Iran

How Badly Has the U.S. Been Humiliated? Let’s Count the Ways [Updated]

Featured image Paul has offered thoughts on the release of the U.S. sailors, all of which I agree with. I want to add a few further observations. The day began with Joe Biden touting the president’s State of the Union speech on CBS. Near the end of his interview, he was asked about the seizure of American sailors by the Iranians (the sailors by then had been released) and specifically, whether there »

Thoughts on the release of the U.S. sailors

Featured image Iran today released U.S. sailors they took captive yesterday when, allegedly, their boats strayed into Iranian waters. Iran obtained a “thank you” from out of John Kerry on behalf of the Obama administration. It also sent out pictures of its U.S. captives in submissive positions, with a woman sailor covering her head in the Muslim way. I’m relieved that the sailors were released so quickly. It also seems to me »

How much do we tip the whipper?

Featured image The photo below depicts our sailors in the custody of Iran’s IRGC; I believe the image is taken from video just released by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Other photos are posted with this Reuters story that carries profuse expressions of gratitude by Obama administration officials. David French has more here. It is one thing for our sailors to be humiliated by a hostile power. It is another thing for »

Coming Soon: Gulf War III?

Featured image Concerning the contretemps between Saudi Arabia and Iran, a few observations: • David Goldman thinks Saudi Arabia’s execution of the Shite cleric Nimr al-Nimr and others is a sign of panic among Saudi leadership, and perhaps this is correct. On the other hand, the sacking of the Saudi embassy in Tehran can’t have taken place without the connivance or tacit approval of the Iranian regime (sounds familiar, doesn’t it?), who probably »

Middle East fires blaze hotter following U.S. capitulation to Iran

Featured image In a post about the Saudi Arabia/Iran crisis — the Saudi beheading of a Shiite cleric; the Iranian burning of the Saudi embassy — John asked, “the Middle East couldn’t possibly get worse, could it?” At NR’s Corner, David French examines the crisis and concludes “in the Middle East things can always get worse.” Things have indeed gotten worse under President Obama. They got worse when Obama withdrew from Iraq »

The mullahs thank Mr. Obama

Featured image Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal carries an incisive editorial (“The mullahs thank Mr. Obama,” accessible here via Google) on developments with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Every step along the way, Iran proves itself the mortal enemy of the United States, and yet President Obama thinks otherwise. Iranian intentions are clear. Their actions comport with their announced view of the world. When the mullahs chant “Death to America,” we have no »

The Middle East Couldn’t Possibly Get Worse. Could It?

Featured image The Sunni-Shia schism goes back more than a millenium and has been a more or less constant feature of geopolitics in the Middle East for a long time. The closest the balance has come to being upset within recent memory was the Iran-Iraq war, in which the United States sensibly did what we could to prevent either side from winning. Now, though, the long-simmering feud is heating up, primarily, I »

U.S. foreign policy: from bad to worse in 2016?

Featured image 2015 was a bad foreign policy year for America. Our enemies in Tehran won a pathway to prosperity and additional regional influence without losing the ability to obtain nuclear weapons within 10 to 15 years, or sooner if they choose. Our enemy in Moscow enjoyed an enormous expansion of his influence in the Middle East and continues to menace U.S. allies in Europe. Our enemy in Damascus, propped up by »

Elliott Abrams on spying on allies

Featured image At NR’s Corner, Elliott Abrams gives his take on the report that the Obama administration spied on the Israeli government. Abrams served for many years as a U.S. foreign policy official and is, of course, a leading pro-Israel advocate. Thus, his is a voice I wanted to hear on this potential scandal. Abrams believes there should be a strong presumption against spying on allies. He also believes that we should »

Report that NSA spying on Israel reached Congress raises abuse of power questions

Featured image Last night, I wrote about a Wall Street Journal report that the NSA spied on Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and members of his government, and that the spying included intercepting communications with members of Congress. I included in the post the Journal’s brief discussion of the rules that apply to U.S. surveillance that reaches such members. According to the Journal: A 2011 NSA directive said direct communications between foreign intelligence »

Report: Obama’s NSA spied on Israel, Congress, and Jewish Organizations

Featured image President Obama announced two years ago that he would stop eavesdropping on leaders of U.S. allies, after the world learned the reach of long-secret U.S. surveillance programs. According to The Wall Street Journal, this meant an end to spying on French President François Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and other North Atlantic Treaty Organization leaders. However, Israel apparently failed to make Obama’s list of true allies. The Journal reports that »

Obama’s latest effort to appease Iran

Featured image The Wall Street Journal reports that the Obama administration has advised the rulers of Iran not to worry about new U.S. legislation, signed into law by President Obama, that clamps visa restrictions on people who have traveled to Iran. The assurances came after Iranian officials publicly complained that the new law could dampen investment interest in their country. Here’s the background, as explained by The Tower. After the San Bernardino »

The Iran Deal: From Bad to Worse

Featured image The Iran nuclear deal has faded from the headlines. That must mean things are going well, right? Just kidding. Amir Taheri brings us up to date: Last month the president sent his Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to Vienna to twist the arm of International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano into issuing a favorable report on the state of the Iranian nuclear program. The yes-or-no question Amano faced was simple: »

Reading Jim Scanlan in Tehran

Featured image From time to time, I have directed the attention of Power Line readers to the work of James P. Scanlan. Specifically, I have linked to and discussed his analyses of disparate impact theory in various contexts involving allegations of discrimination. Years ago, Jim wrote a piece for the Midwest Quarterly on a very different subject — nuclear deterrence. It was called “Facing the Paradox of Deterrence.” The paradox Jim posited »

What manner of deal is this?

Featured image Rep. Mike Pompeo has elicited the letter below from the Department of State explaining the nature of the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran. What manner of deal is this? According to Assistant Secretary of State Julia (“If that really is your name”) Frifield, the deal is not a treaty. The deal is not an executive agreement. The deal is not even a document signed to represent the »

The Iran deal for dummies

Featured image MEMRI’s Yigal Carmon has what he calls a Daily Brief summarizing leading aspect of the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action among Iran, the United States and others regarding Iran’s nuclear program. It is a most peculiar deal. Carmon calls his summary “The emperor has no clothes.” John wrote about it here. Carmon’s exposition opens with these observations (footnotes omitted): What is mistakenly perceived as an agreement under the title of »

Iran attacks, cyber edition

Featured image Jay Solomon reports in today’s Wall Street Journal: “U.S. Detects Flurry of Iranian Hacking” (accessible via Google here). The Israel Project’s Omri Ceren takes note and comments in an email message (with the usual footnotes!) that I thought readers would find of interest: The WSJ revealed last night that there has been a “surge” in Iranian cyberattacks against U.S. officials, journalists, and activists who work on Iran. At least some »