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An e-newsletter delivering updates and analysis on current issues about Israel and the Middle East conflict

July 28, 2015

Two ways you can help Israel and the United States today

Dear Friend of FLAME:

The Iran Deal has stirred up the American people big time—especially pro-Israel activists. It's also got the Obama administration out in force on the talk show circuit and in Congressional hearing rooms, trying to drum up support for this misbegotten agreement.

Despite Mr. Obama's full-court press, however, a recent Pew poll shows a plurality of Americans—48%—oppose the President's deal (and only 38% support it). Another poll shows support for the deal, but the Pew poll tracked only those people who were aware of the deal—not those who might support it in the abstract. (Of course, everybody would support a good deal.)

In addition, a majority of members of Congress—including prominent Democrats, like Senator Robert Menendez—seem certain to oppose the deal when it comes to a vote in the next 45 days. Our goal is to convince a veto-proof majority—67 Senators—that this is a bad deal.

No wonder we in the pro-Israel (and pro-U.S.) camp are also revving up to ensure the deal's defeat in Congress. For this reason, I urge you to take two steps today to help us, and I'll explain what they are in a moment.

But before we go there, let me give you three reasons we at FLAME staunchly oppose the President's Iran Deal:

1) Mr. Obama promised that "the deal we'll accept is that they end their nuclear program." This deal does not do that—nor does it come close. Rather this deal certifies Iran as a nuclear-weapon threshold state and paves the way for it to develop a nuclear bomb after 10 short years.

2) Mr. Obama promised that the deal would guarantee "anytime, anywhere" inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities. Rather, this deal permits Iran to block inspections of any suspected secret nuclear facility or activity for 24 days minimum and probably more.

3) Iran is the world's foremost state sponsor of terrorism, one whose evil influence worldwide is growing dramatically and whose two greatest targets are the United States and Israel. Iran is our greatest enemy!

4) Since this deal with Iran guarantees that the Islamic State will be able to build a nuclear bomb within ten years, which make it even more belligerent, the President's deal is likely to lead to war. On the other hand, as this week's FLAME Hotline featured article (below) argues, rejecting this deal does not mean war, but rather is the first necessary step to negotiating a better deal.

Here are the two things I strongly encourage you to do—for the U.S. and for Israel:

First, call and write your U.S. Senators and your Representative expressing your opposition to the Iran Deal. You can reach your elected officials by calling Congress at 202-225-3121. You can email them very easily by going to contacting the Congress. Tell them you oppose the Iran Deal because it doesn't prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Do this today.

Second, please send a pledge of support to FLAME as we launch a new hasbarah initiative in media nationwide. Our editorial message will be titled "A Cheater's Dream—Why We Must Stop the Iran Deal" and will begin appearing in August. This message will outline Iran's long pattern of lying and deceit in the face of nearly every international agreement, especially those related to its nuclear activity. With your help, we will double the media in which we run this ad and we will help convince the American people—and Congress—to reject this deadly deal. Please go to donate now .

Finally, I encourage you to read this week's FLAME Hotline featured article, which utterly decimates President Obama's false choice of his deal or war. Not so, says Frederick W. Kagan, director of the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, who proves his point in the concise article below.

In the meantime, I thank you for your support of FLAME and of Israel during this critical time.

Best regards,

Jim Sinkinson
Vice President, Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME)


As you know the U.S. Congress has asserted its right to approve or disapprove any reduction of sanctions on Iran—effectively a mandate on the Iran Deal. With the recent announcement of the proposed final deal, it's critical that we communicate to the American people and our elected representatives that we oppose this disastrous deal. That's why in a few weeks FLAME will be publishing a paid editorial message in media nationwide, including college newspapers—reaching at least 10 million key influencers—plus all U.S. Congressional Senators and Representatives. Because this matter is so critical to our country and to Israel, we intend to double the number of media into which we place this message. If you agree that FLAME's bold brand of public relations on Israel's behalf is critical, I urge you to help us trumpet this message, so Americans will realize that the proposed "Iran Deal" fails to fulfill Mr. Obama's 2012 promise to stop Iran's nuclear program. In fact this deal will surely pave the way for our worst enemy—and that of Israel—to continue developing nuclear weapons technology. Please help us spread the word by giving a donation now, as you're able—with $500, $250, $100, or even $18. (Remember, your donation to FLAME is tax deductible.) To contribute online, just go to donate now . Today more than ever we need your help to ensure that Israel gets the support it needs—from the U.S. Congress and from the American people.

Obama presents a false dichotomy on Iran

By Frederick W. Kagan, Washington Post, July 23, 2015

The Iranians lie.

President Obama and his supporters have done a terrific job of framing the debate over the Iran nuclear agreement as a choice between taking the deal or opting for war. They continually challenge critics to articulate an alternative to the deal, claiming that there isn't one. This is a superb debating technique, and it has put critics on the defensive. But it is a false dichotomy. The choice might conceivably be between a deal and war, although that is by no means certain—the Cold War, after all, ended with neither a deal nor war. But the choice at hand is between accepting this deal now or continuing to press and negotiate for a better deal later. Many critics of this particular agreement, including me, believe that it would be far preferable to sign a good deal with Iran than to go to war with Iran—but also believe that this is a very bad deal indeed.

There is historical precedent for thinking about the issue in this way. The Nixon administration signed the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I) in 1972, and the Senate ratified it. The agreement did not have the desired effect. The Soviet nuclear stockpile expanded dramatically in subsequent years, and the period of detente supposedly ushered in by that agreement ended with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. That invasion came five months after the conclusion of another poor nuclear arms deal from the U.S. standpoint, SALT II. The Senate refused to ratify SALT II, ending the SALT process.

But war between the United States and the Soviet Union did not ensue. Both Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan instead increased the pressure on the Soviet Union dramatically, including with enhanced economic sanctions and significant increases to the defense budget—begun by Carter—that forced the Soviet Union to spend more on its own military. Within a few years, Soviet leaders came to the conclusion that major internal reform was necessary and that a thaw in relations with the United States was desirable.

Moreover, the end of the SALT process was not the end of negotiations. NATO adopted a "dual-track" approach of deploying U.S. intermediate-range ballistic missiles in Europe and simultaneously trying to negotiate the elimination of all such weapons, including the Soviets', from the continent in November 1979. Negotiations began in 1980, and formal talks started the next year. These talks were difficult, and the Soviets walked out in 1983 and 1984 as the United States followed through with the deployment of missiles to Europe and the development of Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, to which the Kremlin was violently opposed.

Yet negotiations began again in 1985, now including not only intermediate-range ballistic missiles but also a more comprehensive discussion about reducing—rather than limiting—strategic weapons. Reagan had announced his desire to pursue a Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) in 1982, but the Soviets only took it up three years later, after Mikhail Gorbachev took power. Reagan and Gorbachev announced a basic agreement regarding intermediate-range missiles at the Reykjavik Summit in 1986, and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was signed the next year. That agreement paved the way for additional negotiations that culminated with the signing of the START pact itself in 1991. These treaties, taken together, dramatically reduced the size of nuclear arsenals on both sides and accomplished far more than either of the SALT treaties to eliminate nuclear weapons and delivery systems.

Historical analogies are always perilous, and supporters of the deal with Iran have been quick to argue that Iran has not lost a war and so cannot be expected to sign too disadvantageous an agreement. It is true that Iran has not been defeated in war, but neither had the Soviet Union when Gorbachev signed the INF Treaty. Iran, moreover, has never had the military power the Soviet Union possessed even in 1991 as it collapsed—which included the ability to obliterate the United States and NATO with nuclear weapons. The lesson of Cold War arms reduction negotiations is not that good deals require defeating an enemy in war but rather that walking away from bad deals does not inevitably lead either to war or to the end of negotiations.

Opposing the current deal is thus not in any way equivalent to favoring war. It is not a rejection of the idea of a peaceful resolution of this conflict, nor is it a refusal to negotiate with Iran. One can quite rationally oppose this deal without opposing any deal. Given how bad this deal is, in fact, that is the only rational position to take.


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