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Trump on Iran: ‘I have decided’ but his administration is in turmoil

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President Trump told reporters Wednesday “I have decided,” repeating the words three times, when asked about his intentions regarding decertification of the Iran deal.

While the president may have decided, his administration is in turmoil over the deal, with a very public row between UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Tillerson wants to preserve the deal, while Haley wants to kill it. Tillerson is also a bit sensitive over what he perceives as Haley’s “auditioning for his job.”

Gen. John Hyuten, commander of USSTRATCOM, said that Iran is in technical compliance with the deal, but preparing missiles in a way that violates its spirit.

With competing voices on both sides, who really knows what Trump has decided, if he’s actually decided anything at all yet.

Meanwhile, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani pulled out the apology card. He should be glad Trump didn’t give him a nickname like he did with “Rocket Man” Kim. If anything sways Trump to kill the Iran deal, Rouhani demanding an apology could factor large in the decision.

Perspectives

How Trump can pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement | Tom DiChristopher, CNBC

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/20/how-trump-can-pull-out-of-the-iran-nuclear-agreement.htmlRenewed sanctions on Iran’s energy sector could cut off its oil supplies, potentially boosting oil prices. That would bolster earnings for oil companies, but raise energy costs for consumers and businesses.

European oil majors seeking to jointly develop Iran’s oil and natural gas fields, such as France’s Total, might also retrench. Boeing, which is allowed to sell aircraft to Iran under the deal, would potentially drop plans to deliver planes to the national air carrier.

 

Top Trump General: Iran’s Complying With The Agreement. Trump Should Kill The Deal Anyway. | Ben Shapiro, Daily Wire

http://www.dailywire.com/news/21353/top-trump-general-irans-complying-agreement-trump-ben-shapiroIn this case, the experts are not only wrong on the facts, but they are also looking at the situation through the wrong end of the telescope. For all of his faults, Trump’s instinctive desire to end the nuclear deal is more reality-based than the arguments of his critics. He should stop listening to them and begin the process of decertifying the nuclear agreement.

Iran is following the pattern of North Korea and moving full speed ahead with its program of regional domination, to be capped with the legal development of a nuclear weapon. This much is obvious. And they know that the only possibility of retaining power is to avoid ticking off the United States, then going nuclear at the first available opportunity; that’s why North Korea is still run by the Kim family.

Tillerson, Haley Clash Over Iran Nuclear Deal | Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/tillerson-haley-clash-iran-nuclear-deal/Haley “thinks that [Tillerson is] trying to undermine the president and preserve Obama’s Iran legacy, which is true,” explained the source, who would only discuss the sensitive matter on background. “He thinks she’s running her own foreign policy and auditioning for his job, which is also true.”

These tensions have “spilled into the open” several times “over the last few weeks,” but were quickly dispelled in order to promote a public face of unity within the Trump administration, according to the source and others who spoke to the Free Beacon.

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Final Thoughts

Trump has a tendency to tell reporters he’s decided things without having actually decided them. So it’s possible we won’t know until October when it’s time to certify the deal again. I don’t see how Iran could be made to comply any better than they are, since it’s their intention to do as little as possible but make things look technically in compliance. Either Trump will tear up the deal, which he campaigned on doing, or we will all be doing this dance again at Christmastime.

Better to get it over with if the president is every going to do it.

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Economy

Nearly $5 billion being sent to Mexico while border wall languishes in political hell

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Nearly 5 billion being sent to Mexico while border wall languishes in political hell

Talk about adding insult to injury. Not only are we nowhere nearer to getting the wall built on our southern border, but now taxpayer dollars are actually being sent to Mexico to fund development.

This is not a joke, though it’s actually pretty funny.

Today, we learned the White House may be backing down on shutting down the government to get Congress to fund the down payment on the border wall.

Is the White House backing down on the government shutdown?

http://noqreport.com/2018/12/18/white-house-backing-government-shutdown/The White House seems to be in damage-control mode as it shifts from claiming the President will shut down the government if he doesn’t get $5 billion in wall funding to now saying the President could find other ways to get the money for the border wall if DHS budget isn’t sufficient.

This is a clear departure from the bold words during last week’s public standoff between the President and his friends on the Democratic side, Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Nancy Pelosi. At that point, the President was willing to “carry the mantle” of “Trump’s Shutdown” if he didn’t get a CR that included $5 billion for DHS.

Now we’re learning that the United States is sending over $10 billion to Central America and southern Mexico in an aid package designed to stimulate economic growth in the impoverished region, including $4.8 billion to Mexico.

US pledges $10.6B aid for Central America, southern Mexico

http://noqreport.com/2018/12/18/us-pledges-10-6b-aid-central-america-southern-mexico/The plan was announced in a joint U.S.-Mexican statement released by the State Department and read aloud by Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard in the Mexican capital.

“In sum I think this is good news, very good news for Mexico,” Ebrard said.

Newly inaugurated President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador waxed poetic about the plan to provide jobs so people won’t have to emigrate.

I wasn’t one of those who fell for the idea that the President was going to get Mexico to pay for the border wall, but I never thought I’d see the wall languishing in political hell while we’re sending nearly the exact amount needed to start the wall to Mexico instead. This isn’t the type of change we were promised. This isn’t draining the swamp.

Drudge encapsulated it perfectly with their current top headlines.

Drudge Report

Whether this is some sort of poetic justice against those who thought things would be different or a cruel joke on the nation, one thing is certain. We’re not seeing the progress on stopping illegal immigration that we were promised. Not even close.

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Foreign Affairs

Sens. Cotton, Cruz to introduce resolution recognizing Israeli sovereignty of Golan Heights

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Sens Cotton Cruz to introduce resolution recognizing Israeli sovereignty of Golan Heights

“Israel gained possession over the Golan Heights in a defensive war over 50 years ago and has responsibly controlled the area ever since,” stated Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas). “It’s past time for the United States to recognize reality by affirming Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.”

 Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) are planning to introduce a Senate resolution on Tuesday urging the United States to formally recognize Israeli control of the Golan Heights.

Jewish Insider first reported this development.

The outlet reported that the resolution states that “Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights is critical to Israel’s national security,” and that “Israel’s security from attack from Syria and Lebanon cannot be assured without Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.”

“It is in the United States’ national security interest to ensure that the [Bashar] Assad regime faces diplomatic and geopolitical consequences for the killing of civilians, the ethnic cleansing of Syrian Sunnis and the use of weapons of mass destruction,” it adds.

“Israel’s northern border is threatened by Iranian forces and their proxies in Lebanon and Syria, including Hezbollah’s 150,000 rockets, armed drones, newly discovered terror tunnels and more,” said Cruz and Cotton in a joint statement released by their offices. “Meanwhile, with the Ayatollahs’ help, Bashar al-Assad’s regime is on the verge of securing victory in Syria’s civil war. He may soon turn his attention back to threatening the Jewish state.”

“Israel gained possession over the Golan Heights in a defensive war over 50 years ago and has responsibly controlled the area ever since,” they added. “It’s past time for the United States to recognize reality by affirming Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.”

“Protecting the Syrian interest on the Golan Heights means protecting the Iranian interest,” former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Dore Gold told JNS. “Does anyone seriously want to do that? Besides the Golan has been in Israeli hands many more years than it was in Syrian hands. The time to recognize our sovereignty has come.”

Groups such as the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) have advocated for this U.S. acknowledgment.

“U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights is an issue that is critical to the national security interests of the United States of America,” EMET founder and president Sarah Stern told JNS. “Largely because of President [Barack] Obama’s failure to enforce his red lines, Syria has become a failed state, and because of this vacuum that has been left over by the previous administration, Iranian, Russian and Turkish forces have swooped in to fill the void.”

“U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan is particularly important because Iranian backed forces, including the IRGC and Hezbollah, are attempting to dominate the region and form a land bridge from Tehran all the way to the Mediterranean Sea,” she continued. “By having American recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, we are sending a strong message to Tehran that their hegemonic aspirations must not go on unchallenged.”

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee has not taken a position on the resolution, “but given current political and security circumstances in Syria, it is inconceivable to imagine Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights,” a spokesperson told JNS.

However, Washington-based geopolitical strategist and diplomacy consultant John Sitilides told JNS that this move is unnecessary considering Israel’s control of the Golan and the backlash Israel could receive were there to be such a recognition.

“Israel has been skillfully capable of controlling the Golan and defending its own national sovereignty and recognized borders, even against terror organizations and nation-states, without annexing the region,” he said. “Optimally, any change of sovereign borders in the aftermath of war and military occupation should involve and be approved by the disputing nations. This is an ill-timed and unproductive measure that may compel Israel’s closest Western allies to forsake it for the sake of international law and treaties.”

But according to Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, “U.S. recognition of Israel’s claims to the Golan is a recognition of reality.”

“In this sense, the move is long overdue,” he told JNS. “The Israelis will no longer consider ceding control of the Golan Heights to Syria now that the country effectively ceases to exist. Indeed, Israelis today cringe at the notion that their government might have made a deal with Bashar al-Assad.”

Nonetheless, he cautioned about possible negative ramifications behind a possible move by the United States, saying “after the United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, after it undermined the UNRWA narrative, and perhaps now, recognizing the Golan, Israel could be asked to acknowledge all that it has received and show flexibility to accommodate Trump’s peace plan. From the Israeli perspective, this could be the only real downside of a possible Golan move on the part of the administration.”

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Foreign Affairs

The United Nations only opposes terrorism if it’s not directed towards Israel

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The United Nations only opposes terrorism if its not directed towards Israel

The hypocrisy and lunacy of the United Nations was made crystal clear today. Despite receiving a majority of votes on a resolution to condemn Hamas for their terrorist and military attacks on Israel, the 2/3 threshold was not met. The resolution will not be adopted.

By doing this, the U.N. has officially accepted terrorism as an acceptable means of dealing with the nation of Israel. Most nations do not agree, but as a governing body they have made their choice. More importantly, we are now aware of which nations support Hamas despite their heinous acts against the Jewish state.

The U.S. Mission to the U.N. laid down the stakes just prior to the vote.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley gave a speech that resonated with enough nations to bring about the simple majority. This is an accomplishment even if the resolution ultimately failed.

My Take

This is a good thing for Israel. One can argue it’s even better than had the resolution passed. United Nations resolutions are about as worthless as a press release. But seeing the United Nations being unwilling as a group to condemn the undisputed terrorist and military activities perpetrated by Hamas against Israel helps take away the governing body’s waning credibility.

We know who is more fair than others towards Israel. The European Union, for example, has been outspoken in their condemnation of many of Israel’s actions. But they voted as a unified block to condemn Hamas. This is a sign of hope that alerts Israel and the United States that the anti-Israel bias at the U.N. isn’t absolute. Some are willing to be at least a little more fair than usual.

Hamas is a terrorist organization. Its nature, stated goals, and actions have proven this beyond a shadow of a doubt. The fact the U.N. will not condemn them after condemning everything Israel does is a clear indicator the organization is corrupt.

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