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Facts and Logic About the Middle East

September 16, 2015

Iran Deal Passes Congress, despite Opposition by a Bipartisan Majority of Congress and of the American People

Dear Friend of Israel:

President Obama is calling his Iran Deal a landmark accomplishment, even though he rammed it through against the wishes of a majority of our elected representatives and most Americans. That's something of a landmark itself, especially considering the Deal should have been considered a treaty, requiring two-thirds approval by Congress, instead of just the 42% of Senators who favored it—or, more accurately, who prevented the Deal from even coming to a vote.

As you know, fighting the Iran Deal has been one of FLAME's most hard-fought and long-lasting campaigns. We dedicated two of this year's paid editorial messages to defeating it—and we thank the hundreds of generous donors who dug deep to help FLAME pay for those messages over the last three months. FLAME supporters also generated thousands of calls to our elected representatives.

We're proud of this initiative and proud of our role in educating those majorities—both the public and our Senators and Representatives—about the Deal's dangers. You should be proud, too. We put serious doubt in the minds of many of those elected Democrats who only reluctantly supported it. Indeed, we believe most of those casting ballots to prevent the Iran Deal from coming to a vote in the Senate were not so much in favor of the Deal, but rather were "voting" for President Obama—supporting the leader of their party and overlooking the Deal's dangers.

Yet we are not discouraged at losing this battle—and I hope you, too, will continue to help us win the war against Iran's America-hating, Israel-hating theocratic dictatorship.

What, then, is to be done now?

This week's FLAME Hotline featured article points the way. Three issues need to be on our agenda—and on the agenda of a bipartisan Congress. As we have noted many times, the safety of the U.S. and of Israel is not a Republican issue or a Democratic issue. It's an American issue. Here's where we must start:

1) Make sure we catch Iran when they violate the Deal—which is a near certainty—and make sure we punish them forcefully when they do.

2) Implement new sanctions against Iran to make its continued international terrorism as costly as possible.

3) Convince lawmakers and the President to make available "bunker busting" armaments—MOPs—to Israel, so it can respond appropriately and immediately should Iran break out with a nuclear bomb.

This week's brief article, by former U.S. Mideast negotiator Dennis Ross and David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, makes a strong case for these priorities. I hope you find it useful in your advocacy, and I hope our Senators, Representatives and the President find it convincing.

Best regards,

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


As you know, Israel gets regularly battered in the media for its "occupation" of parts of Judea and Samaria (aka "the West Bank"). Yet the Palestinians themselves go further—denying Israel's rights to any part of the Holy Land and fighting for nearly 70 years to eject the Jews. Indeed, a recent poll shows that more than 80% of Palestinians believe the West Bank and Gaza are "Palestinian land and Jews have no rights to the land." In truth, the Jews are the indigenous people of Palestine and are occupying their ancestral homeland. FLAME's latest editorial message makes clear that despite Palestinian efforts to rewrite history, the Jews arrived 1,800 years before the Arabs. In the hope that you, too, believe we must correct the lie that Palestinians have priority rights in the Holy Land, I offer a preview of FLAME's latest position paper: "Who are the Indigenous People of Palestine?" This piece is soon to appear in magazines and newspapers, including college newspapers, with a combined circulation of some 10 million people. In addition, it is being sent to every member of the U.S. Congress. If you agree that this kind of public relations effort on Israel's behalf is critical, I urge you to support us. Remember: FLAME's powerful ability to influence public opinion comes from individuals like you, one by one. I hope you'll consider giving a donation now, as you're able—with $500, $250, $100, or even $18. (Remember, your donation to FLAME is tax deductible.) To donate online, just go to donate now. Now more than ever we need your support to ensure that Israel gets the support it needs—from the U.S. Congress, from President Obama, and from the American people.

As of today, more than 15,000 Israel supporters receive the FLAME Hotline at no charge every week. If you're not yet a subscriber, won't you join us in receiving these timely updates, so you can more effectively tell the truth about Israel? Just go to free subscription .

It's Time for Congress to Come Together on Iran

The Nuclear deal can't be defeated. But it can be toughened with smart bipartisan action.

By Dennis Ross and David Makovsky, Politico, September 10, 2015

As Thursday's Senate vote demonstrates, there is no longer any suspense about the fate of the nuclear deal with Iran. What remains relevant, however, are concerns about some of the key vulnerabilities of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Even many of its supporters have worries about what happens when Iran is no longer limited in the size or the quality of its centrifuges or nuclear infrastructure, particularly after year fifteen. Similarly, both supporters and opponents of the deal are understandably concerned about Iran using sanctions relief to provide significantly more material support to Hezbollah and other trouble-makers in the region.

Thus, shouldn't it be possible to gain bipartisan agreement on bolstering deterrence and raising the cost to the Iranians of de-stabilizing behavior in the region? Indeed, shouldn't Republicans and Democrats be able to agree on legislation that would not be inconsistent with the JCPOA but could address the need to create a firewall between Iran's threshold nuclear status and its becoming a weapons state? President Obama stated in his letter to Congressman Jerrold Nadler that "my administration will take whatever means are necessary to achieve that goal [preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon], including military means." It follows that, putting in legislation language that would support the use of force in response to an Iranian dash toward a nuclear bomb should be something the president could support. In any case this is critically needed if the Iranians and the world are to understand that force and not sanctions will be the response to Iran's violating its commitment not to pursue a nuclear weapon at any point but especially after the fifteen year period when limits on the size of the Iranian nuclear program are lifted. Similarly, since there is no civilian justification for producing highly enriched uranium (HEU), there should be no reason why the White House cannot accept legislative language that would treat the production of HEU as a trigger for the possible use of force.

In addition, we also see a need for the legislation to provide the massive ordinance penetrator (MOP)—and the aircraft to carry it—to Israel to reinforce Israeli deterrence. The MOP is a 30,000 pound mountain buster that would enable Israel to target Fordow, the Iranian enrichment site built into a mountain. Providing it to Israel would have the added benefit of signaling that we mean what we say about preventing Iran from ever becoming a nuclear weapons state. It would put us in a position where on our own, in concert with Israel or in support of the Israelis, we would act militarily if needed. For those who fear we would be simply handing over our decision-making on this issue to the Israelis, we could work out in advance an agreed set of indicators that would constitute an Iranian move toward a weapon and justify the use force. In any case, doubts about America's will to respond to an Iranian dash toward a nuclear weapon may persist over time, but no one in the Middle East questions whether Israel would act militarily if Iran chose to dash toward a nuclear weapon. Few actions by the United States would do more to reinforce our declarations about deterrence than providing the MOP to Israel at some point during the life of the JCPOA. Finally, legislation that provides for select and targeted sanctions in response to a surge of material support for Iran's proxies in the region is a necessary part of a strategy for the area designed to ensure that Hezbollah, Hamas, and other Iranian-supported militias in the area don't gain as a result of the JCPOA.

The point is that the JCPOA may block Iran's enrichment, plutonium separation, and covert paths to a nuclear bomb for the next fifteen years. That is the good news. The bad news is that it essentially legitimizes Iran as a nuclear threshold state and, like any deal on Iran's nuclear program, provides the sanctions relief that will permit Iran to do vastly more trouble-making in the region. While the JCPOA will soon become a reality, there is at this point a legislative remedy to some of the vulnerabilities that flow from the deal.

Republicans will no doubt express their opposition to the deal when votes take place in the Congress as soon as the end of this week (Editor's note: Both Democrats and Republicans opposed the deal). Both the Republicans in the Congress and the White House can choose to simply argue across the divide that separates them. Alternatively, they can focus on practical steps that also reflect the consensus that exists on preventing Iran from ever acquiring a nuclear weapon or shifting the balance of power in the region against the United States and its partners in the area. In doing so, both sides could also promote healing after what has been a bruising debate that often yielded more heat than light.






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