» Claudia Rosett

Claudia Rosett

Claudia Rosett is journalist-in-residence with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and heads its Investigative Reporting Project. She is widely recognized as a ground-breaking reporter on corruption at the United Nations. Her investigative reporting skills, drawn from three decades as a journalist and editor writing on international affairs, led her to expose the U.N. Oil-for-Food scandal, the worst financial fraud in the history of humanitarian relief. Due in substantial part to her investigation, the U.S. House and Senate launched inquiries into the program. Ms. Rosett has appeared before five U.S. House and Senate Committees and Subcommittees to testify on U.N.-related corruption. Her work on Oil-for-Food earned Claudia the 2005 Eric Breindel Award and the Mightier Pen award.

Israel at the UN: Deafening Silence, and a Feckless U.S. Absence

When Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on Thursday to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, America’s ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, was not there. Neither was Secretary of State John Kerry. Though both Kerry and Power were in New York.

Representation of the U.S. was left to a lineup of lesser State Department eminences.

This petty behavior could only have come with the blessing and at the orders of America’s top boss, and it was a gross insult, from the president of the United States to the nation of Israel. That does not represent the broad view of the American public, nor does it represent the support for Israel in Congress — where Netanyahu’s speech earlier this year warning about the Iran nuclear deal was received by the majority of lawmakers as the important and dire warning it was, but dismissed by Obama as “nothing new.” It suggests what Elliot Abrams neatly sums up in an article on this latest destructive U.S. snub of a vital ally: “The Obama Vendetta Against Netanyahu.

Speaking onstage was the elected leader of America’s chief ally in the Middle East, a democratic nation surrounded by growing tumult and terror unleashed as America, under President Obama, has shrugged off its role as leader of the Free World. Surrendering the hard won gains in Iraq,  grossly under-estimating the rise of ISIS, cutting a ruinously farcical nuclear deal that enriches and empowers the terror-sponsoring theocracy of Iran, leading from behind in Libya and then ceding the field entirely to terror and chaos, and in Syria, erasing Obama’s “red line” and opening the gates through which Russia, arm-in-arm with Iran, is making its advance into the Middle East, with boots on the ground and air strikes this week, not against ISIS but against U.S.-backed fighters.

Where were America’s top diplomats, Kerry and Power, who without question should have done anything — even walk through New York’s UN gridlock — to be present at Netanyahu’s speech? Breitbart News reports that they were pulled away for a video conference with Obama. A muddle of timing, no doubt.

What appears at the UN to be a petty diplomatic contretemps will be read in places such as Moscow and Tehran, and by Iran-backed terrorists such as Hezbollah, as a further signal that this is open season on the Free World, especially its front line states, and above all, Israel. Time was when Obama was criticized for chronically voting merely as “present.” By now, this has become, in effect, a policy of voting absent in one world crisis after another.

Posted at 10:27 am on October 2nd, 2015 by Claudia Rosett

Obama’s Talk and Putin’s Blitz: A Russian Middle East Coup in Three Acts

In New York, the United Nations is still lumbering through its Sept. 28th – Oct. 3 general debate. But even with today’s declaration by aging potentate Mahmoud Abbas that the Palestinian Authority will no longer respect the Oslo Accords (did they ever?) the headlines are elsewhere. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin not only stole the UN show, but in Syria — and beyond — is stealing a march on President Obama that makes the current world scene look ever more like the disastrous penultimate year of Jimmy Carter’s presidency. That 1979 run of debacles opened with Iran’s Islamic Revolution, and rolled on to the Soviet Union’s December invasion of Afghanistan — lighting the fuel under the cauldron whence sprang, in due course, a great many horrors, including the Sept. 11, 2001 al Qaeda attacks on the United States.

Obama’s presidency still has more than a year to run (477 days, to be precise), and after more than six years of U.S. global retreat, as we toil through this fourth quarter of “interesting stuff,” trouble is spreading even faster than it did in the Carter era. The threats now rising like a tsunami on the horizon are, arguably, worse.

But let’s focus here on Russia. This week, President Putin has delivered not only a blitz in Syria, but a grand slam on the world stage. Call it a play in three acts.

Act I: Monday, Sept. 28th, at the UN General Assembly in  New York. Obama delivers his annual speech, repeating the message of his first presidential address to the UN in 2009 — in which he effectively served notice that under his command, America was abdicating, to the international collective, its longtime leadership of the Free World. This year, arriving with the feckless UN-approved Iran nuclear deal in his pocket, and lamenting both the ills of dictatorship and the frustrations of democracy, Obama tells the assembled eminences at the UN that he believes in his core “that we, the nations of the world, cannot return to the old ways of conflict and coercion.” He adds, “We cannot look backwards.” (“Oh, yes we can,” editorializes The Wall Street Journal, noting that “even as he concedes the growing world disorder, Mr. Obama still won’t admit that his policy of American retreat has created a vacuum for rogues to fill.”)

On Syria (“nowhere is our commitment to international order more tested,” Obama tells the UN), he says the U.S. “is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict.” He stipulates there must be a “managed transition” to an “inclusive government.” ISIL must be “ultimately” stamped out, and Syrian dictator Bashar Assad must go.

Note: Obama has been saying since 2011 that Assad must go, and if he has a strategy behind this, it is one that for more than four years now has failed to prevent Assad’s use of chemical weapons, the presence of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Syria, the rise and spread of ISIS, the deaths of more than 200,000 people in Syria’s civil war, the flight of millions of Syrian refugees, and growing tumult in the region. (Though the U.S. at massive cost, in the quest to have Syrians find their own resolution to this conflict, has managed to stand up four, or five, or nine U.S.-trained Syrian fighters inside Syria).

Then Putin takes the podium, and delivers Russia’s views to the UN Assembly. Usually he leaves this annual chore to his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov. But this year Putin has seized on the UN’s 70th anniversary festivities to come in person. He gives his own account of history, apparently quite willing to revisit old arguments, and tells the UN that in Syria, Assad must stay.

Act II. Tuesday, Sept. 29th, at the UN in New York. Obama continues appealing to the collective. He convenes a “Leaders’ Summit on Countering ISIL and Violent extremism.” In his opening remarks, he welcomes the “representatives from more than 100 nations, more than 20 multilateral institutions, some 120 civil society groups from around the world, and partners from the private sector.” He reminds them that a year ago he gave them some homework: he challenged countries to return to the General Assembly this year “with concrete steps that we can take together.” This year he is convinced that “what we have here today is the emergence of a global movement that is united by the mission of degrading and ultimately destroying ISIL.”  Together, he tells them, “we’re pursuing a comprehensive strategy… .” He repeats his desire for a new leader in Syria, “an inclusive government… . This is going to be a complex process.” Part way through the meeting Obama turns over the chair to Vice President Joe Biden.

Putin does not attend this summit at which scores of leaders are talking about the complex process. He has left the UN to return to Moscow.

Posted at 10:03 pm on September 30th, 2015 by Claudia Rosett

Audacity of Opacity: Anonymous State Department Official Stresses Commitment to Transparency

The State Department has made a number of pledges of transparency lately. What’s mainly clear so far is that these pledges don’t actually translate into much in the way of … well, transparency.

In my previous post, that observation applied to State’s appointment of a “Transparency Coordinator,” a move apparently meant to cope with the rigors of officially revisiting Hillary Clinton’s emails. This time, the non-transparent pledge of transparency involves a State Department briefing on the Iran nuclear deal.

Some background on background briefings: One hallmark of the nuclear negotiating process , as the Iran talks dragged on for almost 17 months, past three extended deadlines, was the ritual of anonymous U.S. senior administration officials providing background briefings to the press. Of course the reporters on the scene were privy to who those officials were, but to be admitted to such briefings you must play by the rules — and the rules were that the public was not to be told who those officials actually were.

The tradeoff, the bargain struck, is that information is provided on condition of anonymity for the person doing the briefing. Only generic identification is given, for instance: “a senior administration official.” When the stories are written up, the public can guess who that might be, but there is no confirmation. It is the generic “administration” that has spoken.

The result of such rituals is that while the reporters emerge with an official account, the official, or officials, who gave it to them are less accountable than if their names were attached to their remarks. No individual official can be held directly responsible for what was said. Instead, it is the disembodied voice of officialdom that has spoken.

To be clear, that’s not unusual in diplomatic settings. It’s routine practice, when a reporter conducts a one-on-one interview with a diplomat, that the interview is on background, attributed to a spokesperson, an official, or some such generic label. For press briefings in the thick of the nuclear negotiations, perhaps it was at times defensible to keep things on background, so the American negotiating team could more easily coordinate its approach — though even there, I’d argue that more of the remarks to the press should have been made on the record, attributable to the officials who made them.

But surely by now the time for real transparency and clear attribution has not only arrived — it is way overdue. Accountability at every step of the interpretation, implementation and monitoring of this deal ought to be a top priority, not least for an administration that has been telling the public to put its trust in a terrible bargain.

Posted at 1:28 am on September 19th, 2015 by Claudia Rosett

State of Self-Parody: History’s ‘Most Transparent Administration’ Appoints a ‘Transparency Coordinator’

More than six years after President Obama took office promising the most transparent administration in history, we have now arrived at the moment when the State Department appoints a “Transparency Coordinator.”

Not a moment too soon, one might suppose. Perhaps the Transparency Coordinator’s first assignment should be to bring more transparency to her own job description. News of the post came by way of a press release from Secretary of State John Kerry, in which Kerry noted a dramatic increase in requests for information from State, but mentioned not a word about the over-the-top administration secrecy that has provoked so many of these requests. Kerry said he was “pleased to announce the appointment of Ambassador Janice Jacobs as the State Department’s Transparency Coordinator, charged with improving document preservation and transparency systems.”

What might that mean in practice? Go figure. Like Obama in 2009, Kerry went on for a couple of paragraphs about “our commitment to transparency” and how he wants the Department to “lead on these issues,” and “set and achieve a new standard,” and “harness new technological tools,” and “think boldly and creatively” and “fundamentally improve our ability to respond to requests for our records.”

How all that committing and leading and thinking and improving might translate in the nitty-gritty real world into State divulging a single additional scrap of information to which Congress or the public is entitled, well, that remains… nontransparent.

Since Kerry offered not a word of explanation for the rising number of requests for information from State, let us fill in a few blanks.

Posted at 6:35 pm on September 8th, 2015 by Claudia Rosett

Inspector General Slams Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy’s Embassy as Amateur Hour

When President Obama nominated Caroline Kennedy in 2013 to serve as America’s ambassador to Japan, there were those who had their misgivings. On the celebrity social circuit, Kennedy knows her game — daughter of the lionized JFK, enthusiastic supporter of Obama, and guest earlier this month of the Obama family at their summer holiday enclave on Martha’s Vineyard.

But Kennedy came to her ambassador’s post with no foreign policy experience, no particular background in Japan or Asia generally, and apparently not much skill at running the $93.6 million-per-year operation that is the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.

This embassy is one of America’s most important outposts, representing American interests to a strategically vital democratic ally and economic partner in an increasingly troubled region. Japan faces a militarizing, expansionist, and economically roiled China, an aggressively rearming Russia, and a nuclear-arming North Korea.

But almost two years into Kennedy’s ambassadorship, the U.S. Embassy in Japan is a mess.

We are learning this from the report “Inspection of Embassy Tokyo, Japan“, just released by the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General.

To be fair, the report gives Kennedy good scores for ethics, noting that the Ambassador has “made clear” that “she wants all her activities to be conducted in accordance with U.S. government regulations.” Though it’s far from clear that this message has translated into practice. The report lists numerous problems of waste and mismanagement, including one that sounds especially intriguing in view of the controversy surrounding former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email practices. (Boldface is mine):

 OIG’s Office of Evaluations and Special Projects conducted a review and confirmed that senior embassy staff, including the Ambassador, used personal email accounts to send and receive messages containing official business. In addition, OIG identified instances where emails labeled Sensitive but Unclassified were sent from, or received by, personal email accounts.

There’s a lot more, including:

 ”Living Quarters Allowance Not in Compliance with the Foreign Affairs Manual”

“Actual lodging cost not properly justified”

“Premium Class Train Tavel Policy Does Not Comply With Department Regulation”

“Extra Travel Costs Inappropriately Approved for Using Indirect Routes”

“Employee Evaluation Reports do not Reflect Demonstrated Weakness”

Posted at 11:06 am on August 25th, 2015 by Claudia Rosett

Obama and the Iran Nuclear Veil: Covering Up Iran Nuclear Weapons Cooperation with North Korea?

In less than a month, Congress will vote on the Iran nuclear deal. It’s a terrible deal, in all its sanctions-melting, cash-bestowing, arms-and-missile-embargo-lifting, nuclear-enrichment-approving and self-sunsetting capitulation to Iran.

It’s even worse for having been rushed by the Obama administration to the United Nations Security Council for approval on July 20th, just six days after it was announced, and one day after the Obama administration officially transmitted a copy to Congress. And it’s worse still for relying on secret side deals between Iran and the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency to handle inspections pertaining to Iran’s past work on nuclear weapons — the “possible military dimensions.”

And still it gets worse, the latest bombshell being the news this past week from the Associated Press that according to leaked information on one of these secret side deals, the IAEA has agreed to let Iran carry out its own sampling for inspections of its past nuclear weapons work at the Parchin military site. As an AP story sums it up, the agreement “will let the Iranians themselves look for signs of the very activity they deny — past work on nuclear weapons.”

There’s now a kerfuffle over whether the leaked document reproduced by the AP is the real McCoy, and even if it is, whether this arrangement is as appalling as it sounds (I’d say yes), or whether, as the IAEA contends, letting Iran do its own sampling is reasonable.

But here’s one bottom line that’s beyond dispute: Despite earlier promises to share the full deal with Congress, the Obama administration has been defending these secret side deals as entirely reasonable and reliable: nothing to see here, it’s all yesterday’s news, the IAEA will take care of things, just move along.

Not that Obama administration officials believe Iran’s claims to have done no work on nuclear weapons. This June, Secretary of State John Kerry told the press, “We know what they did. We have no doubt. We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in.” But Kerry mentioned this in the course of arguing that there was no need to be “fixated” on obtaining an accounting from Iran. Nor did he provide any specifics of that “absolute knowledge.”

Actually, there are very good reasons for being fixated on a full and transparent accounting. These reasons go well beyond the technical needs of nuclear inspectors, who must know the past in order to establish a baseline.

A big question, which has not figured in the debate over these secret side deals — though it certainly should — is whether Iran’s past work on nuclear weapons was done in cahoots with any other countries. For instance, the rogue nuclear-proliferating tyranny of North Korea.

If Kerry and the rest of the Obama administration know of any such nuclear cooperation between North Korea and Iran, they have not officially shared this information with the public. Any such confirmation would be, in itself, a blockbuster piece of news — raising huge questions about Iran’s potential use of North Korea’s lively nuclear production and test facilities as a back shop for the Iranian nuclear weapons program that under this deal Tehran is supposed to be giving up.

Posted at 10:05 am on August 22nd, 2015 by Claudia Rosett

A New Low? UN Report Suggests Israel Caused Gaza’s Rising Infant Death Rate, Doesn’t Mention Hamas

File this one under “UN Sleaze,” or perhaps under “UNRWA’s Use of Dead Infants to Defend and Abet Terrorists.” Though even that may be putting it too mildly.

In the run-up to next month’s annual opening of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the latest Israel-trashing report from the propaganda mills of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has been released. This one’s a doozy, summed up by an UNRWA press release dated August 8 with the headline: “INFANT MORTALITY RATE RISES IN GAZA FOR THE FIRST TIME IN FIFTY YEARS.”

This is the finding of an UNRWA-conducted study. In the opening sentence, the press release points a finger at — where else? — Israel, saying “the Agency’s Health Director says the blockade may be contributing to the trend.”

The UNRWA press release says that UNRWA carries out a survey of infant mortality rates across the region every five years. The most recent results, for 2013, were released last week. For decades, according to UNRWA’s surveys, the infant mortality rates in Gaza had been declining, but that has now reversed.

Since the last survey in 2008, the number of babies dying before the age of one has risen to 22.4 per 1,000 live births in 2013 from 20.2 in 2008. The UNRWA survey found an even worse trend for neonatal mortality — the number of babies dying before the age of four weeks. This rate, by UNRWA’s estimate, has risen to 20.3 per 1,000 live births from 12. According to the director of the UNRWA health program, Dr. Akihiro Seita, such a rise is “unprecedented.”

So, why might this be happening? The UNRWA press release quotes Dr. Seita musing:

It is hard to know the exact cause.

However, that does not stop Dr. Seita from speculating:

We are very concerned about the impact of the long-term blockade on health facilities, supplies of medicine and bringing equipment into Gaza.

The same message, complete with that same quote, is repeated in a press release put out on August 15 by the UN headquarters in New York.

What’s wrong with this picture? Was there, perhaps, some over-arching development, unmentioned by UNRWA, that shaped events in Gaza during the interval in question, 2008-2013?

Here’s a one-word answer, which does not appear anywhere in either the UN press releases or in the underlying UNRWA report: “Hamas.” Or, to put it in the all-caps style of the UNRWA press release, where it should have figured in the headline, but did not: “HAMAS.”

Yes, the Palestinian terrorist organization which since 2007 has ruled Gaza.

Assume that UNRWA’s infant mortality statistics for Gaza are remotely reliable: for decades — while UNRWA deplored Israel’s presence in Gaza — infant mortality rates in the enclave were declining. Then, in 2005, Israel withdrew.

In Gaza’s elections in 2006, Hamas won a legislative majority. In June 2007 in a bloody coup, Hamas evicted the rival Fatah forces of the Palestinian Authority. Since then, Gaza has been under the boot of Hamas.

Shortly after Hamas took complete control in Gaza, UNRWA conducted its 2008 survey.

At that stage, compared to surveys done some years earlier, the long-term trend was a significant decline in infant mortality. According to UNRWA’s numbers, infant mortality in the Gaza Strip had declined from 127 deaths per live births in 1960 to 82 in 1967, then to 33 in 1995, and to 20.2 in 2008. But after five years of Hamas control, UNRWA found that infant mortality rates were rising for the first time in a half-century.

Again, UNRWA made no mention at all of Hamas.

Surely, if UNRWA is genuinely concerned about infant mortality in Gaza, then honesty is needed in considering the real causes of these infant deaths, and in mentioning that the uptick has occurred under Hamas. But UNRWA appears less interested in the lives of these babies than in stitching together a report that is willfully oblivious to the derelictions and depravities of Hamas, and is instead larded with insinuations that can be used to damage Israel.

Posted at 1:54 am on August 17th, 2015 by Claudia Rosett

Courtesy of Obama’s Nuclear Deal: Iranians Visiting a Nuclear Plant Near You?

It’s almost a month since the Iran nuclear talks brought forth the July 14th deal in Vienna — a.k.a. the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. Since then a multitude of articles and congressional hearings have exposed major fatal flaws in this deal. Yet, so bad is this agreement that you can flip almost randomly to any page, and find yet more problems. It’s a multi-dimensional catastrophe. The more you examine it, the worse it gets.

For instance, you probably haven’t heard much about Annex III, Section D, which carries the benign-sounding heading of “Nuclear Safety, Safeguards and Security,” and elaborates in item 8 on how America and its partners will tutor Iran in “nuclear safety culture and best practices.” Why, what could be wrong with that?

Plenty, and I’ll get to it shortly. But for background, let us first home in on the inconvenient fact that Iran is still the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism — from its support for Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, to its help and cover for al Qaeda, to its global networks with their long bloody trails through such places as Argentina and Bulgaria, to the thwarted plot in 2011 to blow up the Saudi ambassador to Washington in a popular Georgetown restaurant — collateral damage no object. During the nuclear talks last year, Israeli commandos boarded a freighter in the Red Sea, the Klos C, and seized an illicit  cargo of weapons that had been loaded in the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, and then hidden under bags of cement. For a further sampling of Iran’s enterprising support of terrorist networks and activities, here’s a link to the State Department’s latest report, finally released this June, after a record-setting delay.

One of the much-discussed failings of the Iran nuclear deal is that it translates into a gusher of oil revenues for the Tehran regime, ergo a lot more money that can be lavished on Iran’s terror networks, terror mascots and terror reach. Iran gets the initial windfall of unfrozen oil revenues — anywhere from $50 billion to $100 billion or more, depending on whose arithmetic you prefer — followed by billions more at the margin as sanctions are lifted and Iran, freed of the inconvenience of having to smuggle and operate global webs of illicit front companies, enjoys access to world markets. Even before the arms embargo is lifted in five years under this deal, and the missile embargo is lifted in eight, Iran should have an easier time funding terror and smuggling weapons, as the sanctions come off its shipping fleets, air transport, banking and so forth.

Obama administration officials have been justifying these arrangements on grounds that their first priority — the blinkered aim of this deal — is to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program is “exclusively peaceful.” On that premise, in this Iran deal, they propose to endow Iran with training in running a modern “exclusively peaceful” nuclear infrastructure.

Now let us return to the substance of the JCPOA — a.k.a. the Iran nuclear deal — Annex III, Section D, item 8, pages 4-5 of this annex.

Posted at 11:13 pm on August 7th, 2015 by Claudia Rosett

The Iran Nuclear Deal From Hell, and UN Ambassador Samantha Power in the Age of Genocide

Thirteen years ago, Samantha Power made a name for herself with her Pulitzer prize-winning book, “‘A Problem from Hell’: America and the Age of Genocide.” In this book, she explored the history of America’s reluctance to intervene to stop or prevent genocides. Prescribing American intervention as justified on grounds both “moral” and in service of “enlightened self-interest,” Power asked how something so clear in retrospect as the need to stop genocide could “become so muddled at the time by rationalization, institutional constraints, and a lack of imagination.”

It appears that on Monday morning, Power herself is going to demonstrate exactly how such muddling takes place.

Power is now President Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations. On Monday morning, the UN Security Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution endorsing the Iran nuclear deal announced July 14 in Vienna, and adopting the terms of this deal, including the lifting of UN sanctions on Iran, sunset clauses for the main restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities, and so forth.  This deal, a byzantine tome officially titled the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is a gift to Iran’s terror-sponsoring tyranny, crammed with concessions offered up by Secretary of State John Kerry and lead negotiator Under Secretary Wendy Sherman, in their desperate quest to satisfy President Obama’s desire for an agreement with Tehran. Columnist Charles Krauthammer sums up some of the worst of it in his latest column: “Worse than we could have imagined.” Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday warned yet again that this agreement “paves Iran’s way to arm itself with nuclear weapons within a decade, if Iran decides to honor the agreement, and before then if it decides to violate it, as it usually does.”

By law, Congress gets 60 days to review this deal. But Obama is not waiting for Congress before taking it to the UN Security Council.  Protests from Congress notwithstanding, the U.S. began circulating a draft UN resolution as soon as the deal was announced last week. When negotiator Wendy Sherman was asked at a press briefing last Thursday whether the administration might hold off on a UN resolution long enough to give Congress its promised say, Sherman dismissed the idea — putting the UN ahead of  the elected representatives of the American people.  Here’s how Sherman put it:

UNDER SECRETARY SHERMAN: Well, the way that the UN Security Council resolution is structured, there is an interim period of 60 to 90 days that I think will accommodate the congressional review. And it would have been a little difficult when all of the members of the P5+1 wanted to go to the United Nations to get an endorsement of this since it is a product of the United Nations process, for us to say, “Well, excuse me, the world, you should wait for the United States Congress.”

As the New York Sun responded, in a terrific editorial, why the blazes shouldn’t the UN wait on the U.S. Congress? It’s time Sherman got a reminder that she works for the U.S., not the UN.

As it is, the UN Security Council will vote on a resolution which its members have had a chance to read, but the Obama administration has not deigned to share the draft with the American public. Instead, for a window on what kind of Iran nuclear project our tax dollars will be bankrolling at the UN, we can be grateful to UN reporter Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press, who got hold of a leaked copy of the draft resolution, crammed in all its convoluted complexity with concessions to Iran,  which he has posted online.

Presumably Power will be the diplomat occupying the U.S. seat on the Security Council when this resolution is taken up for adoption (Kerry will be busy on Monday welcoming Cuba’s foreign minister to Washington, and it looks like Sherman will be busy further pressuring Congress). This is a resolution that represents an end-run around the U.S. Congress, to enshrine at the UN a deal that delivers Iran multiple pathways to nuclear weapons, and starts by delivering to Iran some $100 billion in unfrozen oil revenues followed by market access to earn hundreds of billions more, under the approving gaze of a UN not known for enforcing complex deals meant to contain rogue tyrannies. This is a windfall for Iran’s nuclear ventures, terrorist ventures and ambitions of “Death to Israel” — which those concerned about genocide would be wise to take seriously. Given the weapons, including ballistic missiles, that this deal by year eight would permit Iran, it might even be a good idea to for American envoys to take seriously Iran’s threats of “Death to America.”

Posted at 9:10 pm on July 19th, 2015 by Claudia Rosett

Historic Iran Nuclear Deal Today, Even More Historic — and Terrible — Reckoning to Come

We are about to hear plenty of celebratory remarks about the “historic” Iran nuclear deal reached in Vienna.

For those inclined to celebrate, this is supposed to be the big payola, the grand finale of the diplomatic extravaganza that stretched on through half a dozen missed deadlines, across continents, with the American secretary of State finally parking himself for more than two solid weeks at the negotiating table in Vienna — determined to close a deal, whatever concessions that might take.

By President Obama’s calculus, this deal is supposed to mark the moment when the nuclear threat of Iran starts to seriously recede… a proposition akin to his claims in 2012 that the tide of war was receding.  Worse, actually, because we have here the makings of a nuclear arms race, not only in the Middle East, but likely to spill well beyond.

So, yes indeed, this deal is historic. It is historic in ways that, for instance, President Obama’s 2009 chairing of a United Nations Security Council meeting on freeing the world of nuclear weapons was not (does anyone even remember that UN summit? It was the first time an American  president had stooped to chair a meeting of the UN Security Council; it did absolutely nothing to stop nuclear proliferation).

This deal is an historic disaster. Not only does it legitimize Iran’s nuclear program, but it goes far to confer legitimacy on Iran’s regime — the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. For the U.S., it’s a variation of running up massive U.S. government debt, and leaving the next American president — as well as America’s people, and our allies — to face the real cost. Which in this case involves nuclear weapons.

Congress will now get its chance to weigh in. So will the UN Security Council. How those might mesh is a troubling question — we may soon learn more.

For the immediate big picture, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, gave a terrific speech on Monday on the Iran negotiations, addressing an organization called Christians United for Israel. He’s posted it, and it is worth reading in full. He makes a lot of vital points, including his observation that those most immediately endangered by Iran — Israel and America’s Arab allies — were not included at the bargaining table. (Russia and China were there, along with France, Britain, Germany and the U.S.).

There are so many flaws to this deal that even though Dermer lists them in brief, it’s a long list. I’ve culled out a few excerpts, on the next page (boldface mine, on an item that should be of particular interest even to the most tuned-out Americans) …

Posted at 2:05 am on July 14th, 2015 by Claudia Rosett