February 1, 2016

Underwriting Terror

Or as Obama says, “leading the global fight against anti-Semitism.”

Last week in Washington, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Barack Obama delivered a speech during which he insisted the United States “is leading the global fight against anti-Semitism.” Nothing emphasized the hollowness of Obama’s rhetoric more than the reality that Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, marked that same anniversary with a Holocaust-denying video published on his official website — one replete with a banner of images that included Adolf Hitler.

“No one in European countries dares to speak about Holocaust,” states the video, entitled “Are The Dark Ages Over.” “While it is not clear whether the core of this matter is a reality or not. Even if it is a reality, it is not clear how it happened.” In addition to denying the murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime, the video blames the loss of Islamic life on the “Zionist regime” even as Khamenei impugns “western powers — headed by America” for supporting the Jewish state.

While Khamenei was perfecting the art of denialism by commission, Obama embraced the denialism of omission. “We know that there were Muslims — from Albanians to Arabs — who protected Jews from Nazis,” Obama stated, even as he failed to mention that many Muslims openly collaborated with Hitler, including the Palestinians and members of the Muslim Brotherhood. In fact, the latter group fielded two Muslim Waffen-SS Handschar Divisions to fight for the Third Reich.

Unfortunately, neither man is an outlier. So-called “moderate” Iranians, such as Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, one of the Iranian regime’s chief nuclear deal negotiators, and President Hassan Rouhani, are equally troubled with acknowledging the Holocaust. Rouhani has stated that “taking the human life is something our religion rejects but this doesn’t mean that on the other hand you can say Nazis committed a crime against a group and now, therefore, they must usurp the land of another group and occupy it.”

One might think Western nations might find such denialism repugnant. If they do, it pales in comparison to the headlong rush to secure business deals with the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism. Deals that will inevitably facilitate that terrorism.

Nonetheless in Italy, Rouhani secured $18 billion worth of shipbuilding, steel and energy contracts. The Italians complimented their economic fecklessness with a dose of cultural spinelessness when they covered up nude statues from the Roman era, and banned wine from being served at official functions lest they offend their newfound Iranian benefactors.

In France, Rouhani secured a $24 billion deal for 118 Airbus planes, a $400 million agreement with carmaker Peugeot, and a deal with French energy company Total to purchase as much as 200,000 barrels of Iranian crude — per day. In contrast to the Italians, the French took a “strong” cultural stand, refusing to abide Rouhani’s request for a halal menu that would have also included a wine ban. Thus French President Francois Hollande scrapped Thursday’s scheduled lunch at the Élysée Palace.

Earlier this month, Germany secured its piece of the action as well. “Siemens wants to sell Tehran the trains it needs to upgrade its transportation infrastructure, and Mercedes wants to deliver trucks,” reported Deutsche Welle. “Herrenknecht, a Swabian manufacturer of supersized tunnel drills, wants to provide Iran the equipment it needs to expand its subway networks.”

And lest anyone forget, Al Monitor reminds us the most significant development occurring after the lifting of sanctions is that “perhaps … Russia is now viewing Iran as a major arms customer.” Part of that vision has already been realized: Russia began delivery of S-300 air defense missile systems to Tehran in December.

Yet all of those deals were dwarfed by the agreement reached between Rouhani and Chinese President Xi Jinping. “Today we discussed the strategic relationship between both countries, setting up a comprehensive 25-year plan and also promoting bilateral relations of up to $600 billion over the next 10 years,” Rouhani gushed on Jan. 23. Not that deals per se between these two nations are anything new. China and Iran were doing business while the U.S. and the EU maintained sanctions against the rogue regime.

These deals and countless others were made possible by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) lifting sanctions. The BBC assures us that while Iran will now have access to more than $100 billion in previously frozen assets, it can spend “only” $30-50 billion not locked into previous commitments. The State Department put the figure at $56 billion in “fungible” revenue at Iran’s disposal. Iran’s entire economy is currently worth $400 billion, meaning they’ll be getting at least a 14% boost in “purchasing power” if the State Department’s figure is accurate.

To spend on what? “I think that some of it will end up in the hands of the IRGC or other entities, some of which are labeled terrorists,” said Secretary of State John Kerry, referring to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps during an interview in Davos on January 21. “You know, to some degree, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that every component of that can be prevented.”

Perhaps someone should ask Kerry why the “component” that can’t be prevented doesn’t constitute funding terror by the Obama administration. Last September, a private U.S. government report ordered by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) revealed Iran is already sending billions of dollars to terrorists in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

The amounts are daunting. As The Washington Times illuminates, the report’s researchers estimate Iran spends “between $100 million and $200 million per year on Hezbollah, $3.5 billion to $15 billion per year in support of Syria’s Assad regime, $12 million to $26 million per year on Shiite militias in Syria and Iraq, $10 million to $20 million per year to support Houthi rebels in Yemen and tens of millions per year to support Hamas terrorists in Israel.”

That would be the very same kind of financial support for Hamas that earned five defendants guilty verdicts and prison sentences ranging from 15 to 65 years during the Texas Holy Land Foundation terror funding case in 2009. Thus one might be forgiven for wondering where Rule of Law ends and Obama administration “diplomacy” — as in what amounts to laundering money through Iran that ultimately ends up with terror groups — begins.

One thing that should no longer elicit any wonderment whatsoever is Obama’s preposterous assertion that sanctions can be “snapped back” should Iran be discovered violating the agreement. Laughably, one day after the JCPOA was implemented, Obama imposed sanctions on 11 people and companies facilitating the expansion of Iran’s burgeoning ballistic missile program. Yet who’s kidding whom? EU fecklessness, the anti-American ambitions of Russia and China, and Obama administration delusions — never more apparent than when Kerry actually lauded as a “victory for diplomacy” the return of captured U.S. sailors forced to kneel with their hands over their heads — have relegated meaningful sanctions to the ash heap of history.

But it’s all OK because Iran’s nuclear ambitions have been derailed, right? Not exactly. We learned Friday that the U.S. now concludes that North Korea likely did test at least components of a hydrogen bomb on Jan. 6. That would be the very same North Korea former president Bill Clinton and his trusty negotiator, Jimmy Carter, assured us in 1994 had abandoned their pursuit of nuclear weapons in exchange for $5 billion and two new reactors. Thus history, and the delusional progressive arrogance that enables it, is ripe for a potentially deadly reprise.

Last July, Kerry appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) asked Kerry if Iran’s “death to America” chants that occur at events presided over by Khamenei and Rouhani was still their policy. “I think they have a policy of opposition to us and of great enmity, but I have no specific knowledge of a plan by Iran to actually destroy us,” Kerry replied. Over the weekend, Iran awarded medals to its navy commanders who captured our sailors. Americans might ask themselves who is more out of touch: a nihilistic, hard-core Islamist Iranian regime that denies the historic reality of the Holocaust — or an Obama administration that would underwrite their efforts to engender another one.

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