world doing permissible business in Iran, will
have any real effect.
“The Administration cannot argue sanction
policy both ways. Either they were effective in getting Iran to the
negotiating table or they were not. Sanctions are either a deterrent to
break-out, a violation of the agreement, or they are not.
“In retrospect, my one regret throughout
this process is that I did not proceed with the Menendez-Kirk
prospective sanctions legislation that would have provided additional
leverage during the negotiations and would have also provided additional
leverage in any possible post-agreement nullification by them or by us.
“Frankly, in my view, the overall
sanctions relief being provided, given the Iranian’s understanding of
restrictions on the reauthorization of sanctions, along with the lifting
of the arms and missile embargo well before Iranian compliance over
years is established, leaves us in a weak position, and – to me – is
“As the largest State Sponsor of
Terrorism, Iran – who has exported its revolution to Assad in Syria, the
Houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and directed and supported
attacks against American troops in Iraq -- will be flush with money, not
only to invest in their domestic economy, but to further pursue their
destabilizing, hegemonic goals in the region. If Iran can afford to
destabilize the region with an economy staggering under sanctions and
rocked by falling oil prices, what will Iran and the Quds Force do when
they have a cash infusion of more than 20 percent of their GDP -- the
equivalent of an infusion of $3.4 trillion into our economy?
“If there is a fear of war in the region,
it is fueled by Iran and its proxies and exacerbated by an agreement
that allows Iran to possess an industrial-sized nuclear program, and
enough money in sanctions relief to continue to fund its hegemonic
intentions throughout the region. Imagine how a country like the United
Arab Emirates – sitting just miles away from Iran across the straits of
Hormuz feels after they sign a civilian nuclear agreement with the
U.S., considered to be the gold standard, to not enrich or reprocess
uranium? What do our friends think when we give our enemies a pass
while holding them to the gold standard? Who should they trust?
“Which brings me to another major concern
with the JCPOA, namely the issue of Iran coming clean about the
possible military dimensions of its nuclear program. For well over a
decade, the world has been concerned about the secret weaponization
efforts Iran conducted at the military base called Parchin.The goal that
we have long sought, along with the international community, is to know
what Iran accomplished at Parchin -- not necessarily to get Iran to
declare culpability -- but to determine how far along they were in their
nuclear weaponization program so that we know what signatures to look
for in the future.
“David Albright, a physicist and former
nuclear weapons inspector, and founder of the Institute for Science and
International Security, has said, ‘Addressing the IAEA's concerns about
the military dimensions of Iran's nuclear programs is fundamental to any
long term agreement… an agreement that sidesteps the military issues
would risk being unverifiable.’ The reason he says that ‘an agreement
that sidesteps the military issues would be unverifiable,’ is because
it makes a difference if you are 90 percent down the road in your
weaponization efforts or only ten percent advanced. How far advanced
Iran’s weaponizing abilities are has a significant impact on what Iran’s
breakout time to an actual deliverable weapon will be.
“In a report to the U.N. Security
Council, by a panel of experts, established pursuant to U.N. Security
Council Resolution 1929, the experts state The Islamic Republic of Iran
possesses two variants of ballistic missiles that, according to experts,
are believed to be potentially capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
One, the Ghada missile, is a variant of liquid-fuel Shahab-3, with a
range of approximately 1,600km. The other is the solid-fuel Sejil
missile, with a range of about 2,000km. To put that in perspective, the
Ghada missile has a 650 mile range which puts Afghanistan, Armenia,
Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Georgia, India, Iraq, Israel, Jordan,
Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi
Arabia, and Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, the United
Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Yemen in their sites.
“The Sejil missile has a 1,250 mile rage
which includes Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, China, Djibouti, Egypt,
Eritrea, Ethiopia, Greece, Hungary, Kosovo, Libya, Macedonia, Moldova,
Nepal, Romania, Serbia, Somalia, and Sudan.
“With so much at stake, the IAEA -- after
waiting over ten years to inspect Parchin, speak to Iranian nuclear
scientists, and review additional materials and documents -- are now
told they will not have direct access to Parchin. The list of
scientists the P5+1 wanted the IAEA to interview were rejected outright
by Iran, and they are now given three months to do all of their review
and analysis before they must deliver a report in December of this
year. How the inspections and soil and other samples are to be
collected are outlined in two secret agreements that the U.S. Congress
is not privy to. The answer as to why we cannot see those documents, is
because they have a confidentiality agreement between the IAEA and
Iran, which they say ‘is customary,’ but this issue is anything but
“If Iran can violate its obligations for
more than a decade, it can't then be allowed to avail themselves of the
same provisions and protections they violated in the first place. We
have to ask: Why would our negotiators decide to negotiate access to
other IAEA documents, but not these documents? Maybe the reason, as
some members of Congress and public reports have raised, is because it
will be the Iranians and not the IAEA performing the tests and providing
the samples to be analyzed, which would be the equivalent of having an
athlete accused of using performance enhancing drugs submit an
unsupervised urine sample to the appropriate authority. Chain of
custody doesn't matter when the evidence given to you is prepared by the
“So in five months, we seek to resolve a
major issue that has taken the better part of a decade to have access
to, and with a highly questionable inspection regime as a solution. And,
according to an AP story of August 14th – and I quote:
‘They say the agency will be able to
report in December. But that assessment is unlikely to be unequivocal
because chances are slim that Iran will present all the evidence the
agency wants, or give it the total freedom of movement it needs to
follow-up the allegations. Still, the report is expected to be approved
by the IAEA's board, which includes the United States and other powerful
nations that negotiated the July 14 agreement. They do not want to
upend their July 14 deal, and will see the December report as closing
the books on the issue.’
“It would seem to me that what we are doing is sweeping this critical issue under the rug.
“Secretary Kerry has said that, ‘We have
absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they
were engaged in,’ yet, for years we have insisted on getting access to
Parchin and acquiring the knowledge we need to know.
“General Hayden, the former CIA Director,
said, ‘I'd like to see the DNI or any intelligence office repeat that
for me. They won't. What he is saying is that we don't care how far
they've gotten with weaponization. We're betting the farm on our ability
to limit the production of fissile material.’ Now, if they want to
make that bet, they can, but the Administration should level with us and
not insist revelations of PMD are unimportant. Instead General Hayden
says, ‘he's pretending we have perfect knowledge about something that
was an incredibly tough intelligence target while I was director and I
see nothing that has made it any easier.’
“For me, the administration's willingness
to forgo a critical element of Iran's weaponization -- past and present
-- is inexplicable. Our willingness to accept this process on Parchin
is only exacerbated by the inability to obtain anytime, anywhere
inspections, which the Administration always held out as one of those
essential elements we would insist on and could rely on in any deal.
Instead, we have a dispute resolution mechanism that shifts the burden
of proof to the U.S. and its partners, to provide sensitive
intelligence, possibly revealing our sources and the methods by which we
collected the information and allow the Iranians to delay access for
nearly a month, a delay that would allow them to remove evidence of a
violation, particularly when it comes to centrifuge
research-and-development, and weaponization efforts that can be easily
hidden and would leave little or no signatures.
“The Administration suggests that --
other than Iraq -- no country was subjected to anytime, anywhere
inspections. But Iran's defiance of the world's position, as recognized
in a series of U.N. Security Council Resolutions, does not make it ‘any
other country.’ It is their violations of the NPT and the Security
Council Resolutions that created the necessity for a unique regime and
for anytime, anywhere inspections.
“Mark Dubowitz, the widely-respected sanctions expert from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, has said:
‘For Secretary Kerry to claim we have
absolute knowledge of Iran's weaponization activities is to assume a
level of U.S. intelligence capability that defies historical experience.
That's why he, President Obama, Undersecretary Sherman and IAEA chief
Amano all have made PMD resolution such an essential condition of any
“He goes on to say:
‘The U.S. track record in detecting and
stopping countries from going nuclear should make Kerry more modest in
his claims and assumptions. The U.S. missed the Soviet Union, China,
India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. Washington underestimated
Saddam's program in 1990. Then it overestimated his program in 2003 and
went to war to stop a nonexistent WMD program.’
“It is precisely because of this track
record that permitting Iran to have the size and scope of an
industrialized nuclear program, permitted under the JCPOA is one of the
great flaws of the agreement.
“If what President Obama's statement, in
his NPR interview of April 7th, 2015, that ‘a more relevant fear would
be that in year 13, 14, 15 they have advanced centrifuges that enrich
uranium fairly rapidly, and at that point breakout times would have
shrunk almost down to zero’ – is true, then it seems to me that -- in
essence -- this deal does nothing more than kick today's problem down
the road for ten-15 years, and, at the same time, undermines the
arguments and evidence we'll need, because of the dual-use nature of
their program, to convince the Security Council and the international
community to take action.
“President Obama continues to erroneously
say that this agreement permanently stops Iran from having a nuclear
bomb. Let’s be clear, what the agreement does is to recommit Iran not
to pursue a nuclear bomb, a promise they have already violated in the
past. It recommits them to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT),
an agreement they have already violated in the past. It commits them to
a new Security Council Resolution outlining their obligations, but they
have violated those in the past as well.
“So the suggestion of permanence, in this
case, is only possible for so long as Iran complies and performs
according to the agreement because the bottom line is that this
agreement leaves Iran with the core element of a robust nuclear
“The fact is -- success is not a question
of Iran's conforming and performing according to the agreement. If
that was all that was needed – if Iran had abided by its commitments all
along -- we wouldn't be faced with this challenge now. The test of
success must be -- if Iran violates the agreement and attempts to
break-out -- how well we will be positioned to deal with Iran -- at that
point. Trying to reassemble the sanctions regime, including the time
to give countries and companies notice of sanctionable activity, which
had been permissible up to then, would take-up most of the breakout
time, assuming we could even get compliance after significant national
and private investments had taken place. That indeed would be a
“So the suggestion of ‘permanency’ in
stopping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon depends on ‘performance.’
Based on the long history of Iran's broken promises, defiance and
violations, that is hopeful. Significant dismantlement, however, would
establish ‘performance,’ and therefore eliminating the threat of the
capability to develop a nuclear weapon would truly be permanent, and any
attempt to rebuild that infrastructure would give the world far more
time than one year.
“The President and Secretary Kerry have
repeatedly said that the choice is between this agreement or war. I
reject that proposition, as have most witnesses, including past and
present Administration members involved in the Iran nuclear issue, who
have testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and who
support the deal but reject the binary choice between the agreement or
“If the P5+1 had not achieved an agreement, would we be at war with Iran? I don't believe that.
“For all those who have said they have
not heard -- from anyone who opposes the Agreement – a better solution,
they’re wrong. I believe there is a pathway to a better deal.
“Advocates of the deal argue that a good
deal that would have dismantled critical elements of Iran's nuclear
infrastructure isn’t attainable – that the Iranians were tough
negotiators -- and that despite our massive economic leverage and the
weight of the international community we couldn’t buy more than 10 years
of inspection and verification in exchange for permanent sanctions
relief, and for revoking Iran’s pariah status. I don’t believe that.
“It is difficult to believe that the
world's greatest powers, the U.S., Great Britain, France, Russia, China,
Germany and the European Union, sitting on one side of the table, and
Iran sitting alone on the other side, staggering from sanctions and
rocked by plummeting oil prices, could not have achieved some level of
“I believe we should have insisted on
meeting the requirements we know are necessary to stop Iran from getting
a nuclear weapon today and in ten years, or we should have been
prepared to walk away.
“I believe we could still get a better
deal and here’s how: We can disapprove this agreement, without
rejecting the entire agreement.
“We should direct the Administration to
re-negotiate by authorizing the continuation of negotiations and the
Joint Plan of Action – including Iran’s $700 million-a-month lifeline,
which to date have accrued to Iran's benefit to the tune of $10 billion,
and pausing further reductions of purchases of Iranian oil and other
sanctions pursuant to the original JPOA. I’m even willing to consider
authorizing a sweetener – a one-time release of a predetermined amount
of funds – as a good faith down payment on the negotiations.
“We can provide specific parameters for
the Administration to guide their continued negotiations and ensure that
a new agreement does not run afoul of Congress. A continuation of
talks would allow the re-consideration of just a few, but a critical few
“First, the immediate ratification by
Iran of the Additional Protocol to ensure that we have a permanent
international arrangement with Iran for access to suspect sites.
“Second, a ban on centrifuge R&D for
the duration of the agreement to ensure that Iran won’t have the
capacity to quickly breakout, just as the U.N. Security Council
Resolution and sanctions snapback is off the table.
“Third, close the Fordow enrichment
facility. The sole purpose of Fordow was to harden Iran’s nuclear
program to a military attack. We need to close the facility and
foreclose Iran’s future ability to use this facility. If Iran has
nothing to hide they shouldn’t need to put it under a mountain.
“Fourth, the full resolution of the
‘possible military dimensions’ of Iran’s program. We need an arrangement
that isn’t set up to whitewash this issue. Iran and the IAEA must
resolve the issue before permanent sanctions relief, and failure of Iran
to cooperate with a comprehensive review should result in automatic
“Fifth, extend the duration of the
agreement. One of the single most concerning elements of the deal is its
10-15 year sunset of restrictions on Iran’s program, with off ramps
starting after year eight. We were promised an agreement of significant
duration and we got less than half of what we are looking for. Iran
should have to comply for as long as they deceived the world's position,
so at least 20 years.
“And sixth, we need agreement now about
what penalties will be collectively imposed by the P5+1 for Iranian
violations, both small and midsized, as well as a clear statement as to
the so-called grandfather clause in paragraph 37 of the JCPOA, to ensure
that the U.S. position about not shielding contracts entered into
legally upon re-imposition of sanctions is shared by our allies.
“At the same time we should: Extend the
authorization of the Iran Sanctions Act which expires in 2016 to ensure
that we have an effective snapback option; Consider licensing the
strategic export of American oil to allied countries struggling with
supply because Iranian oil remains off the market; Immediately implement
the security measures offered to our partners in the Gulf Summit at
Camp David, while preserving Israel's qualitative military edge.
“The President should unequivocally
affirm and Congress should formally endorse a Declaration of U.S. Policy
that we will use all means necessary to prevent Iran from producing
enough enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb, as well as building or
buying one, both during and after any agreement. We should authorize
now the means for Israel to address the Iranian threat on their own in
the event that Iran accelerates its program and to counter Iranian
perceptions that our own threat to use force is not credible. And we
should make it absolutely clear that we want a deal, but we want the
right deal -- and that a deal that does nothing more than delay the
inevitable isn’t a deal we will make.
“We must send a message to Iran that
neither their regional behavior nor nuclear ambitions are permissible.
If we push back regionally, they will be less likely to test the limits
of our tolerance towards any violation of a nuclear agreement.
“The agreement that has been reached
failed to achieve the one thing it set out to achieve – it failed to
stop Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state at a time of its
choosing. In fact, it authorizes and supports the very road map Iran
will need to arrive at its target.
“I know that the Administration will say
that our P5+1 partners will not follow us, that the sanctions regime
will collapse and that they will allow Iran to proceed, as if they
weren't worried about Iran crossing the nuclear- weapons capability
threshold. I heard similar arguments from Secretary Kerry, when he was
Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, as well as Assistant
Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, Assistant Secretary of Treasury David
Cohen and others, when I was leading the charge to impose new sanctions
“That didn't happen then and I don't believe it will
happen now. Despite what some of our P5+1 Ambassadors have said in
trying to rally support for the agreement, and echoing the
Administration's admonition, that it is a take it or leave it
proposition, our P5+1 partners will still be worried about Iran's
nuclear weapon desires and the capability to achieve it. They, and the
businesses from their countries, and elsewhere, will truly care more
about their ability to do business in a U.S. economy of $17 trillion
than an Iranian economy of $415 billion. The importance of that economic
relationship is palpable as we negotiate TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade
and Investment Partnership agreement.
“At this juncture it is important to note
that, as an AP story acknowledged, over history, Congress has rejected
outright or demanded changes to more than 200 treaties and international
agreements, including 80 that were multilateral.
“Whether or not the supporters of the
agreement admit it, this deal is based on ‘hope’-- hope that when the
nuclear sunset clause expires Iran will have succumbed to the benefits
of commerce and global integration. Hope that the hardliners will have
lost their power and the revolution will end its hegemonic goals. And
hope that the regime will allow the Iranian people to decide their fate.
“Hope is part of human nature, but unfortunately it is not a national security strategy.
“The Iranian regime, led by the
Ayatollah, wants above all to preserve the regime and its Revolution,
unlike the Green Revolution of 2009. So it stretches incredulity to
believe they signed on to a deal that would in any way weaken the regime
or threaten the goals of the Revolution.
“I understand that this deal represents a
trade-off, a hope that things may be different in Iran in ten-15
years. Maybe Iran will desist from its nuclear ambitions. Maybe
they'll stop exporting and supporting terrorism. Maybe they'll stop
holding innocent Americans hostage. Maybe they'll stop burning American
flags. And maybe their leadership will stop chanting, “Death to
America" in the streets of Tehran. Or maybe they won't.
“I know that, in many respects, it would
be far easier to support this deal, as it would have been to vote for
the war in Iraq at the time. But I didn't choose the easier path then,
and I’m not going to now. I know that the editorial pages that support
the agreement would be far kinder, if I voted yes, but they largely also
supported the agreement that brought us a nuclear North Korea.
“At moments like this, I am reminded of the passage in John F. Kennedy's book, ‘Profile in Courage,’ where he wrote:
"’The true democracy, living and growing
and inspiring, puts its faith in the people - faith that the people will
not simply elect men who will represent their views ably and
faithfully, but will also elect men (and I would parenthetically add
woman) who will exercise their conscientious judgment - faith that the
people will not condemn those whose devotion to principle leads them to
unpopular courses, but will reward courage, respect honor, and
ultimately recognize right.’
“‘In whatever arena in life one may meet
the challenges of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces if he
follows his conscience - the loss of his friends, his fortune, his
contentment, even the esteem of his fellow men - each man must decide
for himself the course he will follow. The stories of past courage can
define that ingredient - they can teach, they can offer hope, they can
provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this
each man must look into his own soul.’
“I have looked into my own soul and my
devotion to principle may once again lead me to an unpopular course, but
if Iran is to acquire a nuclear bomb, it will not have my name on it.
“It is for these reasons that I will vote to disapprove the agreement and, if called upon, would vote to override a veto.
“Thank you. May God Bless these United States of America.”