The US is engaged in a foreign policy catastrophe involving Iran, but it’s getting scant attention amid the saga of Hillary Clinton’s practices as secretary of state.
Ironically, Dr. Walid Phares, foreign policy adviser to GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, predicted the nightmare unfolding and offered solutions years ago. Dr. Phares’ ideas weren’t welcomed by Democrats controlling the executive branch of our government headed by President Barack Obama.
The net effect of billions of mostly untraceable dollars handed over to Iran is further empowerment of a country still designated as a state sponsor of terrorism by the US Dept. of State. We still don’t know exactly how much money the Obama administration handed a dangerous regime.
Obama has been highly critical of Trump as potential president. Obama’s own policy decisions, however, dominated by Clinton insiders in his administration, leave this president little ground to criticize anyone.
Start with the fact Americans don’t even know the exact amount of money transferred by stealth, in cash and/or gold. We do know some of that money will benefit Hezbollah, a group designated by the US as terrorists. According to the US Counter Terrorism Guide, Hezbollah “formed in 1982 in response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.” That’s highly misleading, and another indication of leftists’ ongoing skewed view of Israel as aggressor.
Israel’s “invasion” was a defensive act in response to terrorism committed against Israel with Lebanon as a launching pad.
In June, 2016, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah made a speech scoffing at US sanctions against Iran and boasting about support:
“’We are open about the fact that Hezbollah’s budget, its income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, come from the Islamic Republic of Iran,’ and he emphasized that his group ‘will not be affected’ by any fresh sanctions…’As long as Iran has money, we have money… Just as we receive the rockets that we use to threaten Israel, we are receiving our money. No law will prevent us from receiving it…’”
Hezbollah isn’t Iran’s only terrorist ally. Saudi-owned news site Al Arabiya published “damning documents revealing Iran’s al-Qaeda links to 9-11.” While a case can be made the Saudi regime is attempting to deflect attention from its own citizens’ involvement in 9-11, the fact remains Iran was allegedly involved as well.
The US 9-11 Commission Report also raised the issue of Iran’s involvement in the 2001 attacks. The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies said:
“On July 20, 2016, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that it had sanctioned three high-level al Qaeda operatives who are living in Iran. A departmental press release stated, ‘Treasury designated Faisal Jassim Mohammed al-Amri Al-Khalidi (Al-Khalidi), Yisra Muhammad Ibrahim Bayumi (Bayumi), and Abu Bakr Muhammad Ghumayn (Ghumayn) as Specially Designated Terrorists for acting for or on behalf of al Qaeda.’
Yet, many in the U.S. news media failed to report the recent Treasury designation of the al Qaeda terrorists in Iran. This is perhaps all the more remarkable as Tehran’s support of al Qaeda is not new and has been noted — if infrequently — by some press and policymakers.’ [and]
Associated Press reporters Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo noted in a May 12, 2010 article that the CIA had even developed a program, code-named RIGOR, to monitor al Qaeda members in Iran. However, as terror analyst Thomas Joscelyn bemoaned in a Weekly Standard article at the time, ‘Al Qaeda’s network in Iran is one of the most underreported aspects of the international terror networks.’”
In 2011 The New York Times covered a lawsuit against Iran for damages related to 9-11-2001.
On Thursday, the US House Financial Services Committee chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) “raised serious questions Thursday about the Obama Administration’s $1.7 billion in cash payments to Iran during a hearing of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.” A press release about the hearing noted Obama officials did not want to participate, and did so only after being “threatened with subpoena.” The same release asked, “Why did it take a Wall Street Journal expose to bring the true nature of this transaction to our attention?”
Mark Dubowitz, executive director of FDD, painted an even murkier picture, saying, “’The worst case scenario here is that Iran may have received as much as $33.6 billion in cash or in gold and other precious metals’ between 2014 and 2016.” Dubowitz’s claims are partly confirmed by reportage from the Associated Press.
As Clinton and Trump head into the home stretch for the presidential election in November, American voters should demand more information about why Democrats controlling the executive branch decided to empower a regime whose horrific record on human rights and terrorism is indisputable.
Trump adviser Phares had predicted the Arab Spring and he also predicted what would happen if the US failed to address it properly. In Phares’ book The Lost Spring (2014), he wrote:
“As we look around the Middle East since the explosion of what was called the Arab Spring, we see a transfigured region, with fewer secular dictators but with new authoritarian powers that are more totalitarian in nature, reminding us of the transition from empires to fascist states in the Europe of the 1930s…In addition to Islamists dominating country after country, civil war continues to rage in Syria, terror strikes in Iraq and Lebanon, and civil strife spreads across North Africa and parts of Arabia.” [pg. 3]
This, then, is the legacy of Mrs. Clinton as secretary of state and the president she served. It is impossible to make the case the secretive Obama administration has managed foreign policy to benefit the US.
Former government officials who served Republican presidents but are supporting Mrs. Clinton apparently approve of catastrophic failures in foreign policy related to a country long a self-declared enemy of the United States.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Sept. 9, 2016)
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